Australia to lead technological integration in mining – report

Autonomous truck at the Solomon Hub. (Image courtesy of Fortescue Metals Group)

The Asia mining landscape has faced a challenging outlook in 2020 with the covid-19 pandemic casting a shadow on mineral production growth as operations slow and metal prices disappointed, but Fitch Solutions says in its latest industry report it expects the worst to be over.

The analyst’s 2021 mineral production outlook for most countries in Asia show recovery compared to 2020, and in the long term, Fitch says Asia will continue to benefit from the availability of high-grade resources and low labour costs, although key countries will grapple with policy uncertainty, resource nationalism and environmental protection.

While in 2020, most miners have focused on operational safety and the health of their employees through minimising risks of covid-19 spread in their mines, Fitch believes miners will once again focus on improving efficiency and cutting costs through technological integration once the pandemic clears in late 2021.

“Australia will spearhead the global race to utilise technology in order to cut costs, enhance efficiency and increase mine safety”

Fitch Solutions

Fitch’s outlook for Australian mineral production remains positive in 2021 as was in 2020 as major miners including BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group faced no disruption as a result of covid-19. In Western Australia, mining employees have been exempted from travel restrictions so as to ensure smooth operations for miners.

Australia will spearhead the global as well as Asian miners’ race to utilise technology in order to cut costs, enhance efficiency and increase mine safety due to the country’s availability of strong network connectivity, power, highly skilled labour and government support, Fitch predicts.

The mining landscape is in the age of technological disruption today, where players are at the crossroads between a traditional past and a transformative future that is sustainable. Starting from cloud computing to new sensors, drones to ever more automation, and now the rise of machine learning and artificial intelligence, state-of-the-art mines have all the latest technological innovations embedded in their operations.

Read the full report here.

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