Mining Automation: The Path To Sustainability

Mining automation has increased the efficiency and productivity of different mines around the world. It has also helped to ensure the safety of workers in the workplace while still maintaining low mine operating costs.

Mining Automation

It goes without saying that mining involves a significant amount of risk. Continuous improvements in terms of technology and machinery are needed to ensure that the competitive demand of metals is met in a safe manner.  

According to GlobalData’s Thematic Research, robotic technology is indispensable for any mining company which aligns itself with the goals of safety, productivity and sustainability.

Mining automation has increased the efficiency and productivity of different mines around the world. It has also helped to ensure the safety of workers in the workplace while still maintaining low mine operating costs.

There are many instances where technology has saved a large number of lives. For instance, in 2018, an over-pressurized water pipe was detected at the BHP Nickel West drill mine. Together with the robotics expertise of Woodside and Deakin University, the company was able to cut the pipe without having someone go through the tunnel. 

The entire operation involved working with a robot from a safe distance as it was a risky affair. Because of the robot, the company was able to resolve the issue within two weeks. 

Gudai-Darri: Three steps ahead

Rio Tinto Gudai Darri operations hit by labour shortages. Credit Michael Gaida from
Rio Tinto Gudai-Darri operations hit by labour shortages. (Credit: Michael Gaida from Pixabay.)

Rio Tinto launched their most technologically-advanced mine in 2022 in the Pilbara region of Australia. The company was  able to optimize mine safety and productivity in terms of ore sampling and the distribution of parts needed for the mine. 

Rio Tinto’s mine is expected to last 40 years with an annual production of 43 million tons. Together with Caterpillar, Rio Tinto will develop new autonomous water carts that will be used for dust suppression, assess road dryness, and dispense water automatically. 

“We’ve worked closely with both the Banjima and Yindjibarndi People through the planning and development stages of Gudai-Darri and we look forward to partnering with them into the future to ensure the project achieves significant social and economic benefits. Gudai-Darri represents a step-change in the deployment of automation and technology within our iron ore business and a fantastic demonstration of the talent, ingenuity and capability that exists in Western Australia, a region which is now known globally for its technical excellence and innovation,” said Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief Executive Simon Trott.

Trott added, “Gudai-Darri’s combination of data and analytics, machine learning and automation, will make this mine safer and more productive. Gudai-Darri is our first greenfield mine in the Pilbara in more than a decade and a multi-billion-dollar investment in the State of Western Australia that will operate for decades to come.” 

There are a lot of different advancements and innovations in Gudai-Darri such as trucks that have sensors that provide live dig face progression and accurate assessments of existing ground conditions that help improve safety of the workers. They also have autonomous trains which will be used for transporting heavy equipment and different types of ore. 

The company also has the first notable bucketwheel reclaimer, a solar farm which consists of 83,000 solar panels, and paperless field mobility. The solar panels’ capacity is 34MW – enough to supply a third of the mine’s average electricity demand. 

HeartCore signs with Transoms Digital Technology

HeartCore Enterprises (NASDAQ: HTCR) recently announced their partnership with Transoms Digital Technology Inc. for the process mining tool Apromore. HeartCore will mostly cater to Japanese enterprises and help with their digital transformation. 

“We are pleased to sign a licensing agreement with TCDT, a company that understands the magnitude and importance of digital transformation.Though the prevalence of process mining is in its nascent stage, the growing concern among business managers struggling to optimize complex operations led us to pursue our initial exclusive reseller agreement with Apromore in June of last year. We intend to continue partnering with companies such as TCDT, as we expand our go-to-market efforts. We remain laser focused on leveraging our exclusive right to resell Apromore in Japan, as part of our own process mining service and plan to continue taking advantage of synergistic opportunities to scale our Digital Transformation initiative,” CEO Sumitaka Kanno (Yamamoto) stated.

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ABB, FLSmidth to help mining companies de-risk operations

ABB and FLSmidth have joined forces to lower operating costs and ensure safety of laborers in the workplace. The agreement was finalized at the FT Mining Summit in London.

According to Joachim Braun, division president, ABB Process Industries, this collaboration is very important to the mining industry and will help achieve the targets outlined in the UN Paris Agreement. He also added that these two companies have chosen to work together during these times to help customers achieve their business goals and carbon-free operations that will benefit their workers.

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“FLSmidth and ABB already have many of the building blocks for carbon-free, resource-optimized operations. By assessing how to combine and integrate these technologies and our respective expertise we will, together with our customers, accelerate transition in mining operations. Mining is essential in the energy transition. Meanwhile, the mining industry is facing unprecedented challenges due to declining ore grade and high demand as it develops new sites, while also being asked to make existing operations more sustainable. Modern technology, expert analysis and digital solutions will help lower water and energy use and reduce waste–and FLSmidth and ABB can really move the needle in this area,” said Mikko Keto, Group CEO, FLSmidth. 

Mikko Keto, Group CEO, FLSmidth (left) and Joachim Braun, Division President, Process Industries, ABB.

FLSmidth is known for providing sustainable productivity to the mining industry with market-leading technology and products that help their customers reduce their environmental footprint. The company introduced ‘MissionZero’ in a bid to make mining sustainable by 2023 in terms of technology, equipment, mineral processing expertise, automation, electrification and digital solutions. 

ABB is a leading global technology company that helps the industry become more productive and sustainable. They have been in the industry for more than 130 years with over 105,000 employees in the 100 countries that they operate in.

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