Technologies That Are Going to Transform Mining
According to the McKinsey Global Institute report, in the next decade, these six technologies will completely transform the way that the mining industry operates. These emerging technologies will not only change mining practices, but indirectly affect the industry by increasing productivity, money savings, and improving miner health and safety. It is estimated that, by the year of 2025, these technologies combined will make an amazing economic impact of between $14 trillion and $33 trillion per year.
Let us see the top 6 tech improvements that will bring the biggest benefits – some are relatively familiar, while others may come as a big surprise.
1. Mobile Internet
Unexpectedly, mobile Internet is at the top of the list, with a potential economic impact between $3.7 trillion and $10.8 trillion. How will this technology transform the way we mine? It is expected to enhance worker productivity, service delivery, and the way that safety and communications are managed. Also, mobile Internet availability is what makes remote mining towns more attractive as places for living and working.
Smart software systems could transform mining to such an extent that the additional productivity of labour might equal the performance of 110 million to 140 million employees. By performing the knowledge-work tasks, software systems will make operations more simple and efficient, as well as improve safety. The large-scale introductions of automation could have an impact of $5.2 trillion to $ 6.7 trillion in 2025.
3. Internet of Things
The plans for optimising processes in future mining include establishing networks of advanced, low-cost sensors and actuators. Their task will be to collect, monitor, analyse data and make decisions. One of the leading benefits of this network will be enabling smart and efficient use of natural resources by controlling water and electricity usage. The potential economic impact is $2.7 trillion to $6.2 trillion.
Embracing this technology will be quite beneficial for mining companies – they will save time, effort and achieve a greater level of consistency. Cloud integration and combination of hardware and software will allow all relevant parties to do predictive analytics and inform companies about on-site conditions in real time. Replacing old systems with new and more efficient ones could have an economic impact between $1.7 trillion and $6.2 trillion.
5. Advanced Robotics
By the term “advanced robotics” we mean robots and tools with enhanced senses and abilities, capable of performing advanced and delicate tasks. It is estimated that, by the year of 2025, automated mines will only have a skeletal on-site workforce and autonomous (or semi-autonomous) vehicles, which will especially affect worker safety and health in a positive way. The potential economic impact in 2025 is $1.7 trillion to $4.5 trillion.
6. Autonomous or near-autonomous vehicles
Within a decade, tasks such as truck driving might be fully operated remotely, while the human workforce would visit mines occasionally to provide support in maintenance and management. The automation of vehicles will probably have the greatest effect on the miners’ lives as they could save up to 150,000 people from dying in traffic accidents. The economic impact for the year of 2025 is estimated to be between $0.2 trillion and $1.9 trillion.