The mining industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the need for greater productivity as well as safety. In the last three years alone, there have been over 62,000 patents filed and granted in the mining industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in mining: tunnel lining construction. Buy the report here.
However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilizing and reaching maturity.
Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.
40+ innovations will shape the mining industry
According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the mining industry using innovation intensity models built on over 70,000 patents, there are 40+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.
Within the emerging innovation stage, tunnel ventilation systems, mine drainage systems, and tunnel lining construction are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Battery metal recycling, precision milling and virtual industrial monitoring are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are high performance drill bits and hybrid industrial vehicles, which are now well established in the industry.
Innovation S-curve for the mining industry
Tunnel lining construction is a key innovation area in mining
Tunnel lining construction in mining refers to the process of building protective structures within underground tunnels and excavations to ensure their stability and safety. These linings serve as a barrier between the tunnel walls and the surrounding rock or soil, providing support and preventing collapses or other forms of instability. Tunnel lining construction is a critical component of mining operations, as it helps maintain the structural integrity of underground passages. The choice of lining method depends on factors such as the geological conditions, tunnel dimensions, and the specific objectives of the mining project.
GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 200+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established mining companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of tunnel lining construction.
Key players in tunnel lining construction – a disruptive innovation in the mining industry
‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.
‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.
Patent volumes related to tunnel lining construction
|Company||Total patents (2010 - 2022)||Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies|
|China Railway Group||265||Unlock Company Profile|
|State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council||72||Unlock Company Profile|
|China Communications Construction Group||36||Unlock Company Profile|
|China State Construction Engineering||33||Unlock Company Profile|
|The 2nd Engineering of China Railway 12th Bureau Group||21||Unlock Company Profile|
|Power Construction Corporation of China||19||Unlock Company Profile|
|China Railway 11Th Bureau Group No4 Engineering||15||Unlock Company Profile|
|China Railway First Group||14||Unlock Company Profile|
|China Railway Tunnel Survey & Design Institue||14||Unlock Company Profile|
|China Railway Tunnel Stock||13||Unlock Company Profile|
|Tian Di Science & Technology||13||Unlock Company Profile|
|China Railway Group||10||Unlock Company Profile|
|Shanghai Tunnel Engineering||10||Unlock Company Profile|
|Guangzhou Metro Group||9||Unlock Company Profile|
|4Th Engineering Ctce Group||8||Unlock Company Profile|
|Shanghai Construction Group||8||Unlock Company Profile|
|Sichuan Road & Bridge Group||8||Unlock Company Profile|
|Beijing Municipal Construction Group||7||Unlock Company Profile|
|China Railway 22Nd Bureau Group Rail Engineering||7||Unlock Company Profile|
|First Engineering Of China Railway 16Th Construction Bureau Group||7||Unlock Company Profile|
|Sinohydro Bureau 8||7||Unlock Company Profile|
|Uni-President Enterprises||7||Unlock Company Profile|
|Okumura||6||Unlock Company Profile|
|Beijing Urban Construction Design & Development Group||6||Unlock Company Profile|
|Zhoushan Zhihai Technology Development||5||Unlock Company Profile|
|China Energy Investment||5||Unlock Company Profile|
|Obayashi||5||Unlock Company Profile|
|China Railway 16 Bureau Group Beijing Metro Engineering Construction||5||Unlock Company Profile|
|Zhejiang Communications Construction Group||5||Unlock Company Profile|
|Chongqing Construction Engineering Group||5||Unlock Company Profile|
|Erchu Of China Railway Tunnel Group||5||Unlock Company Profile|
|China Railway 14 Bureau Group||5||Unlock Company Profile|
|Shanghai Tunnel Engineering||4||Unlock Company Profile|
|Nippon Express||4||Unlock Company Profile|
|China Metallurgical Group||4||Unlock Company Profile|
|Guangdong Yuehai Pearl River Delta Water Supply||4||Unlock Company Profile|
|China Railway Design||4||Unlock Company Profile|
|Powerchina Roadbridge Group||4||Unlock Company Profile|
|Nanjing Metro Group||4||Unlock Company Profile|
|The 3rd Engineering of China Railway 12th Bureau Group||4||Unlock Company Profile|
|China Railway Construction||4||Unlock Company Profile|
|Jinan Rail Transit Group||4||Unlock Company Profile|
|Sinohydro Engineering Bureau 4||3||Unlock Company Profile|
|Ranken Railway Construction Group||3||Unlock Company Profile|
|China Railway First Bureau Group Macau Branch||3||Unlock Company Profile|
|Guangzhou Metro Group||3||Unlock Company Profile|
|China Railway 21st Bureau Group The 3rd Engineering||3||Unlock Company Profile|
|The Fifth Engineering Of China Railway First Engineering Group||3||Unlock Company Profile|
|The Third Construction of CTCE Group||3||Unlock Company Profile|
|China Construction Third Engineering Bureau Group||3||Unlock Company Profile|
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Through its subsidiary North China Metallurgical Construction (NCMCC), China Metallurgical Group, one of the leading patent filers in tunnel lining construction, offers a wide range of large-scale construction. With its most advanced construction techniques and capacity, NCMCC has successfully completed more than 90 mining projects in China and abroad for metallurgy, chemicals, nonferrous metal, gold, and nonmetal resources, delivering 122 mining shafts totaling 39km and 500km of tunneling work.
In terms of application diversity, China Energy Investment leads the pack, followed by China Energy Investment. By means of geographic reach, Okumura held the top positions, followed by
Nippon Express and China Energy Investment.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the mining industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Mining.