The Changes to Come: Four Predictions for the Mining Industry
The mining industry is at a crossroads. While globalization continues to drive up demand for metals and minerals, automation of tasks and the push toward renewable energy sources have led to many changes in the industry. As technology and global markets continue to shift, these changes to the mining sector show no signs of slowing down. With that in mind, here are four predictions we have for the industry:
1. Technology will create more jobs for remote experts and operators.
For all the fears people have of an automated world, the reality is that automation and AI are expected to lead to a net gain of 58 million jobs by 2022. Most of these jobs will be for remote experts and operators who can guide the machinery performing what used to be widely considered dangerous jobs. For those preparing themselves for this automated future, there is a significant profit to be made.
2. AI will play a larger role in all aspects of production.
Industrial AI knowledge is quickly finding its place in mining. From drilling to mineral sorting, a rising number of tasks that formerly required natural intelligence can now be done more efficiently using AI. Furthermore, by running many scenarios to figure out which will maximize benefits to the organization, AI is capable of making suggestions to operators as to how to reduce costs and increase productivity. As advancements in the field continue to occur at an astounding rate, AI will soon be seen as the only way to optimise industrial operations, though it will continue to be dependent on the collaboration of operators and remote experts.
3. Cybersecurity will become more closely tied to the industry…
The world is increasingly shaped by supply chains, meaning the continuous flow of resources is more important than ever before. While this is good news for those who produce and provide those goods, it also makes mines more of a target for criminals and activists. The security response to this, however, must account for the increasing connectivity of mining equipment to the Internet. Over time, it will only become more critical for companies to consider cybersecurity within the context of their business targets.
4. … As will sustainability.
As the world grapples with the challenge of minimizing the effects of climate change, mining companies will need to consider the ways in which they can change their operations to bring society closer to reaching targets such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. While this will necessitate difficult tasks such as minimizing waste, conserving water, and reducing emissions, technology stands to make sustainability and profitability go hand in hand by increasing efficiency and ensuring more careful management of operational inputs.
With so many changes going on in the mining industry, it can be hard to keep track of the ones to look out for. But with a better idea of the transformations to come, it will be easier to ensure your operation is prepared.