Innovation has revolutionised mining in recent years, from digital twin technology to 5G, satellites, and beyond. We’ve made some huge strides in creating safer and more efficient mining operations, yet many challenges still remain. As your trusted engineering consultancy, Mincka is here to shed some light on the changes ahead. Here’s a look at some of the areas in mining on the cusp of revolution.
Communicating deep into the Earth
Technological advances have allowed miners to dig deeper into the Earth than ever before, with mines now stretching kilometres into the ground. Two-way communications remains a challenge in these setting, with signal interruptions and legacy technology still in use on my many sites. As 5G (link to Mincka blog on 5g) technology continues to roll out globally, communications deep underground will become crystal clear and seamless, aided by direct signals relayed via mesh networks.
Reduced mine site footprints
Automation made possible by new sensor technologies will see many sites operating entirely on small teams and skeleton crews. Self-driving trucks and machinery will operate autonomously, with limited human oversight managed from a central control room far away from the actual mine site. These innovations will streamline the process to algorithmic precision, reducing the environmental footprints of mine sites.
The supply and use of water is already a major issue in mining, and as environmental regulations continue to tighten it’s set to become an even bigger concern for the industry’s bottom line. Reducing overall water usage on a site through recycling and novel approaches to management will provide significant advantages over the coming years. Safeguarding against water table contamination will also become a top priority as new blasting technologies come online, reducing these risks.
Mental Health and Remote Work
The pandemic and associated lockdowns put a spotlight on mental health issues worldwide. It’s long been understood that mining work can take its toll on mental health, especially for fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) workers. The need to fly thousands of kilometres to and from work will soon seem old-fashioned, as virtual reality capabilities and remote dashboards will allow miners to remotely interface with machinery on-site.
Political Pressure and Social Licence
There are significant structural changes taking place within the mining industry. As Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) scores and targets are rolled out globally and the transition to renewable energy is increasingly seen as a social license to operate, mining businesses are under increasing pressure to retrofit and purchase new assets and reform their processes to meet new industry standards.
We are actively working at the forefront of these changes for the advancement of our customers. Getting in front of your mining needs is our job, Mincka is your trusted innovation partner, and our global team of experts works across disciplines to provide fast and innovative solutions.