Miners must 'innovate or die': Anglo's O'Neill

Technological innovation is the key to future sustainability for the mining sector, Tony O’Neill, group director technical at Anglo American told delegates during his keynote speech at the 5th Current Trends in Mining Finance conference organised by the New York section of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration.

Miners must 'innovate or die': Anglo's O'Neill Miners must 'innovate or die': Anglo's O'Neill Miners must 'innovate or die': Anglo's O'Neill Miners must 'innovate or die': Anglo's O'Neill Miners must 'innovate or die': Anglo's O'Neill

A robot swarm: Miners of the future? Image: Wyss Institute at Harvard University

“Mining is on the cusp of a technological revolution that will fundamentally change our industry,” he said, adding that, “it will be a perquisite for the mining industry to continue to thrive.”

O'Neill said miners needed to put aside their traditional conservatism and reluctance to adopt new, unproven technologies as, “tomorrow's winners will be today’s pioneers. Those that do not implement innovation will struggle to survive”.

Anglo American is clearly looking to be in the winners’ enclosure tomorrow by researching technologies and innovations that have the potential to move or tilt the cost curve, such as microwave and laser preconditioning of rock, and non-explosive fragmentation.

A key focus...