As in any business, workers within the mining industry face their own challenges. There are several things that have drastic effects on shaping mining today and because of that, some companies are under a constraint strain to innovate and drive efficiencies through productivity.
Most importantly, as the carbon footprint of global companies continues to grow, there are many environmental issues that need to be taken into account, and above all, technological improvements in reducing mining’s impact on the environment must be prioritized.
On the economic side of things, many uncertainties lie around mining from scarce resources to commodity prices, and many mining professionals continue to search for ways to be competitive and overcome the challenges ahead. Let’s briefly explore what challenges mining companies face nowadays.
Market Volatility and Volatility of Commodity prices
Chinese economic growth from the early 2000s has boosted global commodities on a scale never before seen and has put the spotlight on resource-intensive manufacturing. Although growth has fluctuated in recent years, it is still at impressive levels and even a small shift in China’s GDP can affect global market sentiment.
These disruptions cause volatility in commodity prices and can force companies around the globe to curb output by making cuts in their workforce and stagnate on projects and operations that were in progress.
Technology and Innovation have become the forefront of the mining industry to date and in the past, it certainly has such recognition. Big data is one such factor in which analyzed data of various mining processes leads to small increments inefficiencies which overall benefits the operational baseline results.
Capturing and using data in real-time means that the mining is now safer, more efficient and more profitable and this is accomplished through various solutions such as the use of IoT, autonomous vehicles, and other digital technologies.
Overcoming Technology and Innovation Barriers
A key strategic approach of mining companies to secure a competitive advantage and protect intellectual property has resulted in limiting the innovation of technology in some areas of the sector. Focusing on short term shareholder gains, a lack of open-source collaboration with other major miners and dogging “unnecessary high start-up costs,” are some of the key factors preventing mining companies from evolving.
The market today certainly doesn’t reward the mentioned behavior and instead demands quick, smart and increasingly adaptive solutions as a competitive way to boost results. According to Bennet Schwartz, a partner of Piper Mulligan, there is a clear barrier preventing many mining businesses from reaching their full potential.
The small number of successful mining companies that continue to grow each day are the innovators, the businesses who continue to think outside the box and challenge the status quo
One of the biggest challenges that mining today faces is the fact that a significant number of existing mines are maturing, whilst our thirst for resources to satisfy global infrastructure demand also increases. The constant search for new resources is paramount, and in such a competitive environment only the truly successful companies survive