According to a whitepaper by the World Economic Forum (WEF), digitization in the mining industry has the potential to generate more than $425 billion in value for shareholders, customers and the environment in the 10 years to 2025, equivalent to 3-4% of total industry revenues over that period. Beyond balance sheets, the potential benefits of digitization in mining could reduce global CO emissions by 610 million tons and save more than 1,000 lives through improved safety measures.
This article aims to present some of the technology trends that are driving traceability in mining. Let's start.
- Use of QR codes and RFID tags: These systems allow mined materials to be tracked in an automated way through the use of QR code readers and RFID tags. This means that there is no need to manually write traceability data, which reduces the margin of error and increases efficiency.
- Online tracking platforms: these platforms allow mining companies to keep a detailed record of the history of mined materials and make it accessible via the Internet. This means that companies can comply with regulations and social responsibility requirements more efficiently and transparently.
- Use of drones: Drones equipped with cameras and sensors can be used to monitor and track mining activities in real time. This allows mining companies to make more informed decisions and improve efficiency.
- Use of geographic information systems: Geographic information systems (GIS) allow mining companies to visualize and track their mining activities on a map. This allows a better understanding of the impacts and risks of mining.
- Real-time monitoring: Real-time monitoring technology allows mining companies to track and monitor their mining activities in real time. This allows for greater efficiency and more informed decision making.
- Use of supply chain management systems: Supply chain management (SCM) systems allow mining companies to keep a detailed record of the history of extracted materials and make it accessible via the Internet. This allows for greater transparency and accountability.
- Data analytics: Data analytics allows mining companies to collect, process and analyze large amounts of traceability data to make more informed decisions and improve efficiency.
- Use of sensors: Sensors can be used to monitor and track the conditions of mined materials and the mining environment in real time. This allows mining companies to make more informed decisions.
The potential benefits of digitization for the mining sector are clear, and the technology gap between the industry and other sectors is closing. More and more mining companies are implementing digital strategies to increase efficiency and gain a competitive advantage amid challenging market conditions. Governments and state-owned enterprises are jumping on the bandwagon and, in some cases, leading innovation in certain jurisdictions.
The technologies presented earlier help mining companies improve efficiency, comply with regulations and social responsibility requirements, and monitor and mitigate the environmental impacts of their activities.