Smart Mining Solution Market – Emphasis on Achieving Operational Efficiency and Miners’ Safety to Trigger Growth
While the mining sector continues to face the brunt of global recession downturns, mining companies find the need to determine ways to sustain in a market that is also categorized by a widening talent gap, rising stakeholder demands, and deteriorating access to key aspects such as water and energy. Today’s scenario has made it vital for miners to concentrate on differentiating their business models to generate long-term value, with which they can not only attract more investors but also generate significant profits. Smart technology incorporation continues to remain a go-to approach in order to attain this success. Rise in the adoption of technology, globally, is not just changing the demand dynamics of some commodities, but is also modifying the traditional approach to mining.
The deployment of smart mining solutions allows mining companies to boost production efficiency by using real-time monitoring and communication, and reduce labor expense. In a recently published extensive study on the smart mining solution market by Transparency Market Research (TMR), analysts showcase a positive viewpoint of the industry. The study unveils the key elements driving industry growth, while listing the developments made by market competitors.
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Contemplating the Past; Tracing the Role of Digital Solutions in Mining
Since the beginning of civilization, individuals have utilized mining techniques to extract minerals from the surface of the Earth. Discoveries have highlighted the extraction of flint pebbles from deposits in Britain and France, back in the New Stone Age. In ancient times, as far back as 3000 BCE, Egyptians mined copper. In the initial stage, mining was slow-paced, hazardous, and involved the use of heavy and complex equipment. However, with progress in time, the mining industry has witnessed the development of safe and accurate methods of discovering and mining substances found in the Earth. Mining technology has made tremendous advances in the past three decades, in wake of the Industry 4.0 Revolution.
With the rising adoption of sensor technology, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and smart devices and gadgets, the demand for smart mining solutions has risen tremendously, translating into significant market numbers. The smart mining solution market is expected to reach a valuation of ~ US$ 9.2 Bn in 2019. Continuous innovations in technology and the growing applicability of smart mining solutions are expected to drive the growth of the market, registering a CAGR of 11.5% throughout the period of forecast.
Impact of Undercurrents on Smart Mining Solution Marketplace
Artificial Intelligence: Disrupting the Smart Mining Space
Technologies such as Artificial Intelligence are not just bringing transformations across several industries, but also laying the ground for the mining sector, for becoming a digitally disrupted and supported industry. Apart from offering real-time tracking, predictive maintenance for equipment, and environmental and emission monitoring, AI-enabled systems and solutions are driving operational excellence and safety. Protecting fatal open-cast accidents on mining sites is made possible with such futuristic systems.
Autonomous Vehicles: Changing the Face of Future Mining Capabilities
Autonomous and remote-controlled vehicles are becoming the new face of the automotive sector. Beyond this, their significance continues to grow across the mining space, wherein, miners would be able to operate vehicles remotely without human intervention. Another significant development witnessed across the mining sector is the deployment of drone solutions for both, surface and underground mining.
Smart Wearable Devices: Promise for Miners’ Safety
Mining safety continues to remain a major concern for mine operators, compelling them to adopt effective tools that can help improve on the safety quotient. The Internet of Things provides a bunch of alternatives in the form of wearable safety technology, including glasses, smart jackets, and helmets to ensure the safety of miners.
Although the smart mining solution market continues to proliferate, certain aspects are likely to impact the market negatively. High expenses associated with deployment technology, unavailability of adequate infrastructure, and lack of skilled labor workforce to run smart technologies are likely to impede market growth.
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Key Strategies for Smart Mining Solution Providers
Strengthen Data & Operation Management Software Portfolio
Data and operation management plays a crucial role in the mining industry, as major emphasis is given to achieving operational efficiency. The integration of mine operations with data and operation management solutions enables workforces to connect with equipment in real time, and perform automated execution, predictive production scheduling, and respond to changes within seconds. With significant demand for such solutions, leading smart mining solution market players strategize to expand this portfolio.
Direct Investments towards Robotic Equipment Development
Optimal performance, reduced operational costs, and greater efficiency in functioning, all associated with the use of robotic equipment, are capturing the attention of miners. Smart mining solution providers are, therefore, ruminating over the profitable avenues associated with robotic trucks, further directing investments towards the development of the same. Robotic or self-driven trucks have been successfully used across regions such as Australia over the past few years, and are presently employed in North America and Latin America.
Explore Opportunities in Marine Mining
There has been a significant rise in interest for extracting deep sea mineral deposits over the past couple of years. This is attributed to the depletion of the terrestrial deposits of metals. Moreover, the increasing demand for metals for the production of electronic devices and green technologies has resulted in the rise in marine mining activities. As smart mining solutions ease processes across deep-sea mining, resulting in lower environmental impact, significant opportunities are witnessed for smart mining solution market competitors.
Mapping the Competitive Landscape
In March 2019, ABB launched a digital portfolio – ABB Ability MineOptimize. This system has digitalization at its core, and connects all automation, electrification, and digital offerings to optimize all the processes, ranging from designing and building to operation and services in any underground or open-pit mine and minerals processing plant.
In 2018, Hexagon’s mining division acquired Guardvant, a provider of integrated safety solutions for the mining sector. This acquisition strengthens Hexagon’s safety portfolio.
In July 2018, Newmont Mining Corporation and Caterpillar entered into a collaboration agreement to improve automation technology for underground hard rock mining vehicles. The collaboration aims at enhancing the existing technology, and accelerate the validation and deployment of new features.
The smart mining solution market consists of several established players, with a high concentration of small- and medium-sized players. Technology or service providers operating in the smart mining solution market comprise companies engaged in developing hardware and software solutions and services for the mining industry. The pricing of products and services or brand image and technological processes of manufacturers play a vital role in the smart mining solution market. Collaborations between mining companies and smart mining solution providers are majorly witnessed. Apart from this, companies continue to focus on incorporating cutting-edge technology in their offerings.
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