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There is no question that the world has changed over the last two years. Due to the impact of COVID-19 the mining industry has had to face several new challenges to adjust for unstable commodity prices in the market by cutting costs of operations. Some mining operations have even had to be terminated due to the rising costs and risks involved.
The challenges in the mining industry don’t seem to be close to an end. Mining companies must prepare for what the future holds and continue to innovate, implement new technologies, and create a better public image. This article will list some challenges in the mining industry and changes to expect in the years to come.
New mining technology implementation
Over the last few years, there have been technological innovations, that allow for new ways to mine as natural resources deplete. There are existing technologies out there that companies should implement to allow for better exploration, mining, and worker safety.
There are a few technologies available. One such technology is new 3D imaging and surface mapping technologies that help mining exploration in more difficult places geologists and engineers cannot reach in person. This means that mining companies can better reach the resource deposits they need all while saving money and improving worker safety. Another new technology available is autonomously operated machinery, such as hauling vehicles, drilling rigs and drones. Autonomy allows for an increase in minesite efficiency and safety.
Reliable energy needs
The thing about operating a minesite is that they need power. Providing reliable power sources is becoming an increasingly difficult challenge in mining as operations push further seeking more resources. Mining companies have to implement new technological innovations to allow miners to get a reliable power source to mine. There are a number of mobile off-grid power plants that can be assembled and dismantled when needed, providing power to any mining operation.
Health and safety
Priority for worker health and safety is at an all-time high. As mentioned before, natural resources are depleting and a challenge in the mining industry is to essentially go further than ever before safely and efficiently. Mining companies now need to turn to new technologies to ensure worker safety.
A better public view of mining
In recent decades, social media has grown exponentially. It’s a platform that allows anyone to voice their concerns and opinions. A key challenge in the mining industry is appeasing the wants and needs of the local communities near the mine sites, as well as social media as a whole. There is a continual outcry for mining companies to limit their environmental damages, but it seems they’re stepping up to demands. Although, unfortunately, there is still a largely negative connotation connected to mining and the collection of natural resources.
Not only do companies have to implement changes, but they need to collectively prove to the media that changes are being made to reduce environmental impact, to increase their public image. Mining companies’ PR departments have their work cut out for them as they need to show the steps that are being taken, as well as better emphasising the importance of the mining industry as a whole.
Ensuring a better social image means that mining companies will be able to get the funding they need to operate. If mining companies are able to secure a better public image it will mean investors will be more willing to cooperate.
Managing environmental impact
Without a doubt, the global mining industry has had large environmental impacts across the world. This includes a large carbon footprint, deforestation, erosion, and environmental contamination. A big challenge in mining is that current and new projects now need to reduce the negative impact on the environment. Major Australian mining companies have promised to implement new low-carbon mining and reach net-zero carbon emissions by the year 2050, to set way for a greener and more environmentally friendly mining industry.
A focus on diversity in the industry
As with any industry, the mining industry must move to become more diverse and modern thinking. Within the mining industry, reports give evidence to low racial and gender diversity. The mining industry is also faced with the challenge of employing younger generations and encouraging new talent to apply. To keep up with an ever-shifting and changing world, the mining industry must work overtime to widen its diversity bracket. A larger diversity drives the industry to work in new ways and come up with new innovations to further financial gain.
Monitoring and Maintenance
The increasingly harsh and demanding environment of mines means that vehicles, plants and equipment must be in top shape whenever they are in operation. New technologies allow for the monitoring and management of equipment from a distance, preventing unnecessary risk to workers who would typically need to physically monitor equipment. Our team of expert technicians at MTGA can implement and install such technologies on current equipment, as well as provide minesite maintenance for mobile, and communication equipment