Mining industry forecast to embrace digitalisation with spend reaching US$9.3bln in 2030
According to ABI Research, mining firms are starting to appreciate the benefits that digital technologies can deliver, such as having insights on changing geological conditions to ensure workforce safety and the condition of their equipment to avoid unplanned downtime.
‘While the needs are critical, technology suppliers cannot assume that example deployments from other verticals will resonate with miners,’ explains Michael Larner, Principal Analyst of Industrial & Manufacturing at ABI Research.
‘Often individual mining plants operate autonomously with relevant references from other mines a key investment criteria. Suppliers will need to be patient and support partners to build their credibility in the vertical.’
Fortunately for suppliers, some of the largest mining firms realise the benefits that digital technologies provide. Rio Tinto, for example, has been a keen advocate of automation and has been running a fleet of autonomous trucks since 2008, and more recently, a fleet of autonomous trains.
Miners’ key investments will be in 4G and 5G networks to underpin data collection projects to map sites or utilise drones to collect images of the entire site. Data analytics software from suppliers such as IntelliSense.io, Seeq, and Senseye, will help miners avoid unplanned downtime.
Suppliers such as Strayos help miners anticipate the impact of blasts in open-cast mines, which is forecast to fuel spend on data analytics to increase by CAGR 8.9% and be worth US$1.4bln in 2030.
‘The saying ‘where there’s muck there’s brass’ applies for technology firms targeting this vertical. Miners need to clean, sort, and mill the materials that come out of the earth to deliver high-quality minerals. Solutions that can optimise the processes, both in terms of efficiency and increased yield, will be looked upon favourably,’ Larner concludes.