TECHNOLOGY

Axora: Disconnects hobbling mining's digitalisation

Tensions between corporate and site-level teams, capex concerns and cybersecurity fears are hindering a deeper digital transformation in mining, at a time when it's becoming critical to miners' survival, according to a new report by technology marketplace Axora.

Mining's skills gap is impacting its future

Mining's skills gap is impacting its future

Research commissioned by Axora found that 82% of respondents believed tensions between corporate and site-level teams were hindering innovation progress, while the proportion of respondents saying that "the cost of a technology investment is more important than the value it delivers" rose from 24% in 2021 to 34% in 2022.

Other obstacles hindering the adoption of digital transformation technologies, included:

  • cybersecurity concerns (referenced by 44% of respondents)
  • lack of vision into the potential for digital solutions (41% of respondents, up from 31% in 2021)
  • lack of market knowledge in new solutions (also 41% of respondents, up from 33% in 2021)
  • slow decision-making by senior management (cited by 31% of respondents) 

 

In addition, just 60% of the budgets allocated to digital/technology transformation actually ends up being spent on it, found Axora's Innovation Forecast 2022/23: Digital Transformation in Mining.

Ritz Steytler, CEO of Axora, said: "Without control of the price received for their product, or of many of the costs associated with production, many of mining's digital transformation initiatives seem to be linked by the idea of improving control - or at worst, ‘management' - of the factors they can influence: certain costs, safety, productivity, efficiency, people. Such an analysis certainly makes sense, given our respondents' overwhelming agreement that the success of their digital transformation efforts is critical to the survival of their business. 

"Yet despite that ‘survival' imperative, respondents made it clear that they are having to deal with a variety of obstacles - including obstacles that one might have thought would have been successfully addressed or eliminated by now," he added. 

Joe Carr, Director of Innovation at Axora, said: "Many of the obstacles to digital transformation cited by our respondents are rooted in the skills gap; it's well-known that the entire sector finds it difficult to attract and retain the ‘technology talent' it needs. This is, then, an awkward time for the mining companies: the need to digitally transform is only going to become more urgent - in order, as our respondents say, for mining businesses to thrive and survive."

Increasing productivity remains the top driver for the many technology deployments that are taking place; productivity was also the most common benefit seen from deploying new technologies (66% of respondents). Productivity improvements are being achieved through a wide variety of technologies: from autonomous vehicle projects, to the application of machine learning/AI to problems, to reducing accidents, to improving training.

The full report is available here.

 

 

 

 

 

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