The mining industry has been through its fair share of upheaval over the past few years due to fluctuations in commodity prices, extended supply chains, COVID-19 impacts and remote operations and increasing pressure around environmental, social, and governance (ESG) impacts.
Still, it's becoming more apparent that the transformative power of new technologies will drive the next stage of development and growth in the global mining sector.
Based on what we’ve seen and heard from our customers, we at Skycatch wanted to share our forecast for the mining sector as we lay a foundation for 2022.
We see more opportunities than risks for those in the mining industry that are willing to make transformational changes that can drive long-term value for organizations and the communities they serve.
Miners, geologists, and site operators can work more efficiently, utilize data to maximize productivity, and protect the natural resources we all depend on today and in the future.
From decarbonization to geopolitics, what will mining look like in 2022? As we enter a new year, let's look at some of the biggest trends that will shape the future of mining in 2022 and beyond.
Before we get into the trends, we’d like to invite you to our upcoming webinar Thursday, February 10. where we will be doing a deep dive into a number of these trends and sharing exclusive insights into how organizations can adapt to remain competitive. Register here.
Mining Trend 1: Leveraging Automation to Improve Efficiency
If you're running an organization in the mining sector, you may be wondering how your company can plan around the future to limit operational expenses, and increase efficiency and profitability over the next few years.
The answer is: automation.
We believe that modern technology that empowers you to digitize and streamline your operations, data collection, and analysis are vital to staying ahead of the game in this innovative field.
The Skycatch Mining Solution helps mining companies build resiliency and increase their ROI in the following ways:
- Decreasing manual activities
- Reducing the time spent collecting and analyzing data
- Increasing employee safety
- Improving accuracy in data collection
- Increasing the immediacy of data evaluation
Mining Trend 2: ESG and Global Carbon Reduction Goals
In 2022, miners have more than just safety and efficiency on their mind. Environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues have come to the forefront of the mining community as legislators and investors demand increased attention to these issues.
Of particular importance to the mining community are carbon reduction goals, with most leaders pledging official goals for 2030 and 2050.
But investors want to see more than just pledges and financial statements. They want to see data that verifies progress toward carbon reduction goals for potential investments.
To support this, legislators are also proposing new standards and frameworks to help investors measure mining investments.
This can take many forms including moving away from gas to electric vehicles for mining operations, as well as improving safety by limiting the number of dangerous activities that must be done by humans and supplementing with automated technology.
Even though we know we need to end our dependence on fossil fuels and eliminate emissions, these environmental, social, and governance (ESG) measures will help build more productive mines and make them safer for workers and surrounding communities.
Mining Trend 3: Prioritizing Compliance
As stated previously, legislators are continuing to increase regulation in the mining sector. Failing to comply with these requirements exposes mining companies to serious risks including legal, financial, and reputational damage.
The mining industry must work in partnership with government bodies to harmonize protocols to comply with country-specific regulations governing climate change.
They must also continue to evolve their operations and adapt to industry changes or face losing sight of what's essential and losing out on value creation opportunities.
Mining Trend 4: Overcoming The Social Trust Deficit
Social trust in mining has taken a hit over the past decade, especially with significant accidents at mines like Mount Polley, which spilled millions of cubic meters of mining waste into local waterways.
Mining companies are rethinking how they operate—both on-site and off—to regain public trust. Utilizing advanced technologies such as drones for monitoring of tailing dams can greatly improve the ability for mines to detect early issues and remedy them before it becomes a disaster.
Achieving that goal will require new technologies that keep community members up to date about company operations while also helping managers understand what's happening at their sites.
Mining Trend 5: Navigating Geopolitics
Mining companies must navigate rising economic protectionism and geopolitical risk.
Mining stakeholders are wondering whether they should look to more stable regions with similar global market potential—or gamble on emerging markets that hold tantalizing promise but also pose an array of risks.
Resource-rich countries will continue playing an essential role in driving global growth; however, mining firms need to be prepared for turbulence by investing heavily in building robust relationships with governments while maintaining transparent business practices.
Otherwise, future growth may come at too high a cost. It’s time to explore what you can do today to prepare yourself for tomorrow's shifting geostrategic landscape.
Mining Trend 6: Re-investment Cycle and Mining Expansion
The mining industry is at a technological integration crossroads, between a traditional past and a sustainable and transformative future.
With a commodity cycle recovery underway for battery materials (Li, Co, Ni, Cu, etc), electrification, and increasing prices for precious metals, global miners are considering targets for re-investment: particularly in pit expansion and waste removal.
However, mine expansion requires creating a new geotechnical model of the area and potentially moving hundreds of millions of tons of material over a 2-3 year period. This means ongoing geotechnical surveys, and around the clock monitoring instead of daily or weekly reviews.
Today, edge technology is empowering the mining industry to process data much faster, so that it can be used to improve decision-making and create safer mining operations.
While some may be hesitant to make the investment in newer technologies, like edge computing, they are faced with a choice: follow rivals in their industry to an uncertain fate or make transformational investments, that integrate and action data, to build resilient mining practices today while playing an active role in building our long-term global future.
Skycatch aims to empower humans with the ground truth, helping them transition into the future of data-driven decision-making.
We believe that precision technology will improve everyday life worldwide through data provided by satellite imagery and analytics in every industry and geography: in cities and on farms; in oceans and forests; near-Arctic waters or deep in underground mines—wherever data science can help move businesses forward.
Mining Trend 7: Zero Harm Standards
In analyzing the mining industry, it is apparent that the number one priority and commitment should be the safety and health of its workforce. To do so, it must embrace zero harm standards in all aspects of production.
Specifically, mining companies need to consider how technology can help them improve their commitment to zero harm standards through things like predictive analytics or autonomous vehicles that can monitor mining facilities more closely than humans ever could.
Skycatch’s Mining Solution can reduce the risks to human life and the safety involved in mining operations. The sensors on our drones allow our customers to monitor their mining sites with greater accuracy, thus enabling them to expect issues before they occur or send out alerts if it is too late.
With our real-time solutions in place, mining companies will have more insight into their daily operations than ever before, which ultimately helps them adhere to zero harm standards while increasing their bottom-line profits.
The Most Crucial Mining Trend For 2022
The most significant mining trend of 2022, is actually not new, but a continuing and growing one. That is, the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
Several firms are already using them to inspect mines and other installations. UAVs are also proving invaluable to mining companies that need to analyze large tracts of land; instead of using satellites or teams of surveyors, drones allow them to do it faster and cheaper. What makes UAVs even more appealing is that they can work tirelessly 24/7, day or night.
Our solution is different because it encompasses all the hardware and software you need to fully automate your mining operations.
Whether we're talking about large mining fleets, small units used to survey vast tracts of land, or single units tasked with inspecting critical infrastructure, we provide a tailored solution to your needs.
Our experts can also help you figure out how best to apply drone technology, so you get a maximum return on investment (ROI).
Skycatch experts will help integrate our drones into your fleet and operations seamlessly, so they'll start producing benefits right away—and deliver long-term value as things change.
Are you ready to change the future of your mining company?
To learn more about these and other exclusive insights into 2022 trends and how organizations can adapt to remain competitive attend our live webinar on Thursday, February 10.