Australian mining technology investment to grow

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A new survey is forecasting a growth in equipment related technology by Australian miners in the next two years.

The latest Timetric Mining Intelligence Centre survey predicts a boom in safety, maintenance, and productivity related technology.

“A substantial share of Australian mines have already invested in environmental monitoring, fleet management and predictive maintenance technologies, with tyre monitoring, collision avoidance and remote control/machine automation to be the key areas for future investment,” Timetric stated.

The group surveyed 100 mine managers and other decision makers across operating Australian mines late last year, asking respondents to identify which of 12 different mine site technologies they have invested, and will invest, into.

These technologies included fleet management, environmental monitoring, energy management, and collision avoidance technology, as well as drones and wearable technology.

“The results show the highest share of respondents (88 per cent) have invested in environmental management technologies, followed by an assembly of technologies focused around the vehicles and mobile equipment on a mine site,” Timetric said.

“Five other technologies in which more than 80 per cent of respondents' have invested are fleet management (85 per cent), predictive maintenance (85 per cent), tyre monitoring (83 per cent), scheduling and shift optimisation (81 per cent) and collision avoidance technologies (80 per cent).”

The respondents also pointed to a greater focus in vehicle technology.

“Over the coming two years, significant shares of those yet to invest are expected to make investments in tyre monitoring (53 per cent of those yet to invest), collision avoidance and proximity detection (50 per cent), and remote control and machine automation technologies with 48 per cent,” Timetric said.

“In total over the next two years, 92 per cent of mines are expected to have tyre monitoring technology implemented, some 90 per cent will have collision avoidance technologies and 77 per cent will have implemented remote control and machine automation on site.”

Commenting on the results, Timetric senior analyst, Nez Guevara, said “the results show the Australian mining industry recognises environmental accountability, social responsibility and commercial success are not inseparable.

“Monitoring the sustainability of a mine operation covers its entire life cycle, from exploration and feasibility, to decommissioning and closure.

“The speed at which companies can adapt to become more efficient is crucial for success in an industry that now maintains a tight grip on capital and operational expenses. This is more of a necessity at present, as low commodity prices affect the industry globally,” he said.

“Improvements in technology can change the way companies view mineral deposits, improve operational safety and manage overall costs.”