UNLOCKING THE EDGE

Any industry. Any system. Any process.

A shift is unfolding in the mining industry

12 February 2018

Report by Daleen van Wyk, Corporate Communication

Mining companies are now ready for disruption and looking to introduce new technologies to drive efficiencies and revive the industry. This represents a dramatic shift in attitudes compared to a year ago.

This is the major trend identified by team IoT.nxt at the Mining Indaba hosted in Cape Town early February.

“We demonstrated the intelligent mine of the future in partnership with Deloitte and it was clear that the mining industry is looking to the future. As the 4th Industrial Revolution gains traction we expect to see mainstream adoption of innovative new technology in the mining industry,” says IoT.nxt team leader at the 2018 Mining Indaba and Director of Partnerships: Mining, Eric Croeser.

“We detected a total turnaround in attitudes compared to delegates we engaged with at the 2017 Indaba. Apart from a readiness for disruption, mining companies are actually ready to invest, which is very encouraging for an industry that remains a major employer,” Croeser says.

“There is a broad understanding that the digital way is the pivot to take the industry forward. Intelligent edge computing will be the driver to unlock systems efficiency and value to mining companies,” he added.

The digital approach is valuable because it delivers an interconnected, near real time, data driven eco-system using sensory devices on legacy and modern equipment to enhance an organisation’s ability to move from reactive to pro-active decision making. “In and industry like mining that involves so many different processes, this is extremely valuable,” Croeser says.

He noted, however, that no single company can provide everything. “You need an eco-system of partners that work together; each contributing a component of digitisation. This is Deloitte’s approach to its ‘Intelligent Mining’ project and IoT.nxt is one of its selected partners to deliver this.”

Fin24 reported that Michelle Ash, chief innovation officer of mining company Barrick, a panelist at the Indaba, said mines cannot stay where they are. “If we do we will not be able to mine anymore. Mining companies need to innovate or risk closing down.”

Ash elaborated on the use of everyday technology like smartphones and tablets and how this can improve efficiencies. “Technology should be based on human-centered design to create ease of use as opposed to having people study complex manuals.

”Financial Mail reported in its edition of 9 February 2018 that the industry’s contribution to GDP was 6.8% in 2017, slightly below the 7% recorded in 2016. “In real terms the industry grew 3.17% and contributed R312bn to the economy,” the magazine reported.

• IoT.nxt participated at the 2018 Mining Indaba in partnership with Deloitte [http://bit.ly/2BoyZAw] as part of the global consultancy’s ‘Intelligent Mining’ project.
• The Indaba attracts about 6 000 attendees; mostly from sub-Sahara Africa but also from many from other parts of the world including Canada, India and Australia.

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