Digging for Innovation
Comments from Pulse Mining’s Ash Bosworth have been featured in a new article from Cisco on innovation in the mining sector.
Faced with a global industry downturn over the past few years, mining firms have been working to make their operations more cost effective. In many cases, automation and data analysis are helping to streamline their operations and cut costs.
A new article from Cisco highlights some of the factors in shifting miners towards embracing innovation to deliver improved business results.
"The merging of IT and operational technology is perhaps the biggest opportunity for innovation and productivity improvement within the mining industry," says Ash, "…much is already being done in this space".
For instance, developments range from the high-end like autonomous vehicles and remotely located operations facilities, to improvements to behind-the-scenes corporate technologies such as enterprise resource planning systems.
Ash goes on to elaborate, "Mining has specific challenges arising from temperature extremes, dust, lack of connectivity, underground locations, proximity to explosive and dangerous substances, and other environmental considerations which can make networking problematic."
The challenges are not just environmental, either. "Within the mining industry the primary barrier to further innovation stems mainly from an inherently conservative mindset and culture," Ash says.
"The unchanging essence of the industry seems to also manifest itself when it comes to innovation, which is often seen as being more akin to quality improvement than involving any ideas of disruption."
As a result, says Ash: "The notion of 'step change' seems to be understood as incremental change... perhaps along the lines of 'one step at a time', rather than in its true context of being a 'game changer' or a change that is larger than usual."
"One would hope that in the future a far broader appreciation of the power and possibilities of 'disruptive innovation' for the sector will come to the fore, and that an understanding of the potential for innovation will lead to the embedding of [it] in mining culture."