Smart mines are the future. However, they're not as widely prevalent as one would hope. That's because, within the mining sector, the adoption of new technologies faces plenty of obstacles. One such challenge is the fact that mines are internally competitive and siloed. So even if the same company runs all the mines, they compete against one another in terms of safety, productivity, and other factors. Internal politics and a lack of cooperation within mining companies stall the implementation of new technologies and facilitate any integration for them. Then, with all the recent cyber-attacks which have been happening, many mining operators lack trust in cloud services and IoT solutions, especially when it comes to protecting their data. In general, the mining industry is a very traditional sector that's widely risk-averse and so making the shift to a digital mine is no easy feat. We are sharing five reasons why smart mines are the best way forward.
1. Reduce Operational Costs
With wireless monitoring, operational costs are lowered since they don't have to work with analog predecessors. A smart mine is one where all its key assets are digitized through embedded sensors that relay data to a central system via a wireless network. This saves money in two ways. First, on labor costs since you don't need a large workforce to physically carry out manual data readings on site. And secondly, because you can avoid expensive cabling, which often incurs maintenance needs. Not only do you save money, but by working with Operational Intelligence (OI) solutions, operators can better predict incidents and consistently maintain their sites. Thus, a digital mine can have a higher ROI and add competitive value.
2. Automate Operations More Easily
Integrating technologies that allow for more automation can be realized with a smart mine. The operator can build upon their existing wireless network of embedded sensors for static and moving assets. For instance, automated trucks allow for a physical network of sensors and remotely programmed and controlled software to work autonomously. Thus, it can help speed up the automatization of key mining processes.
3. Create a Safe Workplace
A major issue for mines is workforce safety. Workers that have to manually get readings in remote and hard-to-access places are at high risk. On the other hand, if you automate mobile assets and enable wireless and remote readings, you will avoid having people in hazardous areas. By also using OI solutions, you will get predictive analysis and insights to better foresee any possible dangers. This includes tracking the workforce and enabling better coordination between the operators and their colleagues.
4. Ensure Long-term Maintenance of Critical Assets
Digital mines that have wireless embedded sensors and GPS trackers can be readily set up and maintained. They adapt well to the extreme physical working conditions of mines as they withstand damage and degradation compared to other assets. With long-lasting and durable technology, mining operators can save time and money on technology systems maintenance.
5. Get Data Security
Mining companies, like every other company, are wary about their data getting into the wrong hands. When you digitize their mining processes, there's always the risk in terms of hackers getting into the system and compromising the mine's operation. However, with reliable and experienced technology, a mine's data is well-protected and secured.
Failure to smarten your mine will keep it "analog" and continue to harm your competitive advantage with costly, manual processes. Introducing new technologies will create both immediate and long-term returns by keeping mining companies competitive and successful in an increasingly digital age. If you'd like to discover how we can help you to turn your mine into a digital one when it comes to cyanide monitoring and how we keep your data safe, contact us today to learn more.