While Congo uses children as young as 4 years in the cobalt mining operation we have the 4th Industrial revolution clicking its heels in the doorstep of the Mining industry. AI, Machine Learning and Robots are all put it work. This is to make sure that mining companies hit high level of efficiency and productivity to maintain profitability. It is said even marginal improvement I yields, speed and efficiency leaves a great impact.
Mining is primarily the bedrock of any industrial activity yet it does not get the attention it deserves. In fact its always under attack. All its innovation goes by un noticed. For the past 10 years the British/Australian mining company Rio Tinto started to use fully autonomous haul trucks. Now are are getting ready for further innovation by creating smart and intelligent mining operations.
Look at the scope of Rio Tintos operations. It has 16 mins and a 1500 km rail network, and has 3 or more ports and above all it generates 2.4 terabytes of data every minute which gets captured rom all its mobile equipment, sensors and so on. This has helped them to integrate operations particularly the processing and logistics system that gets controlled by operators sitting from a remote site.
Data provided by google maps on terrain and other physical data is being used to effectively by Artificial Intelligence and machine learning can help mining companies locate the minerals for extraction, this is also called smart mining. More and more companies are warming up and are excited by the efficiencies these new technologies provide. It is learnt that companies like Goldspot Discoveries Inc.is moving towards using search of gold more of a science rather than art by using machine learning methods. Goldcorp and IBM Watson have come together to use AI and using all the geological data available to locate ideal drilling locations for gold. This will certainly drive profits for miners.
Self propelled vehicles and drillers
What if we say that companies that are into autonomous driving perhaps got the idea from the mining companies who have already been using this technology in trucks. These autonomous trucks are also driving profits to mining companies. Autonmous vehicles in a mining site may not be that complex as a car in the road. It is likely that the rain system will go autonomous this year. Companies like Rio Tinto have used autonomous drilling system for many years.