How Technology is Shaping a Safe and Sustainable Mining Culture
Over the years, industries around the globe have placed a fundamental importance on worker safety and sustainability; and technology provides a powerful asset to assist companies in achieving those goals. The mining industry in particular has begun to benefit from the positive impacts that various technologies are able to provide – such as integrated and feature-rich software solutions like Gensuite, robots, machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoT), and automated mining equipment.
Because of the harsh conditions and often dangerous nature of work within the mining sector, facilities must take full advantage of recent technology advances to drive the highest standards of health and safety for its workforce. Technology is able to streamline and support how organizations can reach their Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) and Sustainability efforts, in addition to maintaining the appropriate regulatory standards.
The future of mining
The mining industry continues to be of utmost importance, as much of the world continues to rely heavily on the resources in which they provide. But the landscape is rapidly changing.
According to BDO’s Energy 2020 Vision: The Near Future of Mining report it’s been estimated that by this year, approximately a quarter of the world’s electricity generation will be coming from renewable energy sources. The world is shifting away from the use of traditional fossil fuels, such as coal, for energy as a means of reducing harmful pollution. There is also an increasing pressure on operations and EHS managers to significantly improve the health and safety performance of their organization in the ongoing quest to minimize and avoid accidents and other adverse outcomes. So, what does that mean for EHS technology in the mining sector?
Improving production and safety protocols through the Internet of Things
In the same BDO report, it is also predicted that the IoT will become a common aspect of day to day mining operations. Increasing safety, decreasing production and other operating costs, as well as boosting productivity are some of the beneficial outcomes that will be achieved by companies implementing integrated IoT devices. In fact, BDO predicts that because of these newly automated methodologies, global mining companies will see their per ton digging costs begin to decrease by more than thirty per cent.
This technology is also having an important impact on EHS management. Tasks are more commonly becoming digitized and automated, including drilling and driving equipment, which decreases the risk of human error and/or injury, as well as streamlines these mining processes. In addition, integrated IoT devices, such as wearable sensors and beacons, are becoming powerful tools for health and safety managers. The devices also provide critical health and safety information, such as the location of equipment and people, ambient conditions, access to geo-tagged reference documents, and training and guidance material in order to improve operational efficiency, empower workers with full information, and support emergency response.
The cost of upgrading legacy systems to support mining operations
With the increase of automation and integration of mining and operational equipment, it is also critical that the systems that support them are up to date. Deloitte Global Mining predicts that this will be a key trend for mining firms over short to medium term. Any organization running an outdated ERP system, mining software, servers and other network infrastructure is exposing itself to significant risk relating to efficiency, worker safety, and security.
The traditional software licensing model includes a number of costs and risks for organizations. Outdated systems present “end of life / end of support” risks, typically meaning security patches, integrations, and that current technology standards are no longer available. An ongoing investment in new versions is required, along with associated costs in upgrades, retraining, disruption to workflows, and upgraded hardware. In addition, legacy systems can struggle to maintain compatibility with emerging technologies and provide a weak security link or vulnerability for the enterprise technology landscape.
Because of this, many organizations are adopting Software-as-a-Service solutions, supported by Cloud hosting. This avoids the upfront hardware capital and ongoing support and maintenance expenditure and upfront licensing costs. This also allows close alignment of platform costs with actual usage and avoids being committed to unnecessary expenditure.
Cloud SaaS solutions also outsource the need for ongoing investment and maintenance of specialized software. The provider, a specialist in the discipline, manages these aspects, allowing the organization to focus on its core business. This allows the service provider to remain at the forefront of technology, and ensure its clients have access to an evolving solution reflecting current standards. At Gensuite, this means investment in R&D provides clients with best practice workflows, continuous improvement based on collective industry knowledge, and access to emerging technologies to trial, test, and safely deploy.
Ensuring sustainability in the Canadian mining industry
The significant measures taken to maintain an economically and environmentally-friendly approach to material and energy sourcing makes Canada a leader in responsible and sustainable mining. According to the Mining Association of Canada, improvement of land reclamation and reducing the environmental footprint throughout the mining lifecycle, from exploration to mine closure, has been a key priority in the Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) initiative. This initiative also mandates that in various protocols, mining companies must publicly report their performance and management of greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity conservation, tailings, as well as energy use.
Software solutions like Gensuite allow organizations to manage all aspects of their responsible sourcing and environmental compliance programs so that leadership can focus on their core competencies. Powerful dashboards allow supervisors and key stakeholders to assign compliance tasks, consolidate permit conditions and requirements, as well as review trends and gather insights on performance through automated reporting capabilities. Incorporate environmental and social responsibility into your supply chain management plan to create a more sustainable business and future.
Gensuite is a leading cloud-based software provider that enables companies to implement robust cross-functional compliance & management systems across diverse industries worldwide. Our comprehensive and fully-configurable software suite features intuitive, best-practice process functionality, integrated extensions, and powerful reporting capabilities.
For over two decades, we’ve helped companies manage safe & sustainable operations across the globe, with a focus on fast return on investment (ROI), service excellence and continuous innovation. Join over 1,000,000 users that trust Gensuite with their compliance and EHS&S software system needs.