Mining used to bring fortunes in the past. Not that the scenario has changed now, but the industry as a whole is under pressure due to falling commodity prices and existing mines reaching maturity. Additionally, many reports also state that mining industry is far less productive than it used to be a few years back. Although players in the mining industry are focusing to boost productivity by squeezing the maximum out of the available asset, it’s not a viable long-term solution. It’s not all dark and hazy for the mining industry though, digital and technological innovations are transforming key aspects of mining.
Over the past couple of decades, the mining industry has been experiencing a slight decline. The trend can be observed across commodities, geographies, and most mining companies. Although the decline is evident, the performance in this industry is also somewhat lackluster. As a result, most mining companies have trimmed expansion plans and refocused on increasing their operational efficiency. Digital innovation has assisted the mining industry to recover their productivity across the world. The improvement can be evident when compared to other industries such as upstream oil and gas, oil refining, and steel industry. Coordination of activities and smart planning are required to mitigate the uncertainty caused by external forces. Mining productivity can be improved by reducing errors and eliminating the variability wherever possible.
Nature of talent
As digital technologies continue to influence the industries worldwide, companies need to recruit a specialized workforce to operate autonomous machines and turn a mountain of data into valuable insights. As a result, the industry is no longer competing for traditionally skilled workers. They need young talent who is sharp in digital technologies with deep industry knowledge and the ability to improve productivity.
The future is now. Automation has been looming around for a long time but coupled with artificial intelligence, a significant number of manual jobs might be displaced. Such situation will impact a lot of local communities which is dependent on employment and also raises concerns about company’s CSR. On the hindsight, automation also paves way for new roles to be created and new job position to be filled. The demand for skilled labor well-versed with automation and digital innovation will be in high demand.
Optimization of equipment and material flow
Mining supply chain is a complicated affair which comprises of interdependent systems of fixed and mobile equipment. Executives in the mining industry have been using tools and metrics such as OEE to gauge operational improvements but fail to grasp the system complexity. Digital innovation has facilitated the scheduling and processing decision-making process by combining real-time data with advanced analytics. For instance, in the mine pit, using smart algorithms can optimize machine movements for maximum efficiency. Additionally, it can also look for hidden relationships between second and third order variables which boosts the plant yield of gold, phosphate, nickel, and other processed minerals.
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