Throughout the history of mining, technological innovation has played a vital role across all cycles of mining projects. The new wave of technological adoption is a combination of evolutionary and revolutionary technologies, with an increasing focus on the latter. An acceleration in investments in disruptive technologies in recent years has seen the large-scale mining sector finally catching up with a dynamic that has already advanced in many other sectors. The reasons for this shift include more difficult geology, declining ore deposits, the need to reverse a secular decline in productivity, the need to improve safety for mine workers, a need to manage environmental impacts, and – more recently – a reaction to pressures from the COVID-19 crisis.
The technologies in question are a suite of different innovations brought from other fields that work together in concert:
• Enablers of digitization such as radio-frequency identification (RFID) sensors, wearables, drones, and satellites.
• Users of big data such as machine learning and artificial intelligence.
• Integrators of big data such as 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT), systems management software, and blockchain technology.
• Process improvers such as automated machinery, electric vehicles, digital twins, water management and tailings recovery technologies, and renewable energy generation.
Agriculture Law | Environmental Law | International Law | Law | Oil, Gas, and Mineral Law
Isabelle Ramdoo, Aaron Cosbey, Jeff Geipel & Perrine Toledano,
New Tech, New Deal: Mining Policy Options in the Face of New Technology,
Available at: https://scholarship.law.columbia.edu/sustainable_investment_staffpubs/205