Recently released report on the mining industry trends highlighted the persistance of improvement industry-wide and its changes over the time. Let‘s talk about these trends more.
Changes of production
The mine production is undergoing a significant shift to open pit mining. This surface mining technique involves the extraction of minerals by way of an open pit, which does not require tunneling as older extractive methods. Today, the majority of operations industry wide are producing using the open pit technique. The International Council on Mining and Metals reports that, “Technological developments have made it possible to mine ores of declining grades and more complex mineralogy without increasing costs.”
Extraction activities become more economical and innovative. Many mining companies focus on extraction activities that are later in the chain of production, such as smelting, refining, manufacturing and commodity trading. This extraction trend is already visible in the number of steel companies seeking to enter mining to secure their supplies of iron ore and coking coal at reasonable cost.
Innovative energy sources
Commercial industries across the board, including mining, are focusing on applying new technologies and methods to their processes in order to reduce energy consumption and cultivate their renewable energy sources. This trend is so widespread, not just because of the environmental benefit, but also because many companies have seen significant cost savings by implementing renewable energy. In the latest report on the mining industry trends, it was noted that some miners have realized energy savings of 10% to 40% by investing in renewable energy installations, deploying innovative energy technologies and driving towards more automated mine processes to optimize energy consumption.
Modern technologies create a huge potential for a positive shift of the global mining industry. These include data collection and sharing via cloud-based networks, machine learning to reduce labor costs, genomic mining solutions, wearable technologies, and even hybrid airships to more easily transport equipment to remote regions. This requires collaborative ecosystems, digital engagement of their workforce, strengthened asset management, process alignment with energy availability, and the use of production-ready technology.
Digital disruption is changing business and operating models, reshaping competitive dynamics and, in some cases, completely altering the entire fabric of an industry. Despite the consistently low commodity prices, unresolved challenges and continued struggles that the mining industry faces, these trends show plenty of opportunity for growth and improvement. An innovative approach to each of these issues, from lack of financing to safety and security challenges, to managing the new normal in workforce trends and the volatile commodities market in general, is required if the industry is to continue sustainably.
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