More than 50% of miners worldwide are predicted to be replaced by robots by 2020, according to a future industry trends report by advisory organisation BDO Australia.
The report ‘BDO’s Energy 2020 Vision: The Near Future of Mining’, includes predictions from BDO’s natural resources experts from around the world.
It is predicted that robotic technology will drive a 30% reduction in digging costs per tonne for global mining companies using web-connected sensors and automated drilling machines.
The robotic technology is also expected to reduce workplace accidents by 75%.
The report predicts that by 2020, activist hackers will launch at least five global permanent denial of service (PDoS) cyber-attacks at mine sites through connected devices.
BDO Natural Resources national leader Sherif Andrawes said: “As the focus on minimising costs of production increases, mining companies are under pressure to reimagine their business models. Those that have incorporated technology into their operations have seen their revenue streams live on, while those that haven’t have fallen short.
“The value of harnessing technology is clear. Driverless technology increases mining output by 15% to 20%, while cutting fuel and maintenance costs by 10% to 15% and 8% respectively. It also improves mining safety exponentially.
“At the same time, though, these internet-connected technologies open the mining industry up to new cyber-attack vectors that they must hedge against through proper internal controls. If not, they risk seeing their entire operation crippled by a single attack.”
The report also predicts that renewables will account for a quarter of global electricity generation.
In Australia, the report outlines how the path to growth is changing.
Last year, the Australian Government passed the crowd-sourced equity funding (CSEF) legislation, with the relevant platforms expected to be live this year.
Andrawes added: “We see CSEF forming a key part of the growth journey for exploration companies, with early ASX listing becoming a strategy of the past.
“A company will raise the funds it needs without the burdens of being ASX-listed and with reduced compliance requirements. This will allow for a greater focus of efforts and resources into exploration and value-add activities.”