The digital transformation in the mining sector brought about a whole new change in the world. A lot of mining companies had worked in the same monotonous way for decades. To keep up with the changing technology, the mining sector needs to be completely digitized. Mining has deployed more autonomous vehicles than the other industry with over 200 CAT and Komatsu trucks driving around within the Pilbara, Western Australia. Exciting things are happening, but the general public general’s perception is that mining may be a low-tech and labor-intensive practice.
In its very basic form, mining is straightforward. A shovel, bucket, pick and a bunch of rocks and you'll mine, as many artisanal miners do a day to make a living, sometimes in very dangerous conditions. The mining business is one of the foremost complex industries within the world. Mines are massive, they're extremely capital intensive and what's being mined, the ore body changes every day, if not every hour. While we've very sophisticated technologies to inform us where the rich veins of minerals lie, we don't have a transparent line of sight in extracting them. These rich veins get harder to seek out.
The scale of a mining operation can't be underestimated. The scale, capital intensity, and remoteness has perhaps made the adoption of digital technologies slower than in other industries. On average, it takes 15 years to adopt a replacement technology into the mining value chain.
But there's now a true imperative to vary how we do things, and mining is being swept up within the digital transformation we are all experiencing. Alongside the large macro trends, what's driving the digital imperative for mining is 3-fold.
Firstly, mining is facing a lot more complications than before. The minerals are becoming harder to seek out, we'd like to dig deeper and ore grades are declining. This is often layered with more complex regulation, environmental pressures, and communities who are demanding more accountability.