Role of Digital Adoption in the Mining Industry

The mining industry is incorporating digital solutions to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and achieve zero-waste carbon neutrality in mining processes.

FREMONT, CA: Digitalisation and sustainability are the key factors driving the mining industry's future. Mining companies across the globe strive to design a fully digitally connected mine with a zero-carbon footprint. While some companies have progressed more rapidly in achieving these goals than others, leaders in these fields have demonstrated that this new paradigm has reduced costs, increased production rates, and complied with ESG (environment, social, and governance) criteria, among other benefits.

Sustainability: Mining operators are increasingly applying the sustainable, cleaner, safer, and more efficient processes due to social and environmental imperatives. Mining is a highly energy-intensive industry that has a large carbon footprint. The heavy use of diesel in the mining process, including trucks, diggers, and generators, as well as the transportation of products and waste, results in high CO2 emissions. Electric mobility is rapidly replacing diesel-powered equipment, with battery-powered equipment replacing diesel-powered equipment in mining. Virtually every manufacturer is rapidly developing electrically powered mining equipment and machinery.

Leaching and recovery methods prevent waste generation but still produce some. Advanced technologies enable mines to adopt operational strategies that contribute to zero-waste production, particularly regarding permeability enhancement and hydrogeology management.

Digitalization: Digital hardware and software enable mine operators and senior managers to monitor, report, and record their mine's performance in real-time, from microsensors monitoring digger operating pressures at the mine face to the massive loads carried by high-tonnage dump trucks. A mine's profitability and ESG concerns have been greatly improved by building IoT (Internet of Things) systems for an always-on communication link between informational and operational technology. Mines using these systems can improve their operational efficiency, reduce their carbon footprints, and reduce costs across their processes. Miners can create a virtual mining experience through spatial and geospatial data. It is possible to view the inside of a mine in 3D from other cities.

Sensors in digital twins can provide real-time information on the condition of all equipment, enabling mines to maximize their use of all equipment. It can implement a cyber-physical system that allows a miner to better plan to align with company strategy and targets, such as increased productivity, faster decision-making processes, and improved equipment utilization.