The use of digital technologies continues to grow in the mining industry, although the pace of growth could have occurred years ago if not for several obstacles.
For instance, large-scale mining companies only had the capacity to invest in site-wide sensors, autonomous equipment, and company-wide management systems. That is because the required cost meant too much for smaller firms. Jaram shares more information about the topic.
Rio Tinto’s establishment of an operations facility in Perth in 2010 represented an example of this digital push in the mining industry. The company has launched the centre to control its iron ore assets in the Pilbara site, as complementary mining equipment for traditional resources, from customised trucks to Ute toolboxes in Australia.
The rest of the industry followed suit with numerous investments, yet the market downturn that shortly followed forced companies to downsize or even postpone their digital expansion plans. Now, using digital technologies has become more affordable for miners, but they still want to know how to implement it in a more cost-efficient way.
Jobs at Risk
As the mining industry explores the feasibility of digital operations, other issues threaten to hamper the normal flow of business. Some of these concerns involve resource jobs for skilled migrants, as sweeping changes to regulations may affect mining employment and increase energy prices.
Steve Knott, CEO of resources employer group AMMA, said that replacing the 457 Visa programme with a new short-term immigration policy has certain drawbacks. For instance, it will reduce specialist roles that can only be performed by foreigners. Knott also said that the regulatory changes will take effect in July and it will likely affect the pace of employment in the mining sector.
Digital tools and technology will help any mining company in Australia keep up with changing trends. However, the use of old-fashioned equipment remains important, as not all aspects of operations can be performed in digital ways.