When it comes to the penetration of mine-site technologies, mines in Australia are in the lead compared with other major mining regions. For example, relative to other regions, Australian mines are more likely to have invested in cloud computing, drones and autonomous vehicles, and also have high levels of penetration of mine planning and management software and predictive maintenance, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
GlobalData’s latest report, Global Mine-Site Technology Adoption Survey 2018, reveals that, whilst a high share of mines globally had already invested in mine planning and management software and predictive maintenance, Australian mines had invested to the greatest extent in other technologies such as autonomous or remote control vehicles, cloud computing and drones, with the share of mines investing in these having risen rapidly over time. Between 2016 and 2018 the share of Australian mines reporting investment in drones rose from 40% to 82%, whilst for remote control vehicles the share rose from 54% to 73%.
Australia was followed in terms of overall penetration of technologies by Africa and the Americas, whilst mines in Asia lagged behind. This was particularly when it came to autonomous or remote control vehicles, partly a result of much lower manpower costs in Asia. However, mines in Asia are catching up in some areas; penetration of mine planning and management software rose from 68% in 2016 to 85% by 2018, and 70% of Asian mines are planning to invest in this area in the coming two years. This share was much higher than for other technologies – only 36% of respondents were intending to invest in predictive maintenance, the second-highest ranked technology for future investment.
In Australia, high priorities for investment are remote control and autonomous vehicles; 64% and 55% of surveyed mines respectively plan to invest, either more, or for the first time, in these technologies over the next two years. In the Americas the main priorities are collision avoidance, mine management software and predictive maintenance, whilst in Africa they are collision avoidance, mine communication systems and predictive maintenance.