While miners are starting to trial and make small investments in technologies such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and cloud computing, the traditionally conservative mining sector remains focused on improving efficiency and productivity by continuing to invest in mine management software and predictive maintenance.

GlobalData’s latest report, Global Mine-Site Technology Adoption Survey 2018, reveals that while investment by the majors is currently well ahead of mid-tier miners and producing juniors, higher shares of the latter two groups are planning investments in mine management software and predictive maintenance given their immediate impact on improving productivity.

The report includes data and analysis from the company’s survey of over 200 worldwide mine sites which investigated the extent to which mines had invested in 13 different technologies ranging from communication systems to drones, predictive maintenance, cloud computing, autonomous vehicles and wearables, as well as their investment intentions over the next two years.

Source: GlobalData Mining Intelligence Center

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By GlobalData

Mines remain very conservative in their investment choices sticking to those things that deliver an immediate return. After investments in predictive maintenance and mine management software, collision avoidance technology to improve safety has seen the next highest penetration. In contrast, less than 40% of miners have invested, even to a minor degree, in cloud computing, AR or VR.

This is positive news for software companies such as Dassault Systèmes, who offer a range of options under the Geovia brand, and Datamine, who together work with almost half of the mines surveyed. Other popular choices are Maptek, Deswik and RungePincockMinarco, which are collectively used by over 20% of the mines surveyed.

Amongst the other technologies investigated, whilst relatively few had yet invested in remote control vehicles, a reasonable share (35%) are planning to invest, either initially or as part of further investment, in this technology over the next two years. This will rank remote control vehicles in third place behind predictive maintenance (39%) and mine management software (48%).

Investment in mine-site technology to date has been dominated by the majors, however the smaller miners are following suit in areas such as mine management software and predictive maintenance which allows them to increase productivity and run their complex operations as efficiently as possible.