Despite all the talk about automation and innovation, a modern day mining operation looks very much like a mine did 50 years ago. Admitted, everything is bigger, but fundamentally we have seen big shovels load dirt into large trucks for many decades. The mining technology has not evolved rapidly, and very few step change improvements have been realised in mine operations. Is the mining industry this conservative?
In order to understand what solutions to our energy predicament will or won’t work, it is necessary to understand the true nature of our energy predicament.
Economies with natural-resource endowments have a huge opportunity to transform their prospects. But history suggests that they could all too easily squander the windfall.
A finite world means that we eventually run short of easy-to-extract resources of many types, including fossil fuels, uranium, and metals. This doesn’t mean that we will “run out” of these resources. Instead, it means that the extraction process will become more expensive for these fuels and metals, unless technology somehow acts to hold costs down. If extraction costs rise, anything made using these fuels and metals becomes more expensive, assuming businesses selling these products are able to recover their costs.
Mining is one of the core sectors that drive growth in an economy. Not only does it contribute to GDP, it also acts as a catalyst for the growth of other core industries like power, steel, cement, etc., which, in turn, are critical for the overall development of the economy. Our analysis has shown that every one percent increment in the growth rate of mining and quarrying results in 1.2 – 1.4% increment in the growth rate of industrial production and correspondingly, an approximate increment of 0.3 percent in the growth rate of India’s GDP.
New breakthrough science and cost reductions from the world of cleantech/greentech hold promise for making mining more profitable, safer and cleaner. Which new innovations aimed at reducing toxicity in mining, as well as minimizing the need for power and water, are best positioned to succeed? Which green mining technology companies will win and which will lose? How can existing players manage risk in the face of new innovation?
This German mining region is being made into a vacation destination with beaches and marinas