6 Innovative ideas transforming the Mining Sector post COVID-19
There is no more critical time than now to embrace the ‘Mine of the Future’
The COVID-19 pandemic has had widespread global health and economic consequences. As the mining industry looks to the future, it faces uncertain terrain – from travel restrictions, reduced demand, interruptions to supply chains, the responsibility to keep employees and surrounding communities shielded from workplace transmission and ever-crucial global sustainability objectives.
Broader disruptions and the evolving industry and legislative requirements sparked by COVID-19 require a dynamic response. Unprecedented times call for innovative thinking.
Companies looking to acquire critical metals mines will bolster acquisition criteria to focus on pandemic resilience. If mines rank highly on automation, remote-controlled drilling and digitised processes for example, they will be sold at a premium price.
Mining needs new, efficient solutions to current challenges. Like many industries, the answers lie in digital tools.
McKinsey estimates that, if the South African mining industry harnesses the transformative potential of digital technologies, it could improve individual company margins by as much as 15 percentage points.
The following innovative ideas will lead the way as the industry pivots towards mining practices of the future.
New ways of communicating and collaborating
Mobile devices and wearables but can improve productivity and prevent accidents. Now, more than ever, mines can deploy technologies that improve employee safety and visibility, above and under ground. Fitting workers with connected devices opens access to real-time data on tasks and fosters communication and collaboration in real time.
Drilling into the data
Data tells a story, and often holds the key to new innovations and synergies. Mining generates vast amounts of data, which has not yet been channelled to generate value. By applying advanced analytics and machine learning, mining companies can identify plant improvements, analyse processing steps, and increase overall productivity in a detailed, targeted way.
Remove risk to humans and the earth
Not all mining jobs have to be performed by people, especially in a world still fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. AI technologies can help secure miner safety and reduce environmental impact, while generating significant results in mineral processing and exploration.
Besides the obvious benefits to productivity, in the post COVD-19 era, automation may also reduce the health risk for human labor as it replaces high-contact, manual tasks. New jobs will be created in areas of software design, data-processings and GIS mapping.
A new, detailed perspective
What if mines could be planned in intricate, vivid detail before breaking ground? And what if there was a more afforable way to monitor them once they were active? Thanks to transformative technologies such as 3D modelling, Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) spacial data is becoming clearer, and more detailed. Automated drones can assist with infrastructure upkeep and inspection, safety and surveillance in hazardous areas, site mapping and asset management.
A spirit of collaboration
The mines of the future will respond to rising costs and an uncertain market by collaborating with one another. Digital products can enable the mining industry to support one another in troubled times. Companies can create joint digital-mining innovation hubs and incubators, codeveloping technical infrastructure in order to lower costs and reduce risks.
Embrace the Mine of the Future
Periods of crisis call on businesses to transform quickly, but purposefully. Speak to us about your Digital Transformation needs in Mining.
Embrace the Mine of the Future with BCX
Periods of crisis call on businesses to transform quickly, but purposefully. If you need guidance on your digital transformation journey, BCX is the perfect strategic partner to migrate and integrate your legacy systems across connectivity, infrastructure, and applications, to give your mining enterprise the full range of next-generation technology services.
BCX is a level 1 B-BBEE Contributor.
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