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AI and ESG compliance trends in the global mining industry

Automation and digitilization are transforming the sector, making it more efficient and sustainable.

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The Evolution of Mining

The mining industry is evolving rapidly as technology plays an increasingly important role. Automation and digitilization are transforming the sector, making it more efficient and sustainable. At the same time, labour shortages are becoming a major challenge, and companies are under pressure to improve their ESG performance. In this blog, we explore these key trends and their implications for the future of mining.

Embracing technology

The mining industry is rapidly adopting new technologies to increase efficiency and sustainability. According to the International Energy Agency, the annual demand for critical minerals from clean energy technologies will exceed $4 trillion by 2050. Robotics and semi-autonomous equipment are taking humans out of mines, and autonomous vehicles are allowing humans to communicate with and control machinery remotely. These advances are made possible by technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, which enable machines to learn from data and make decisions independently. Automation and robotics are also helping to reduce waste and improve safety in mines. The mining industry is thus poised for a digital transformation that will increase its efficiency and sustainability. Recent relevant event: ABB collaborated with a zinc mine in Kazakhstan to commission water-cooling towers using Microsoft HoloLens headsets, allowing ABB's team of experts in Spain to collaborate in real time with the client and access hands-free data on field assets.

The Labor market

Reuter reports that environmental groups have filed legal challenges against Lithium Americas Corp.'s Thacker Pass project in the United States, and Ioneer Ltd.'s Rhyolite Ridge mine has been hampered by lengthy environmental reviews and regulatory disputes. The mining industry is one that is constantly facing regulatory disputes and worker rights issues. The demands of the labour market in this industry are increasing, as workers need to be able to navigate the complex regulatory landscape and protect their rights. With the mining industry coming under the fire due to lack of favourable labour policies and intenesly competitive labour market, companies are pulling up their socks trying to be community-centred, working with local population to ensure that they are benefitting from the presence of the mine. In 2019-2020, of the 69 mines responding, 48 increased wages by an average of 2.1%, ranging from 1.0% to 4.0%.  

ESG compliance

With the Paris agreement and the recent COP 27 meeting in El Sheikh, Egypt, consensus among countries to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C, there is a huge shift for companies to become sustainable and cut down on emissions. Mining industry accounts for approximately 4-7% of greenhouse gas emissions. Investors and external stakeholders want their companies to focus on ESG and invest more in reducing GHG emissions which is now seen by these companies incorporating ESG reports in their annual filings. Many of the world's largest mining companies, including Vale and Glencore, have pledged that their mining operations will have net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. To remain competitive and relevant in changing times, businesses are increasingly incorporating sustainable policies into their operations. The  biggest problem right now is that there is no established framework for ESG reporting

The most notable impediment to sustainability is that mining industry still lacks automation tools that can help them leverage technology to reduce their carbon footprint. This is where Ceco comes in. Ceco provides insights into the company's operations using geo spatial technology and information gathered from thousands of other mines, suggesting ways to reduce their carbon footprint and become more efficient by integrating the findings using AI and IoT.

Taher Ankleshwaria
Verified writer

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