Emerging Tech Trends Changing the Facets of the Mining Industry

Cutting-edge technologies have changed the mining site environment for the better. Implementation of innovative technological solutions has optimized and enhanced the mining processes

FREMONT, CA: The mining industry has faced many challenges recently, including economic slowdowns, increased operational complexity, health and safety concerns, and business disruption due to the pandemic. The Equinix Mining Technology Report 2021-22 features insights from industry leaders on current technology trends. The mining industry heavily invests in technology, particularly data, connectivity, and telecommunications. Based on the survey results, 93 percent of respondents plan to increase overall spending, whereas 44 percent plan to increase investment significantly.

Let us check some of the key emerging trends changing the facets of the mining industry.

ESG goals and technology: Meeting ESG goals with technology remains challenging. Barriers include insufficient preparation, transparent reporting, implementation and logistics, and technical support issues. Investing in technology can also help miners achieve their sustainability, growth, and productivity goals.

Agility through the hybrid cloud: A hybrid and multi-cloud approach has enabled greater collaboration through technology. Businesses can now connect to cloud service providers, mining technology providers, or business partners.

Digitization accelerates with the pandemic: The pandemic has dramatically influenced the strategies of industry leaders. For many, it accelerated digitalization. Labor and wages are the second leading factor influencing miners' general business outlook.

Growing HR with technology: The labor market remains very strong in the mining industry. A survey found that eight out of ten miners intend to hire in the year ahead, proving the need for human capital still exists in an increasingly high-tech and automated industry. Most miners surveyed pause hiring, and only 3.5 percent won't hire.

Technology-driven investment: A survey report estimates productivity gains of up to 23% with new technologies, but developing workforce capability could cost huge. It was also noted that technology and innovative practices would need to be improved across industries to achieve those gains; retraining and redesigning efforts are required.

Mining's 'big three': Data analytics, digital connectivity, and integrated automation are the areas miners invest in the most. The move over the last few years to connect remote mine sites to the network as a starting point for building other applications and programs doesn't come as a surprise.

Automation and data analytics requires a robust digital architecture. Data from mine sites is particularly significant.

Cloud infrastructure investment: Over the next few years, miners are expected to increase their spending and investment in cloud infrastructure, artificial intelligence (AI), and IoT since most companies have already invested in fundamental infrastructure.

A blend of technology and people: Operational automation, such as surveying, exploration, blasting, and treatment, relies on a combination of technology and people.

Based on the research results, it is also possible to use technology and innovation to improve the safety and operational efficiency of drillers, miners, shot firers, metal fitters, and machinists, whether through automation or other technological advancements.

Technology meets talent: At mine sites, advanced technologies are changing human capital, requiring modern skillsets and new jobs. A remote control is also possible with automated drilling rigs using multi-camera vision and detailed telemetry. Technology is accelerating rapidly, but the industry is having trouble finding, developing, and harnessing different talents and skills, and talent with a deeper understanding of technology and adaptability to acquire new knowledge and skills.

Safety and compliance with technology: Technology drives safety and compliance in mines. Mine sites are becoming more automated and technology-enabled, reducing or eliminating traditional risks while increasing productivity and efficiency in the process.