Forum | Tomorrow’s mining: Innovating to improve the way we mine

In partnership with Surface Mining Equipment Owners Group (SMEOG) and the Surface Mining Society of CIM

What does it take to open mindsets to embrace innovation and alternative solutions in mining? How do we ensure our workforce (now and tomorrow) is the best it can be? Why do we allow for even one person to not feel safe in our industry?

To achieve the global vision of a safe, sustainable and productive mining industry of tomorrow will require a cultural shift across the industry – safety culture, innovation culture, change management, diversity and inclusion and more. Culture is the core element that will define success.

This forum will delve into the industry’s top priority areas common to most mining operations today, through the lenses of operations, maintenance and safety. We will hear case studies and demonstrations from innovators, implementers and operators, peers will share experiences and expertise to define opportunities, and together we look across and outside the mining industry for new ways to better how we mine.

Topics covered will include:

  • Autonomous mining
  • Operational best practices
  • GHG emissions reduction – the road to net zero
  • Integration, interoperability and data management

Program Themes

The road to net zero

To meet our industry’s decarbonization targets will require broad collaboration to accelerate technology development, share implementation practices and develop not only the net zero mine of the future, but the bridging technologies and processes to meet shorter term commitments. From redesigning the mining fleet to redefining mining processes and energy sources, this segment of the program will include presentations and a panel from operators, innovators and organizations spearheading collaborative solution development. An interactive session will aim to prioritize focuses and define steps to meet critical requirements to enable GHG reductions at the pace and scale to meet targets.

Key considerations:

  • Bridging and transitional technologies: continuous mining methods, smaller vehicles, trolley-assist systems, biofuels, efficiency optimization technologies
  • Electrification: battery management, mine design, long-term planning
  • Clean energy management: energy sources across the value chain, alternative energy options for mines off the power grid
  • Clear methods of accounting for emissions;


Autonomous solutions for increased safety, productivity and efficiency

Continuing to advance the mining industry’s ability to deploy autonomous mining solutions remains an industry priority to increase safety and operational excellence. Building on successful deployments and the knowledge and expertise developed, and considering emerging options, the opportunities to rethink how we mine require not only innovation and technology development, but also a foundation of clear standards, good practices, and collaboration. This session will include a panel of experts to discuss the path forward to the next level of autonomous mining, presentations from leading innovators as well as a consideration of how to address the skills challengel

Key topics include:

  • Challenges: integration of data from multiple sensors, design adjustments, integration of collision avoidance and decision support systems, workforce changes
  • Opportunities: improvements in safety systems and human-systems integration, incremental adoption pathwards
  • Key considerations: safety systems, human factors and alarms, productivity and performance, data management


Data management

As technology capability grows and new solutions are developed to help mines become safer, more productive, more sustainable, and more efficient, there is a growing interest in using advanced systems and analytics, but it is essential to be ready for it. Many operations are not yet at a high enough maturity level to successfully adopt them. This segment of the program will demonstrate some of the new options and capabilities that can now be deployed as well as the major challenges and requirements that must be addressed.

Presentations and a panel discussion will bring industry leaders together to share their expertise and success stories, to be joined by the participants in an interactive session to leverage broad experience and define a path forward.

Key topics include:

  • Standardization and common language: improved integration and reduced need for translation; adoption of advanced systems; improved internal communication. Key considerations: change management and existing standards
  • Integration and multiple vendors: distributed responsibility, cross-functional IoT data, autonomous systems, human factors
  • Data integration and management: integration of data from diverse sensors and sources, reliability including latency, processing, storage and access, and human factors and responsibility
  • Data quality, reliability and management: reliability and veracity, architectures, feedback mechanisms, granularity and retention, latency, access, data-driven decision making and readiness for advanced systems
  • Unlocking value from existing data and using the insights for decision-making is a key challenge, especially scaling platforms to target the right areas..
  • People, safety, education and skills: fundamental training, regional variation, IT-OT challenges, skills shortages, becoming more connected to exacerbate challenges associated with operational silos, and education and training



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