Blog post

Mining 4.0: Innovation and Digital Transformation in Mining

September 27, 2020

Photo by ThisIsEngineering from Pexels

Updated on July 15, 2021

Mining 4.0 offers new possibilities to combine increased productivity with a stimulating workplace in a good environment. When implemented properly, digitalization can create attractive jobs in a safe, controlled environment, allowing for employee's to exercise their full expertise and creative potential. This is also relevant for the mining industry. Mining companies will need to maintain production at affordable costs in comparison to their international competition. While technology on the one hand can help with this, a competent workforce that can handle the technology is another important factor to consider.

What is Mining 4.0?

The term Mining 4.0 came from Industry 4.0, described as the fourth industrial revolution that is likely to impact most industries. This technological shift is said to bring about the transition to the digital era and will see the implementation of cyber-physical systems that brings about more automation, efficiency and reliability in processes.

Industry 1.0 to Industry 4.0
Source: Sánchez, F., Hartlieb, P. Innovation in the Mining Industry: Technological Trends and a Case Study of the Challenges of Disruptive Innovation. Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration 37, 1385–1399 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42461-020-00262-1

Over the years, mining has become more complex given factors such as lower ore grade, more extreme weather conditions, deeper deposits, shortage of workers, stricter environmental regulations and social license to operate. Innovation will not only help the mining industry navigate through such challenges but also enable a cleaner and more environmentally friendly way of mining with improved efficiency and reliability in mining processes.

Key Benefits of Mining 4.0

Mining 4.0 is envisioned to have direct benefits like improved efficiency and coordination of processes, enhanced utilization of equipment, reduced maintenance costs, waste and lower overall CAPEX and OPEX. More importantly, one can expect a longer-term impact that assures safer, more efficient, and sustainable ways of mining. With lower energy, water consumption, detox reagents, waste generations and emissions, Mining 4.0 offers a genuine look into innovations that fullfill the promise of creating the “mine of the future." We conceptualize Mining 4.0 as a mining operation where the miner is an expert who ensures that production runs smoothly. Rather than being confined to a control room, the miner can move around a mine while also getting real-time data processed. As a result, Mining 4.0 will create augmented miners who have extended senses and memories thanks to the use of technology.

Impacts on the Workplace

The emerging digitalization of the mining industry offers new possibilities for increased productivity and the possibility to create a stimulating workplace. Let's take the control room as an example. There, employees can receive online processed information that it will then be able to fine tune to complete the current operation. However, in many countries, there's a lack of skilled personnel – both miners and mining engineers. The present workforce is ageing and companies are having difficulties with recruiting young, talented people. By using cyber-physical systems such as smart logistics, smart machines and smart maintenance, you'll be able to ensure a constant exchange of information between machines and human workers. Not only does this expand the need for continuous learning and enhancing skills, but it can also create a more enriching working life with more challenging tasks and projects. Another hopeful scenario that Mining 4.0 will create is the opportunity to have more women and other previously underrepresented groups to enter and master different types of industrial work such as in the mining and process industries.

CyanoGuard’s Facilitates Digital Transformation

The cyanide monitoring and management solution from CyanoGuard allows real-time measurement of cyanide level onsite and instant data transmission to our online cloud platform. Below is a summarized table of the features of our solution and the benefits it generates.

Feature

Impact

Benefits

Next-generation chemosensor

• Instant results

• Less prone to interferences

• Reduced time to result

• Improved reliability of measurements

• Improved productivity and operator safety

Handheld, portable analyser

• Eliminates operator bias in measurements

• Device mobility with no need for large-scale investment, infrastructure and maintenance

• Higher accuracy

• Reduced variability

• No downtime and maintenance

Online analytics based on artificial intelligence algorithms

• Real-time data capture and storage

• Predictive forecasting of cyanide consumption

• Improves data security and traceability

• Direct and accurate forecasting of cyanide usage and control

• Improved efficiency in the planning and decision-making process

Instants Alerts (SMS, WhatsApp)

• Minimises reaction time to concentration changes

• Prevent possible cyanide incidents from occurring in the first place

• Better operational planning

 

If you'd like to take your mine into the next industrial revolution, then book a demo wit us to get started.

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