The past decade has been nothing less than a roller coaster ride for companies operating in the mining industry. Commodity prices have witnessed both historic highs and lows, and operational realities have shifted irrevocably in the face of the digital revolution. This year too, the mining industry is expected to witness an array of changes. Within the mining and metals industry, digitalization will be a force that changes the nature of companies and their interaction with employees, communities, government, and the environment at every step of the value chain. Mining industry companies that embrace digital trends, can expect a more nimble and profitable business, with improved decision-making and increased employee empowerment. Furthermore, when designed and implemented in the right manner, digitalization can improve safety, health, and environmental impact. Thereby, reducing injuries, saving lives, lowering emissions and wastage, and increasing transparency and sustainability of the company. Here are some of the top digital trends that are shaping the future of the mining industry:
- Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence is one of the most popular digital trends in the mining industry. It is expected to be the next big step in the mining industry’s digital transformation. Artificial intelligence is mainly concerned with smart computers that can undertake processes and react like human beings. It can help mining companies gain greater metallurgical precision by identifying promising drilling targets. Predictive modeling of ore-bodies and blast hole drill data can lead to more precise drilling targets, optimal blast, drill patterns, and improved ore fragmentation.
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- AR and VR
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies are rapidly becoming digital trends that are indispensable tools for mine planning, training, and safety in the mining industry. AR overlays interactive 3D visual images atop the physical world, while VR replaces the real world with a simulated one. VR has the ability to create authentic scenarios by immersing users in realistic mining conditions to support training in operations, health, and safety. This technology can prove helpful in slowing down blast sequences to a fraction of their real-time speed, allowing engineers to improve both blast and drill rates by simulating different patterns.
- Predictive analytics and data integration
Companies in the mining industry utilize the data available to them with the help of digital trends like predictive analytics. Data on the state and performance of equipment can be transmitted remotely with analytics, thus, anticipating failures before they occur. Continued innovations and digital trends in data analytics and advances in GPS, mobile broadband, sensor technology, and data storage through cloud computing will continue to rapidly improve the productivity of the connected mine.
- Blockchain technology
Adopting current digital trends and using digital platforms to store data put mining companies at the risk of cybercrimes. Blockchain technology is one of the highly sophisticated digital trends that keep track of every transaction and safely encrypts that information without third-party intervention, will continue to play a growing role in helping reduce data exposure to hackers.
- Mine automation
Mine automation is one of the most popular digital trends in the mining industry. At present, tele-remote operations have become well-established in the industry. Fully autonomous equipment is now being used for haulage, drilling, and other processes, with automated blasting and shoveling on the horizon.
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