Drones, 3D printing, and cloud computing. It can all be overwhelming for mining industry leaders looking to move forward in an increasingly digitized sector. The benefits are exciting. Real-time modeling can locate mineral deposits in new ways. Driverless trucks can change the game for remote operations. Wearable tech and IoT in mining safety can revolutionize worker protection. But it takes more than just acquiring new mining technology. As mines become increasingly digitized, there are fresh challenges to be aware of. What are the obstacles that mining professionals should be aware of after digital transformation has already taken place?
Mining Technology Integration
New tools like autonomous mining initiatives may be more advanced and widespread, but that doesn’t necessarily mean mining organizations have harnessed the ability to harness the optimized decision-making abilities promised by this kind of mining technology. It’s not enough to have advanced analytics or remote management at your disposal. In order to maximize its value, mining technology needs to be integrated with other operations and tools across the organization, rather than utilized as individual isolated functions. Think about it this way: collecting and processing large amounts of data is only valuable if you can process and employ it in a larger context. When operational technology is truly integrated, real-time information tracking can deliver mining asset management throughout the entire value chain.
Whether for above ground or underground mining, increasing the amount of connected devices on site creates more vulnerability in the area of cybersecurity. Typically, mining companies center their cybersecurity efforts on business areas like finance or human resources, but the age of IIoT mining is changing all that. Operational technology like mining video surveillance and mining push to talk need to be focus points because they are now connected to larger, interconnected networks that are remotely accessible. Mining companies need to ensure they are protecting these new operational systems and implementing plans to review and update their cybersecurity measures more often.
Adaptive Corporate Culture
Although many functions will be automated, many more will require a new-look miner with a specialized skillset to work with new mining technology. In other words, new mining technology can mean lots of evolving capabilities, and mining workforces need to evolve in step. As business models change, mining companies need to foster a culture of innovation within their organizations. This could take the form of existing workers developing new skills, or recruiting new types of IT professionals to manage an increasingly digitized worksite. Adopting new mining technology isn’t a one-time decision. It requires a commitment to developing the capacity to grow and change along with a new way of operating.
As mines adopt a more autonomous, remote, automated worksite supported by high performance networks, the game will shift away from who can acquire the technology first toward who can utilize it best. Optimizing production, reducing costs, and increasing efficiency will depend on miners’ ability to position their businesses to take full advantage of new processes to create a competitive edge through technology that counts on the bottom line.
At Redline, we provide world-class, industrial-strength network solutions that act as a foundation for your mine’s digital transformation. Find out more about how we can help here.
Redline will be attending and speaking at the CIM Convention + Expo 2022 in Vancouver, BC from May 1-4. Visit booth #1049 to speak with the Redline team or click here to request a meeting.