The global mining industry has always relied on technology. It is impossible to identify the resources that lie beneath the earth’s surface without recourse to sophisticated technology.
Today, Australian miners utilise a range of different technologies in the course of their day-to-day operations. In the years ahead it is expected that the mining industry will benefit from further technological advancements that will deliver increased efficiency and profitability.
A report from the McKinsey Global Institute has identified 12 technologies that could drive economic transformations over the coming years. While it is unlikely that all 12 will come to directly impact the industry many will and, taken together, the identified technologies are expected to have an economic impact of between $14bn and $33bn.
Of the 12 disruptive technologies identified by McKinsey, quite a few have possible mining applications.
Robots with enhanced ‘senses’, dexterity and intelligence will begin to take on tasks previously considered too delicate or uneconomical to automate.
Advances in energy storage devices could be used to bring electricity to remote mining sites. The efficiency of the electricity grid could also be improved.
In a remarkably short space of time Internet-enabled portable devices have become an everyday item for more than one billion people in the world. 30% to 40% of our web browsing is done from a mobile device.
At FluidIntel, we made sure to embrace this shift early. Being web-based, the AdaptFMS fuel monitoring software is accessible on any handheld device, 24/7 from anywhere in the world.
Automation of knowledge work
With modern-day computers capable of answering ‘unstructured’ questions (i.e., those posed in ordinary language rather than ones framed precisely to match software queries), it is now possible to automate many knowledge worker tasks. The McKinsey report notes that this development "opens up possibilities for sweeping change in how knowledge work is organised and performed."
The Internet of things
Embedding sensors and actuators in machines and bringing them into the connected world is spreading rapidly. AdaptFMS already exploits this sort of technology. Remote tank sensors, for instance, calculate fuel tank levels and that data is pushed live to the Adapt software thereby allowing clients to monitor their fuel supplies in real-time via the web based system. With AdaptFMS, fuel consumption can be monitored from anywhere at any time.
Autonomous and near-autonomous vehicles
From drones to Google’s self-driving car, automated vehicles are here to stay and it would not be a surprise to see them play a larger role in the mining industry. The technology is safe and has the potential contribute to greater efficiency and cost savings.
As you can see, there are a number of emerging technologies that have the potential to contribute to a better mining industry. At FluidIntel, we look forward to continuing to play our role in the future of mining, and industry that has been driven by technology from day one.