The Smart, Connected Mining: Internet of Things Advancing Mining

The Smart, Connected Mining: Internet of Things Advancing Mining

Africa and Latin America offers potential growth opportunities for the Connected Mine due to these regions developing large-scale mining projects, new economic and political reforms of the region, increasing mineral prices, and employment opportunities, according to global research firm Markets & Markets (M&M).

The connected mining market size is expected to grow from $3.84 billion in 2015 to $9.98 Billion by 2020, at an estimated compound annual growth rate of 21.0% during the forecast period, according to M&M.

What is a Connected Mining?

Connected mining refers to the use of technology to achieve better productivity and safety, as well as reduce operational costs for a mine site. It includes remote-controlled robotic machinery for mineral extraction, which is referred to as telerobotic mining and reduces the risk for miners, according to research house Technavio analysts.

The deployment of smart mining solutions helps mining companies to minimise their labour expenses and increase the production efficiency by real-time monitoring and communication.

What are the benefits of a Connected Mining: Cisco

  • Enhance production efficiency and reliability by tracking every aspect of mining operations, from pit to port.
  • Protect workers through location tracking, remote operations, and monitoring of hazardous work areas.
  • Boost productivity by sharing information across all processes and business applications.
  • Reduce risk, improve compliance, and enhance security with environmental, physical, and cyber safety measures.
  • Reduce production costs with real-time visibility of assets that identifies potential issues early, helping extend asset life.

The market size for connected mining segment has considerably grown over the past few years on the account of evolving mining industry and the emergence of technologies such as Industrial Internet of Things (IoT), data analytics, and remote metering have further augmented the opportunity areas for this market, according to M&M.

The advancement in surface and underground mining systems, solutions, and services coupled with the increasing integration of IoT with such solutions has led to significant investment in smart mining projects globally. The increasing opportunity for system integrators will also act as an opportunity for the connected mining market.

Currently, North America holds the maximum market share in the connected mining market.

M&M argues that North America is expected to have the largest market share and would dominate the connected mining market from 2015 to 2020, with growing number of mining projects, increasing need for mineral ores, and strict government mandates.

It added that Latin America and the Middle East & Africa (MEA) offers potential growth opportunities due to the developing large-scale mining.

Global resource giant Rio Tinto is one of the companies that have pioneered smart, connected mining. Rival BHP Billiton is also running driverless trucks at some sites.

The mining industry has a lot to gain from the connectivity that the IoT delivers. Mining operations around the world are on an automation curve – they are applying technologies to automate their key functions to gain efficiencies in production. However, these initiatives are often focused and restricted within production silos.

“We see a significant number of mines that have data locked away in individual systems but now want to federate that data together, instigate new processes, involving their people in new ways to achieve better outcomes. Mining generates big data because the number of sensors are growing rapidly and systems involved are becoming more intelligent, so the challenge ahead is to federate that data,” said Michael Boland, distinguished systems engineer at Cisco.

Mine of the Future: Rio Tinto

Launched in 2008, Rio Tinto’s Mine of the Future programme is about finding advanced ways to extract minerals deep within the earth while reducing environmental impacts and further improving safety. 

Operations Centre: Rio Tinto’s Operations Centre in Perth is a state-of-the-art facility that enables all its mines, ports and rail systems to be operated from a single location, greatly increasing opportunities for shared experience and overall system improvement. It incorporates visualisation and collaboration tools to provide real-time information across its demand chain and will allow the company to optimise its mining, maintenance and logistic activities across the Pilbara in a way never before possible. 

Autonomous haulage systems: Rio Tinto is the world’s largest owner and operator of autonomous haulage system trucks. The company have 69 autonomous trucks in operation at its Pilbara sites moving high-grade ore and the number of trucks is set to grow in coming years. Implementing autonomous haulage means more material can be moved efficiently and safely, creating a direct increase in productivity. 

Automated drilling system: In 2008, Rio Tinto automated drilling system was successfully trialled at its West Angelas mine in preparation for deployment across our Pilbara operations over the next few years.

 

Goldcorp Éléonore: Building the Connected Mine

Partnering with Cisco and AeroScout Industrial, Goldcorp deployed a ‘Ventilation on Demand’ system on top of its underground WiFi network to better manage its energy costs and improve safety for all its workers.

Connected Mine – Accenture Mobility

This video highlights the Accenture Connected Mine solution that helps mining companies gain more value from their digital investments by applying advanced analytics to improve the way their business runs. Information includes vehicle movements, driver fatigue, asset utilisation and yield from every shift. Thus, Mine Operators can expect to unlock new gains in performance and efficiency.

 

Mining Industry — The Future is Automation
The Mining industry is facing an interesting future with growing demand as well as severe challenges. Being traditionally a labour-intensive industry, the trend now is to vastly increase the level of automation.

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