May 17, 2020

Industry 4.0 and mining: keeping technology at the heart of the matter

Mining technology
Dale Benton
3 min
Industry 4.0 and mining: keeping technology at the heart of the matter
Telstra Telecom is investing in machine to machine connectivity in order to improve technical input. This investment isjust one example of how innovativ...

Telstra Telecom is investing in machine to machine connectivity in order to improve technical input. This investment is just one example of how innovative, forward thinking technologies introduced by companies that are not usually associated with the mining sector are continuing to generate larger interest.

This type of cross-sector investment from within the technology and telecommunications sectors is the result of what can be considered a concerted focus on developing technology to improve output levels, and the increasing level of automation across the industry.

The mining industry is one that relies on a core premise to developing technology: that this should be done in direct line with a specific set of needs and circumstances. This is highly appropriate, according to John Warwick of Phoenix Mining Consultants, given the different minerals, geology and global locations involved. A customised approach supports the principal need for technological solutions to increase the level of automation throughout the entire mining industry, increasing accuracy and reducing human input in the process.

Technological advances can now provide an automated and better standardised process that achieves consistent production levels from previously laborious processes. The production of low –margin bulk minerals has been developed with more advanced equipment that is not only remote-controlled but incorporates the ability for output levels to be far less variable.

The concept of remote controlled [of] mining, introduced thirty years ago, demonstrates how forward thinking the industry is in terms of reducing the human element involved. It also highlights the level of sophistication this has now reached, with advanced capabilities now constantly feeding into its evolution.

In the mining sector, technology is not restricted to automation. For example, there is the use of hi-speed resin bonding customised roof bolts in the Australian coal mining industry and sensor based technology that reduces the need for human input - for example, sorting machinery uses this tool to separate valuable mineral ores from waste rock, significantly reducing the time taken to do this manually. Incorporating individual solutions like this is now commonplace, but the mining sector's leading players have the internal capacity, funding and resources required to develop their own technology, helping to push the innovation boundaries further.

There is also the use of driverless, remote-controlled mining which has been used in the industry for a number of years. With this significant cross-sector push to further develop and verify driverless technology, mining firms need to stay at the forefront of this through alliances with the pure technology and automotive sectors or, quite simply developing and implementing it themselves. A high proportion of mining costs are labour related and the savings generated through using driverless vehicles are substantial. These savings are also recognised as a key component of maintaining high standards of safety.

The standardisation of safety and output levels in this way is another advantage of using continuous or mechanised mining technology to physically excavate.

Although it has been in place throughout key territories for a number of years, some countries have only recently adopted various aspects of it to suit their specific needs. One coal mining company in Russia has introduced the first continuous miner (an automated piece of mining equipment) after extensively renewing the standard practices used around the world. John Warwick was able to assist in a feasibility study that led to this milestone.

The so-called fourth industrial revolution, or “Industry 4.0” is now upon us with big data, M2M connectivity and automation. The current level of innovation and strategic partnerships within the mining technology space demonstrates the agility of businesses and bodes well for the future of the industry. The continuing surge in the development and application of technologies in the mining sector will no doubt influence how the industry will look in the medium to long-term, which is therefore a credit to foresight and lateral thinking, whether this results from cross-sector alliances or/ and responding directly to practical needs.

David Brennan and Charles Bond are partners at Gowling WLG

The September issue of Mining Global Magazine is live!

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Get in touch with our editor Dale Benton at [email protected]


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Dec 3, 2020

Net zero benefits the mining industry and the environment

digital mining
Dan Brightmore
3 min
Learn how to future proof your business for a zero-carbon world with help from Emitwise and the Oren Marketplace.
Learn how to future proof your business for a zero-carbon world with help from Emitwise and the Oren Marketplace...

How do we get the world to net-zero faster?

Emitwise’s founders, Mauro Cozzi, Eduardo Gómez and Ben Peddie, approached a network of more than 100 of the world's largest enterprises and asked their CEOs, CFOs, and sustainability managers the big question: How do we get the world to net-zero faster? The challenge many shared was the lack of timely and accurate emissions data to enable strategic decisions. Companies often relied on annual audits of their carbon footprint for carbon accounting purposes. However, static yearly results were outdated upon publishing.

Emitwise saves companies an average of 260 working days a year by automating their scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions data. With the added benefits of clean audit trails and auto-populated accounting reports in line with GHG Protocol, all at the click of a button. Their easy to use solution enables businesses to quickly identify the carbon hotspots to target, and the precise real-time data empowers teams to remain agile and respond effectively, making achieving those goals possible.

Unique AI Technology

Emitwise’s unique AI technology empowers businesses to automatically measure, report and reduce their carbon footprint across their operations and supply chain, future-proofing companies for a zero-carbon world. It is the only solution that enables companies to fully automate their carbon accounting across all business units and suppliers, therefore liberating them from the drudgery of collecting and processing emissions data.

By using artificial intelligence to precisely measure emissions in real-time, businesses can identify and tackle carbon hotspots swiftly, enabling them to devise a trackable roadmap to net-zero carbon. At the same time, accurate audit trails and auto-populated annual reports ensure that companies comply with international reporting requirements, and align businesses with global climate targets to mitigate risk across their operations and supply chain. 

The Oren Marketplace

Environmental management, social license to operate, safety, renewable energy to lower emissions and operational efficiency for mining can be supported by a range of digital solutions enabling dynamic operations. To address these issues, Shell and IBM joined forces to create the Oren Marketplace – the first B2B solutions platform for the mining sector. 

With the adoption of many of the digital solutions offered through Oren, mining companies can adapt in real-time to risks or adjust plans ahead of a problem occurring. The goal is a shift towards proactive management as the optimal outcome for all stakeholders – community, shareholders, and employees.

Emitwise was founded with the goal of helping industries across all sectors reduce their carbon footprint. Similarly, Shell aims to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050, or sooner, in step with society and its customers. And Oren is focused on offering innovative products and services that can help mining companies track and reduce their emissions. 

“Oren is the starting point for how we help our mining customers to de-carbonise,” explains Carol Chen, Global Lubricants Marketing, Vice President, Shell. “It’s our ambition to work with sectors like mining to help them find their own pathway to net-zero emissions through collaboration. The Oren marketplace offers a great opportunity for collaboration between the miners and technology companies that are joining this digital marketplace.” 

Web Summit

Emitwise will be showcasing its vision for a net-zero future live from Lisbon at this year’s Web Summit. Bringing together the people and companies redefining the global tech industry, the online event welcomes 100,000+ attendees from around the world to hear from more than 800 speakers and view offerings from 2,500 startups covering a vast range of topics from Data Science and Climate Change to AI and Machine Learning. To find out more and book your ticket visit Web Summit. 

Emitwise is one of many solutions providers on the Oren platform seeking to address the pain points and environmental concerns of heavy industries like mining. To discover a range of solutions that can further support your operation’s digital transformation and commitment to sustainability, visit the Oren Marketplace.

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