Advances in Mobility & Data Promise to Transform the Future of Mining

Advances in Mobility & Data Promise to Transform the Future of Mining

Today’s mining sector has reason to be positive, with the worldwide appetite for increased mobility, connectivity, smart infrastructure, and low-emissions transportation driving demand for metal resources. Following the adage, “If it's not grown, it's mined,” the mining sector is playing a starring role in building this futuristic society of tomorrow by providing steel for driverless cars, copper for mobile devices, and nickel, lithium, vanadium, and cobalt for batteries.

Now quite ever, we’re seeing the arrival of the latest technologies which will deliver on the promise of safeguarding health and safety while maximizing efficiency, productivity, enhanced collaboration, and resilience. These tools will enable mining leaders to satisfy today’s demands while ensuring the long-term sustainability and profitability of their operations, transforming the way the industry operates and delivering value to surrounding communities and shareholders.

Advances in automation and robotics– from autonomous self-driving trucks to driverless trains, AI (AI) and machine learning – are increasingly reducing risk to human life. Big Data and therefore the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) – a mixture of automation, Wi-Fi sensor technologies, cloud-based systems, and data analytics – are helping mines gain higher levels of real-time situational awareness, improving operational efficiency and decreasing costs. Meanwhile, electric vehicles (EVs) and developments in mobility hold promise for a lower-emission, more viable future.

Autonomous Vehicles

Even as the talk rages over driverless vehicles on public roads, driverless trucks, trains, drills, and loaders are getting more common in mines of the longer term. Mine operators are recognizing the advantages of automation, which continues to enhance capability while coming down in cost. With haulage categorization together of the mine’s highest costs, and autonomous vehicles (AVs) offering productivity gains up to 30 percent, companies are taking heed major manufacturers like Caterpillar, Hitachi and Komatsu still introduce new options in autonomous haulage.

Rio Tinto leads the charge with its “Mine of the Future” vision that accepts technology and automation. The corporate now depends on nearly all driverless trucks to look for, mine and move ore at their mine sites within the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Navigating via GPS technology and sensors, these trucks work alongside robotic rock drilling rigs to move materials on-site.

The company has also introduced a totally automated train system referred to as “AutoHaul,” which bears the excellence because of the world’s first heavy freight driverless train network. of these operations are powered by a centralized remote-operations center located 750 miles away in Perth. Many other miners are now embracing technology within the development and operation of their mines.

Big Data & Analytics

Big Data and IoT also are driving efficiency and reworking the way the mining industry operates. Placing smart devices in mines can collect and relay thousands of knowledge points in real-time. This vast network of smart infrastructure –Wi-Fi sensor technologies, cloud-based systems, and data analytics platforms –can deliver unprecedented levels of situational awareness, allowing operators to form quick, informed decisions and meet their growth and sustainability goals.

Having this enhanced knowledge allows both new and existing mines to proactively monitor, analyze, forecast and adjust on the fly to enhance efficiency, prevent disruption, eliminate unnecessary waste, save costs and make smarter operational decisions.

Electric Vehicles & Mobility

Decarbonization may be a growing priority as global climate change remains top of mind, and therefore the electrification of heavy fleet vehicles is merely getting to increase because the world moves faraway from combustion engines. Although EVs are getting more popular among consumers and in mass transit, it’s still youth for mining, though new advancements in battery range and capacity hold promise for the longer term of EVs in mining.

Manufacturers are increasingly getting into space. ETF Equipment out of Slovenia manufactures all-electric surface haul trucks, with plans for motor graders and wheel loaders, while the German company GHH Fahrzeuge offers all-electric Load-Haul-Dump loaders (LHDs). apart from the general benefits in reducing energy consumption, these applications are particularly interesting when it involves working underground where emissions would require additional ventilation.

Taking mobility a step further, interesting developments like hyperloop technology could also play a task on mine sites during a few decades. Last year, Black & Veatch completed a feasibility study on Virgin Hyperloop One, a replacement high-speed mode of transportation that moves via electric propulsion through a low-pressure tube. The system is fully autonomous, with no direct carbon emissions, and may move freight and other people at airplane-speed over long distances.


These technologies could seem sort of a leap now, but considering the speed of technology adoption in our day-to-day lives – from the evolution of landline phones to sleek mobile devices, combustion engines to the sterile silence of the EV– it’s not such a stretch to expect to ascertain these technologies play a critical role in transforming today’s mining industry, to create the mines of tomorrow.

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