The smart mining market is on track for substantial growth in the coming years, a new report by Transparency Market Research has found.
According to the report, the global smart mining market was valued at $US5.98 billion in 2014 and is projected to reach $US22.59 billion by 2024. This equates to a growth rate of almost 15 per cent from 2016 to 2024.
The prime reason behind such transformation is the introduction of numerous smart mining technologies for carrying out mining operations.
These smart mining technologies include several automated mining equipment, sensors, RFID tags, and various types of mine monitoring and analytics software.
Smart Iron Ore Mining in Australia:
The Australian mining Corporation Rio Tinto in 2018 will submit for the Board’s consideration the project of construction of “smart” iron ore mining and processing complex, which will be widely used the latest automation technology, including the extraction of ore with the help of industrial robots, unmanned trucks and trains. It is reported Metalinfo.
According to General Director of iron ore division of Rio Tinto’s Chris Salisbury … the aim of the project is to adapt all these technologies under one company.
The project cost $2.2 billion involves the development of Koodaideri iron ore mine in the Pilbara region in Western Australia. Production capacity, which should be operational in 2021, is estimated at 40 million tonnes of ore per year with possible expansion to 70 million tons.
Not Too Far from Our Country: A useful experience of Smart Mines in Kazakhstan
Mines can be monitored in real time by sensors that can detect where changes should be made in the mining process to improve productivity.
A major iron ore project in Kazakhstan is getting a high-tech makeover. The Kacharsky mine, operated by Eurasian Resources-owned JSC Sokolov-Sarbai Mining Production Association or SSGPO, is being transformed into a "smart mine."
With an investment of $10 million, a new modular automated system for production processes was integrated with Kacharsky’s existing Geographic Information System and Enterprise Resource Planning System. From now on -the company said in a press release-, operators will be able to build an optimal production scenario via GIS MineSched and GIS Surpac and use US Modular Mining Systems to plan the despatch and delivery of products. This means that the mine can be monitored in real time by sensors that can detect where changes should be made in the mining process to improve productivity. Once this happens, the computer system will then make the required adjustments, including allocating mining vehicles and equipment if necessary.
The live data obtained from such processes would provide a better understanding of how equipment is being used at Kacharsky and, according to SSGPO, increase equipment productivity by more than 10%. The company also expects to minimise failures, eliminate unscheduled equipment downtime, expedite the movement and allocation of machines, and optimise costs.
Kacharsky currently generates 50% of all SSGPO’s iron ore to produce pellets and concentrate. This adds up to 20 million tonnes of mineral per year.
Key Players of Global Smart Mining
Key players in the global smart mining market include Rockwell Automation, Trimble Navigation, Hexagon, Komatsu, Sandvik, Joy Global and Hitachi.
Transparency Market Research Report stated that introduction of smart technologies not only enabled efficient connectivity among miners but also allowed optimal production and recovery with minimum wastage.
“They are also much safer and environment-friendly as compared to the traditional mining technology,” the report continued.
“Operational costs associated with smart mining technology are also very less as compared with the traditional technology. However, deployment of smart technologies in a particular mine involves very high capital cost.
Mining companies across the world also lack skilled labour force to successfully run such smart technologies and they are investing aggressively in training their existing workforce in order to ensure efficient operations.
The smart mining market involves automated equipment, hardware and software.