Smart Mining Market

Global Industry Analysis (2017 – 2020), Growth Trends and Market Forecast (2021 – 2025)

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World Needs Mining …And Always Will

Since civilization began, people have used mining techniques to access minerals in the surface of the Earth. Ngwenya Mine in Swaziland is the oldest mine in the world - 43,000 years old and actively mined as recently as 2014. In the earliest days, mining was slow-going and dangerous. However, as time progressed, society has developed safer and more accurate methods of locating and uncovering substances found in the earth.

Raw materials are the indispensable foundation for everything and will remain so in future. With the total mining production touching 17.9 billion metric tons, operating expenses of the top mining companies worldwide reaching USD $15 billion; the industry's leading 40 companies had a total revenue of approximately 656 billion U.S. dollars in 2020 (according to World Economic Forum, the entire mining and metals industry moves to a 1 trillion-dollar economy), efficient extraction of raw materials is one of the biggest buzzwords right now.

According to FINEPRINT (a European Research Council {ERC} Consolidator Grant Project) Brief No. 12, October 2020 - Mining activities around the world occupy 57,277 km². The new data set provides the foundation for a range of future applications, for example, on the impacts of mining on deforestation and biodiversity loss. In Central Africa, mining devastated a National Park called Kahuzi-Biega in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

There are four main mining methods: underground, open surface (pit), placer, and in-situ mining, depending on the type of mineral resource, its location at or beneath the surface, and whether the resource is worth enough money to justify extracting it. Each mining method also has varying degrees of impact on the surrounding landscape and environment.

Mining techniques are always improving, and the number of minerals or metals gleaned from the shaft. Advances in technology have allowed miners to excavate with more accuracy and less harm to the surrounding environment. For example, using surface mining techniques, many mining operations are now able to extract over 85 percent of minerals and 98 percent of metallic ores - without digging a shaft or endangering the lives of workers. Newly developed machines used for grinding and crushing can extract minerals from the earth with less energy than ever before. Investment in technology is competitive advantage for companies, as commodity pressures remains.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) and Licence to Operate (LTO) are societal demands placed on companies that are becoming increasingly important.

Smart Mines of the Future

Cutting-edge solutions are the way forward. Mining companies are partnering with tech-companies for creative solutions deploying wireless networks underground, as the radio signals that carry cellular, Wi-Fi, RFID and other wireless data are just not good at penetrating rock and soil. Smart mines that are efficient to operate, improving maintenance and boosting efficiencies, maximize safety and minimally impact the environment throughout the life of a mine.

Automation and digital technologies - as broad as Artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, Cloud computing, Big data analytics, Mobile and wearable devices, Augmented, virtual, and mixed realities, 3D printing, Open-source hardware and software, Self-driving and robotics - offer mining operators gain a deeper understanding of their site, resources, and operations in real-time.

However, the mining industry is risk-averse to investing in new technologies without a guaranteed return on investment (ROI), protective towards their data, and negative experiences in hacking scandals.

Mining Important to Daily Life

The population, urbanization (major growth force for mining activities) and income growth will demand more buildings, cars, and consumer products, thereby increasing the needs for mined products as the building blocks of this growth. As the nations across break ground on infrastructure improvements, the mining industry could see a spike in demand.

Growth Drivers

  • Mining companies have made and continue to make massive investments in breakthrough technologies, such as sensing technologies, adaptive supply chain, simulation, use of drones for environmental and production management
  • Driverless technology, deep sea excavations, and mining expeditions on the moon are near reality. Following President Trump’s 2017 executive order to streamline US mining projects in minerals - from cobalt and lithium to rare earths - momentum will be strong for ‘S’ expansion into deep-sea mining
  • A December 2019 executive order (EO) by President Trump (to reduce the nation’s reliance on imports of critical minerals) could spur US mining companies to increase exploration for, and excavation of, a new commodity
  • China’s 5,800 coal mines supply power stations with more than half of the annual 3.68 billion tons of raw coal produced nationally. Given the scale, creating a smart, efficient, safe, and clean operating model is obviously important
  • U.S. National Mining Association (NMA), implementing the Industries of the Future strategy. Increased investment in technology - to the tune of 10 percent of revenue spent on IT - will make autonomous mineral excavation the norm for US mining companies
  • Office of Industrial Technologies (OIT) - financial assistance programs

Industry Interest Groups

  • The American Geosciences Institute, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Canada’s Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks (CENGN) - represents and serves the geoscience community by providing collaborative leadership and information to connect Earth, science, and people
  • Program on Forests (PROFOR) common goal: sustaining forests for all

Associations play a critical role in raising awareness for the mining industry

International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), National Mining Association (NMA), The Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC), The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA), Euromines, Nevada Mining Association, World Coal Association (WCA), The Australiasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (The AUsIMM), Global Association of China (GMAC), The World Gold Council (WGC), The International Zinc Association (IZA) and British Geological Survey (BGS).

Mining Laws and Environmental Regulations on Mining Activities

Uncertainty concerning Environmental Regulation is a deterrent to investment. Government-approved permits, ESG reporting obligations, and institutional and other investor interest in what resource companies are doing in this space, are rapidly multiplying across the globe. Transparency in capital raising in the world’s capital markets in various ways.

Federal laws that regulate mining:

  • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Clean Air Act (CAA), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), Clean Water Act (CWA), Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)

Smart Mining Service Provider Companies

ABB, Anglo American, Axora, Bell, Robert Bosch GmbH, Cisco, Codelco, Ericsson, Exfo, GeoSonics, Howden Group, Hexagon, Huawei, IntelliSense, Juniper Networks, Kandy, MISOM, Mitel, Nokia, Ribbon Communications, Sandvik, Schlumberger, SGS, SMS Equipment, Siemens, Solvay, Wipro.

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