IoT and Futureproofing Your Mine

IoT and Futureproofing Your Mine
Illustration: © IoT For All

IoT and Mining

The mining industry presents a unique set of challenges. Mining is a high-risk, capital-intensive business that requires constant monitoring of assets, processes, and actors to ensure safety and operational efficiency. Innovative IoT solutions are key to helping mining companies meet the increased demand for commodities while reducing operational costs and risks.  

You can future-proof your mining operation through a system of interconnected devices and sensors that can be retrofitted onto existing machinery and “things” to collect and share data which can be used to improve safety and efficiency in mining operations. This data can be used to make real-time decisions about when to shut down operations or make in-flight changes and gives mine decision-makers, operators, and owners the insight and means to improve planning and gain control of their mining operations, from anywhere in the world.

Bypassing Human Error with IoT  

The mining sector still relies on multiple manual and paper-based systems for entry. Manual data entry means an increased risk of human error. By implementing IoT to replace manual data capture, such as system-to-machine communication, and using advanced analytics on the data created, mining companies improve operational efficiency and reduce the risk of human error. 

ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) Tracking  

Beyond operational efficiency, IoT solutions can also help reduce regulatory risk. For example, when it comes to environmental compliance in the mining sector, there is a lot of focus on carbon emissions, utility usage such as water and power usage, and the water quality and impact on the biological ecosystem. IoT solutions can help monitor such parameters and more to ensure compliance reporting is based on actual data, provide alerts to ESG systems, and notify key stakeholders of any potential risk.

Real-time Asset Tracking 

Running large fleets of heavy-duty equipment that are used to transport commodities offers multiple challenges. This equipment typically includes heavy-duty haul trucks, loaders, excavators, and front-end shovels. To ensure safe operation, the equipment needs to be regularly inspected by trained professionals who follow a strict set of guidelines. If a piece of equipment is considered unsafe, it needs to be taken out of service until it can be repaired.

In addition to maintenance and inspection, mining companies need to be able to track their equipment in real-time to prevent theft and ensure safe operation. This requires people to input information into spreadsheets and databases, which can lead to errors.  To track this equipment, mining companies often use asset tags, which are manually entered into an asset tracker. The asset tracker is usually connected to a database and spreadsheet, which increases the risk of human error.

Digital Twins – A Step Into the Digital Age 

Mines can use Digital Twins to gain better insight into the data available about their operations, including the status of equipment and infrastructure. Stakeholders can receive clear, visualized information that allows for data-driven decision-making, removing the inefficiency of manual inspections and troubleshooting. With digital twins, people can set alert automation workflows for triggers that they define — for example, people can receive a notification when a vehicle is started out of its planned shift. This, and more, all through a single screen.  

Smart Mining Equipment – IoT and Mining

As mining companies are increasingly adopting IoT solutions, equipment is becoming more connected. This allows companies to gather valuable insights into the operational health of their equipment and make informed decisions about preventative maintenance and repairs. This also helps monitor the operational status of their equipment in real-time to ensure safe operation, prevent unplanned downtime, and meet regulatory compliance requirements.  

Continuous Process Improvement

Mining operations are often complex and involve many workers and various heavy-duty machines. There are a few ways in which IoT can help improve the mining process and overall operations:

Predictive Maintenance

Mining companies can use IoT solutions to monitor and analyze equipment data to forecast when certain pieces of equipment will require maintenance. This helps prevent unplanned downtime and repair costs.

Visibility into Operational Data

Gain better visibility and insights into operational data such as the flow of materials, human resource activities, and equipment utilization. This helps improve operational efficiency and increase productivity through optimized resource utilization.

Real-time Safety and Operational Alerts

Real-time monitoring and alerting enable mining operations to respond to potential problems in real-time to potentially prevent accidents and unplanned downtime.

Mine gold from data 

Operational data insight is gold and through it, you will be able to achieve a more sustainable, efficient, and safe mine, thus future-proofing your mining operations.  

Advanced solutions powered by the internet of things, digital twins, and machine learning.
Advanced solutions powered by the internet of things, digital twins, and machine learning.