Digital Wave in Mining

Digital Wave in Mining

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.

Next, miners have spent a previous couple of years taking costs out of their operations, and not can headcount be slashed. Mining operations today are lean and to be more productive miners must do things differently, and technology has got to be the solution.

Lastly, because the miners have changed, so has the availability sector. Mining suppliers or the Mining Equipment, Technology and Services (METS) sector is very sophisticated and is breaking new ground with world-leading technologies in areas like sensors, drones, real-time monitoring, remote operations, simulation, digital twinning, robotics, automation, and AI.

In Australia, the METS sector generates over $90 billion annually in revenue and employs quite 400,000 people, which is double the normal mining workforce. Combined with mining, METS makes up about 12% of the Australian GDP, and when all the minerals are exhausted, they are going to be the sustainable legacy of mining itself. Companies within the METS sector do some amazing things and are a crucial catalyst for the digitization which the mining industry is undergoing.

PETRA Data Science is transforming mining as we all know it. Through PETRA’s team of scientists and engineers, they need enabled resources companies to show their data into actionable insights and operational improvements. 

Traditional METS companies have also quickened the tide of industry change. Davies Wear Plates are a long-term fixture within the Australian mining industry for providing safe wear plate installation and alter out systems. The business has undergone a change over the last decade, to provide additional information and monitoring for clients, and their innovative WearSense product was released in 2018. 

Control Systems Technology, founded in 1984, have long led the way in reliable belt weighing equipment required by bulk handling industries, especially mining. CST has developed a competitive advantage through the event of technology, and this is often highlighted with the discharge of its IntelliRoll system. This is often a wireless ‘weigher during a roller’ which will be placed directly into an idler frame. The IntelliRoll calculates flow rates and tones, stores the info and provides it to clients in a simple to digest mobile application, available within the app store.

With changes also comes a raft of challenges issues around interoception, or lack of, abound and like other industries mining is facing a severe skills shortage of talent which is required for the mines of tomorrow.

Australia is making a concerted effort to beat these challenges and leverage the simplest of what we've to supply through a variety of state and industry development programs, technology projects and collaboration initiatives.

As the digital wave continues its advancement, Australian METS and miners are striving to coordinate technological efforts to make sure they're solving fundamental operational challenges. Mining has traditionally been averse to communicating operational issues to supply a greater understanding of their must suppliers. Austmine is actively advocating for greater transparency within the industry, as without it, mining will still find point solutions.

The possibility to achieve a breakthrough in the core industry has been successful due to the introduction of digitization and technological innovations. This has changed the key aspects of the mining industry.

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