SURVEY: Mining Industry Needs to Invest More in Automation
The mining industry needs to invest more in automation and integrate newer technologies to remain competitive, according to a recent survey of mining executives.
The survey, which was conducted by Hall & Partners Open Mind, took opinions from 105 senior managers in the industry and found that more than half of them support the need for further automation in the mining sector, despite the associated impact on employment.
In addition, almost 47 percent felt that mining companies were not investing enough in new technologies.
Companies like Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, which have been on the forefront of automation, have grown its driverless truck fleet significantly over the years. Rio Tinto continues to invest in automation, spending $520 million on the introduction of autonomous trains as it continues building its Mine of the Future.
BHP Billiton on the other hand is taking a more cautious approach. The company, which has previously stated complete automation is unlikely, continues to run a dozen driverless trucks at its newest Pilbara operation, Jimblebar.
The Hall & Partners survey also found that 43 percent of respondents believed that taking advantage of data analytics (big data) could play a crucial role in improving asset capability.
The survey pointed out that utilization of big data in mining operations has potential to assist in monitoring “every major piece of machinery through the mining process, from extraction through to development through to smelting, leaching, through to refining”.
In addition, the survey found that 71 percent of respondents believed that Australian government was not investing enough in resources for the renewable energy sector.
Axora launches global challenge for digital technology
Axora is launching the world’s first international competition to discover new cost-saving digital technology for industrial companies, which can produce rapid benefits within a year.
The Metals & Mining and Oil & Gas sectors have recently experienced budget cuts of 20% on average, driven by a variety of factors including the global pandemic, slump in demand and price wars. The Axora Cost-Saving Technology Challenge aims to transform these industries by discovering innovative, digital solutions that reduce cost fast and pay for themselves, whilst achieving the same or improved productivity, health and safety and sustainability standards.
“While digital solutions can help to get work done quicker and more cost-effectively, they typically require a three-year ROI, and if there’s no flexibility in the budget, a full budget planning cycle is needed to get things moving”, said Dr. Nick Mayhew, Chief Commercial Officer, Axora.
“Yet, extra financial cost is often incurred in delaying digital projects, so customers have asked us to highlight solutions that can have an ‘in year payback’ whereby the cost spent on the solution and deployment will be more than recovered within the budget year - this accelerates the timeline and drives positive business impact, quickly.”
The Axora Cost-Saving Technology Challenge
Axora is keen to learn of any digital cost-saving innovation which: meets the 12-month payback timeframe; can be deployed in any part of the value chain including upstream, downstream or midstream oil and gas, metals processing or mining; and is ready for market. The Axora Cost-Saving Technology Challenge is open to entrepreneurs, start-ups, academics and sector leaders across the world. The competition will be judged by a panel of leading industry experts.
“We’re passionate about supporting our industries and customers through all forms of digital transformation and the cost-saving solutions we are searching for could also provide a lifeline to many mining and metals and oil and gas companies in the current economic climate,” added Dr. Mayhew.
Improving productivity, safety and sustainability
Up to ten finalists will be chosen to pitch their solutions at a digital pitch day later this year, after which Axora will validate the ROI models and vet the solutions. The winner will receive the ‘Axora Market Accelerator’ sales and marketing package worth £10,000. This includes a two-hour workshop, promotion through Axora’s thought leadership content and inclusion into its digital demand engines, providing the opportunity for the winning solution to benefit thousands of industrial companies. Entries are open until May 31. Full details of the competition including terms and conditions can be found here.
To learn more about the Axora B2B digital solutions marketplace read our feature in the latest issue of Mining Global magazine.