The mining, quarrying, and tunneling industry have suffered a fair amount in the past few decades. With resources scarce and an increasing need to adapt to environmental regulations, it’s harder than ever to turn a profit. However, wherever there are industry problems, there are always new technologies. We’re going to take a look at some of the emerging tech that is helping the industry be safer, cheaper, and reduce environmental disruption.
The mining and quarrying industry has long been known as a dangerous business to be in. Thankfully, this country is a lot more progressive when it comes to safety for its employees than other nations.
That said, any death or injury is one too many – which is why there has been so much investment in safety equipment. Robotic continuous mining systems are now in use, meaning fewer miners need to go underground. Instead, they operate the robots from a safe distance, far above the action.
Even seemingly minor improvements to tools like rod handlers and rod presenters are seeing a positive impact on safety. Workers are less likely to lose a hand while using the equipment. It means fewer accident payouts for mining and quarrying companies.
The sheer cost of starting a new mine or quarry somewhere in the States is no secret. It’s incredibly expensive. Not only do business owners have to buy or lease land, they have to invest heavily in equipment such as drills and other extraction gear. Once the raw materials are out, owners need to process it, so need to look around for a rock crusher for sale and screening equipment. Then there’s the transportation – which can involve buying an enormous fleet of trucks.
Given the startup costs are so immense, owners are being forced to look elsewhere to make savings. And the answers lie in some surprising places. Some mining companies have started generating electricity on-site with wind turbines.
Others have begun to use driverless trucks and automated drills to cut back on their wage bills. And, some are even using high-tech ventilation systems to reduce energy costs by up to $2.5 million every year.
The environment is also benefiting from new technology in the mining industry. It’s no surprise that this is an area worth exploring for mine and quarry owners. They are under an increasing amount of pressure to fulfill their environmental obligations and costs can be huge.
Current innovations are changing the game, however. We have already mentioned the wind turbines, but there are also advancements in other areas. In fact, social and environmental responsibility is becoming central to strategy. Technology allows companies to repair, reuse and recycle raw materials that would otherwise end up in landfill.
Waste metals are being transformed into alternative energy technology such as hybrid cars. And, there is a serious thought that mining companies will start to partner with major tech companies such as Apple and Tesla. The idea is to position themselves as central to a sustainable, global system.
So, the mining, tunneling and quarrying industry is clearly keen to shake off its current image. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Main Image: Public.Resource.Org