Efficiencies delivered with new technology can protect mining jobs
The new technologies unfolding in the 4th industrial revolution can drive the advancement of one of the oldest industries in South Africa - mining - and make a critical contribution to improved efficiency which, in turn, will protect jobs in this very labour intensive sector.
"Using an IOT technology platform provides mines with an interoperable data platform that can use legacy and non-legacy equipment to drive systems efficiency. This leads to the improved overall efficiency of a mine, reducing operational costs, increasing operating margins and profitability -ultimately protecting jobs and the lifespan of a mining operation," says Eric Croeser, IOT.nxt Director of Partnerships: Mining.
IOT.nxt is partnering with global consulting powerhouse Deloitte and in association with enterprise resource planning company MineRP to introduce its strategies and innovative technologies for the mining industry at the African Mining Indaba, the world's biggest annual mining business event, to be hosted in Cape Town from 5 February 2018.
"Digitalisation is one of the key themes of the 2018 Mining Indaba as the industry looks at new and innovative ways to improve its operations and ultimately profitability. Despite massive job losses in 2017 the mining industry remains a large employer in SA and continues to make a notable contribution to GDP," Croeser says.
IOT.nxt and Deloitte will set up a live mining operation at Deloitte's Greenhouse in Cape Town during the Indaba to provide actual demonstrations of how IOT technology is implemented across an entire mine. "A shift manager manages four inputs - people, materials, work areas and machines. Previously responses to changes in any of these four key elements were reactive. Using IOT strategies and solutions makes it possible to be pro-active and assess and adapt as situations change. This makes the entire operation more efficient and mine management have information and data available in real time. This shortens the timing of data aggregation and data orchestration," says Croeser.
A concern for mining companies - and most other industries considering the introduction of new technology - is whether existing, legacy systems and machines can be integrated into a new platform. "IOT.nxt's innovation has made interoperability possible which means it is not necessary to replace older technology, delivering significant business value," Croeser added.
"Many mines in SA are some of the oldest in the world and have particular challenges as many operate deep underground. Not only will the use of new technology make even the older mines more efficient it will also improve safety, which remains a major concern," he says.