The intelligent future of the mining industry

- May 07, 2019-

Artificial intelligence, machine learning, 3D printing, digital hygiene, autonomous driving, clean energy, drones, wearables... We will find that almost all new technologies will be of great use in the mining industry. High technology, high efficiency, intelligence, and safety... The future of the mining industry will be completely changed, and it will become an important scene for the application of Industry 4.0.

Renewable energy: Renewable energy applications such as wind, solar and biomass can reduce the dependence of mines on fossil energy in remote areas, and small modular facilities can also play a role.

Automation technology: The application of automation technology such as automated vehicles can effectively support more complex operations, and also enable more efficient and safer operations in remote and deep mines.

Intelligent ore sorting: Ore sorting reduces the amount of raw materials that need to be broken and ground to more efficiently release valuable minerals and metals, save energy, and generate less mine waste.

On-demand ventilation system: The ventilation system is able to introduce fresh air only when and where it is needed, saving energy, reducing ventilation costs, and expanding the mining area without the need to build new infrastructure.

High-precision GPS: High-precision GPS systems bring refined mining. From GPS-assisted fine mining to automated trucks, GPS can empower safer and more efficient mine operations.

UAV technology: UAV technology can bring air data support for monitoring and maintenance of mining areas to improve overall mine safety, operational efficiency and reduce costs.

3D printing and modular equipment: 3D printing technology enables more convenient parts repair and replacement through on-demand parts printing, and increases the efficiency and flexibility of mine operations.

3D Vision: 3D images generated from mineral deposits can better understand the geographic features of the deposits for more efficient mining, reduce waste, and minimize interference.

Data Optimization and Machine Learning: Optimized data from equipment and monitoring facilities can generate digital simulations for precise work planning and operations, and enable high-complexity tasks.

Equipment Management: As Mukani Moyo, a senior expert at McKinsey, said: “Every mining operation today has thousands of sensors that capture large amounts of data in real time.” Smart Mining includes the use of a large number of sensors to track and optimize mine operations. And let all the mines and equipment be integrated. Through digital integration, these sensors are able to capture data from all aspects of production, while helping to anticipate and avoid problems such as tailings dam breaks and reduce losses from downtime.

Wearable devices: Workers can obtain critical information such as equipment status and air quality in a timely and convenient manner through wearable monitoring equipment to improve safety.

New energy vehicles: By using electric vehicles and hydrogen energy vehicles, the future mining industry will bring lower carbon emissions. This also means an increase in air quality for workers in underground mines.

In general, as a traditional, basic heavy industry, the application of these technologies in the mining industry may be more urgent and practical.

According to a study published by the World Economic Forum and Accenture in 2018, by 2025, digitalization will bring in $425 billion worth of value to the mining industry and its customers, as well as society and the environment. This will also provide significant and sustainable market opportunities for new technology startups rooted in traditional vertical industries.

Technology is new, but the goal of technology applications has never changed: efficiency, safety, reliability, environmental protection...