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The new normal 

Another MINExpo has come and gone, after being postponed by a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Unfortunately I couldn’t attend it this time (but will hopefully see you all at the next one in 2024!)

However, as this was the case for many people outside the US who would normally attend MINExpo, show sponsor the National Mining Association and various exhibiting companies were ready with livestreamed sessions and press conferences for those of us stuck at home. For many of us, the pandemic has made video calls and livestreaming a regular feature of our professional and personal lives.

One thing that was clear from the coverage of this year’s show is that the focus on battery-electric and hydrogen vehicles has increased since the last MINExpo in 2016, as well as an upsurge in the development of data-driven, autonomous vehicles.

This is further highlighted by the report Axora published last week, the Axora 2021 Innovation Forecast: Metals and Mining (Axora’s Joe Carr has previously spoken to The Intelligent Miner about why mining companies need to accelerate their carbon reduction).

Based on a survey of more than 150 senior figures in the mining industry along with interviews with operators, the report stated that “99% of decision makers now believe that technology and innovation are critical to their organisation’s survival” as they seek to improve their operational efficiency while also spending less.

The report noted that application-wise, there has been a particular emphasis on remote operations and automation, with 73% of surveyed organisations deploying this technology to some extent. In addition, 72% of respondents said their company had implemented a Remote Operations Centre, and a further 15% said they’re planning to do so in the next year.

However, the report also looked at the biggest barriers to fulfilling digital transformation – 42% of respondents cited cybersecurity concerns, and 38% referred to a lack of IT infrastructure to handle data from digital solutions.

Since I started writing about the mining industry a decade ago, it has been fascinating to watch the rise and spread of these technologies. This month’s content on The Intelligent Miner will be themed around ‘going deeper with data’, covering topics like data analytics and quantum computing, and it’s set to be an interesting month!



Next month on The Intelligent Miner: Mineral exploration for the 21st Century  

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Reading list
Eight of the most interesting articles I've read on data & technology
McKinsey: Engaging employees to use analytics
Advanced analytics can drive value only if employees use them to make decisions, but adoption is often the biggest stumbling block
Mining Technology: Data science – Australian mining’s new hammer and axe?
An interesting article examining the growing role for data scientists in Australia’s mining sector as it undergoes a digital transformation
SRK: Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence for Mining Geoscience
This article tries to demystify AI, machine learning and deep learning, and gives insight on how these technologies can be applied in geoscience
E&MJ: Managing the Data Avalanche
Another great article that stresses the importance of the right tools, training and data literacy to handle the challenges of digitalisation
GMG and OSIsoft: Analytics, AI and Digital Twins for Mining Operations
In one of a series of virtual forums GMG ran last year, OSIsoft’s Martin Provencher discusses important considerations for new technologies
Deloitte and NORCAT: Future of mining with AI
Why mining companies should adopt artificial intelligence (AI) applications, the key challenges that may arise, and how companies can take the first steps towards adoption
ABB: Data lights the way to innovation
A blog post written from the perspective of a data scientist, who points out that the main obstacle to technological advancement is changing how we think about it
Global Mining Review: Changes in the mining industry
This piece summarises three major technological changes and their drivers which are re-shaping the mining industry
Last month on The Intelligent Miner
We explored the concept of agility in mining
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