The need for industries to increase uptake of sustainable technologies will be among the many challenges addressed by industry leaders and innovators at the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) in Sydney this November.
According to key players in Mining Equipment, Technology and Services (METS), who will be speaking at the forum, a greener future will require more mining than ever before, meaning collaboration and the adoption of new technologies across the industry’s entire value chain is no longer an option, but a necessity.
AspenTech vice president Jeannette McGill said not being at the cutting edge of available technology can be risky for mining companies.
“Technology is mandatory as it underwrites the future for mines, especially the ones mining lower grade metals. It’s these technologies that are going to allow us to mine and process more efficiently and allow us to have less impact on the environment,” she said.
“We can be more robust in how we push out the technologies into the market but the constraints are around a skills base to absorb it, but also the adoption of technologies doesn’t come without a cost.”
I4 Mining by Rayven chief commercial officer Paul Berkovic said that while initially some technologies were hard to adopt, they would eventually have an extremely significant impact on productivity, safety and in meeting demand for critical minerals vital to future energy solutions, including solar panels and wind farms.
“Competitively, it will be unavoidable, but there will also be huge environmental benefits to the adoption of this technology which consumers should understand because mining is not going anywhere. It’s a really important part of our economy but we need to make it a more friendly part of the economy than it currently is perceived as,” he said.
Ethically conscious consumers are one of the major driving forces behind the mining sector’s transition, according to METS Ignited general manager Kylah Morrison, who said they were more influential on the industry than ever before, because of the pressure they put on end user manufacturers.
“You’re seeing a lot of those end users which maybe had two or three steps before the raw materials got to them, starting to have to take responsibility for what those interim steps are and make them more secure, so we’re seeing miners have a more direct relationships with end users,” she said.
“Fortunately, with data and computing power, we can offer that transparency. Apple, for example, could say to the consumer who’s purchasing an iPhone or an iPad, we know for sure that we we’re providing a carbon neutral or carbon low carbon product.”
IMARC conference director Sherene Asnasyous said with such a diverse cross section of the mining and resources industry attending, the event was a unique opportunity for collaboration to address evolving challenges such as this.
“IMARC will shine a spotlight on the role the METS sector is taking in driving the global energy transition, how it is bringing innovation to the exploration and development of new future-facing resources, and how it is helping balance the needs of the developed and the developing world, as well as local communities and environments, in the resource transition,” she said.