Will Technology Help Workers be Safe in the Mining Industry?

Technology can bridge the safety gaps in the mining industry that, in turn, protects workers’ life, while allowing the sector to be more sustainable and operations to be productive.

FREMONT, CA: Mining extracts minerals and other geological materials of economic value from deposits on the Earth. Mining has adverse effects on the environment, including loss of biodiversity, soil erosion, and pollution of soil, water, and air. Also, the release of chemicals from the mining sites may have life-threatening effects as it affects the health of the population living in or around the mining site. People are prevented from accessing clean land and water, affecting their health and livelihoods. Rapid advances in technology innovation are reshaping the sector in a way that how a mining sector operates has been totally changed so that the mining sector becomes more environmentally sustainable.

As the term “Go Green” spreads in all sectors, it is the same in mining where the “Green technology” encourages the term. It refers to technology that will reduce carbon emissions in operations and thereby mitigating adverse environmental impacts. It supports using minerals and metals that accept low-carbon technologies such as solar panels or wind power. This alternative energy sources not only reduces the greenhouse gas emission but also extend the life of fossil fuel reserves. Because the mining industry uses a large amount of water and land in its operations, it can be more environmentally sustainable by reducing the input of the mine.

Besides, technology has a number of impacts on mining operations, including safer working conditions, environmental protection, and opportunities for women. Automation, digitization, and electrification are changing the way how a mining sector operates. Workers are continuously monitored and tracked for their safety through improved underground communication and emergency response measures. Automated drilling and tunnel-boring systems can reduce manual work. Women are highly prone to the negative impacts of mining more than men, and scarcely experience the benefits that men do. Mining technology also ensures the sector is safe for women with the development of remote operating centers that bridging the employment gender gaps.

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