SURVEY: Technology is Top Priority for Asian Mining Companies in 2015
A recent survey conducted by the Timetric’s Mining Intelligence Center (MIC) shows Asian mining companies transitioning towards a digital mining future.
Mine survey equipment, mine design software, mine management (scheduling/optimization) software and equipment diagnostics were the top four technologies nominated in the survey, which included over 100 key decision-makers at operating mines in seven Asian countries – India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Pakistan, Vietnam, Mongolia and Thailand.
According to the survey, the four selected technologies were the most likely to see new or continued investment over the next two years.
“The push towards advanced technologies on site is evident from the results in the survey,” says Nez Guevara, Senior Mining Analyst at Timetric’s MIC.
“The focus is on improving planning and productivity, and follows a sequence starting with investing in mine surveying to improve the accuracy of the data flowing into mine design software. Accurate mine designs then help improve the management and scheduling of mining operations, while equipment diagnostics help to improve utilization and supports mine scheduling by minimizing down time.”
Respondents were asked to outline their current and future intentions for technology investments across 12 areas, which included a range of mine management and vehicle-related technologies as well as environmental monitoring and emissions management, communication, fleet management and collision avoidance technologies.
The survey outlined the drivers for these investments and summaries safety, productivity and cost cutting needs as influential in decision making.
Key highlights of the survey also included three-quarters of Asian mines will not invest in autonomous vehicles within the next 10 years; remote control/machine automation had the lowest rate of implementation across Asian mining operations; and coal and base metals were the commodity sectors with the highest share of respondents considering additional investments in the next two years.
Rio Tinto and Alcoa begin construction with ELYSIS tech
Eliminating all direct greenhouse gases from aluminium smelting has taken a major step forward with the start of construction on the first commercial-scale prototype cells of ELYSIS’ inert anode technology, at Rio Tinto’s Alma smelter in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec.
ELYSIS has the potential to reduce the carbon footprint of aluminium production
ELYSIS is a joint venture company led by Rio Tinto and Alcoa that is developing a new breakthrough technology, known as inert anode, that eliminates all direct greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the traditional smelting process and instead produces oxygen.
The technology has the potential to transform the aluminium industry, with a significant reduction in its carbon footprint.
The inert anode prototype cells will operate on a commercial scale typical for large modern aluminium smelters, using an electrical current of 450 kiloamperes (kA).
The Honourable Francois-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry joined representatives from ELYSIS, Rio Tinto and Alcoa to mark the start of construction and announce a further CAD $20mn financial contribution from the Government of Canada to support the project.
The federal government's financial support will enable the creation of a unique commercial size inert anode technology showroom for future customers and will help develop the supply chain by involving local and regional equipment manufacturers and suppliers in the project.
ELYSIS is working to complete the technology demonstration by 2024 followed by the commercialization activities.
ELYSIS technology at a glance:
- The ELYSIS technology addresses the global trend towards producing low carbon footprint products, from mobile phones to cars, planes and building materials.
- The new process will reduce operating costs ofaluminiumsmelters while increasing production capacity. It could be used in both new and existing aluminium smelters.
- In Canada alone, the ELYSIS technology has the potential to reduce GHG emissions by 7 million tons, the equivalent of removing 1.8 million cars from the roads.
- ELYSIS will also sell next-generation anode and cathode materials, which will last more than 30 times longer than traditional components.
Alcoa and Rio Tinto will continue to support the ELYSIS development program alongside the Governments of Canada and Quebec.
ELYSIS is working closely with Alcoa's Technical Center, where the zero-carbon smelting technology was invented, and the Rio Tinto technology design team in France.
Alcoa's Technical Center supports ELYSIS in the manufacture of proprietary materials for the new anodes and cathodes that are essential to the ELYSIS process. The Rio Tinto technology team in France is creating commercial scale designs for the ELYSIS technology.
Vincent Christ, CEO, ELYSIS commented: “This is a great day for ELYSIS. It means that we are becoming the first technology company in the world to build commercial-size inert anode cells. While we refine the technology in our R&D Centre, we start the construction of our prototype cells. This shows our confidence in our process and in the know-how of our team. The combination of ELYSIS' zero CO2 technology and Quebec's renewable energy will be great competitive advantage for the future. I would like to thank the government for its support and all the partners for their commitment.”
Samir Cairae, Rio Tinto Aluminium managing director Atlantic Operations and ELYSIS board member added: “Today marks a real step towards the future of the aluminium industry, by progressing this breakthrough technology to cut carbon emissions. Rio Tinto is committed to supporting its ongoing development here in Quebec where we already use clean hydropower to deliver some of the world’s lowest carbon aluminium. Combining this technology with renewable hydropower holds the promise of zero carbon aluminium smelting.”