A recent survey by the World Economic Forum found that 82% of executives in the mining industry plan to increase investments in digital technology within the next three years, and nearly a third (28%) expect those contributions to be significant.
This widespread commitment to data visualization, cybersecurity, robotics, and automation will have profound implications for what is a 402-billion-dollar industry.
It is very likely that organizations who move swiftly to adopt and implement these new technologies will emerge as market leaders with significantly reduced costs and overhead.
The same report found that early adopters may see an EBITA difference of nearly 70% compared to their laggard counterparts.
This stark contrast can be attributed to vast increases in operational efficiency. Companies that embrace robotics and automation will lower administrative costs, prolong equipment life, and be able to make better on the scene decisions.
There is also an increase in productivity associated with technologies like Robotic Process Automation (RPA).
RPA takes many of the repetitive tasks that are associated with a large knowledge workforce and mimic these activities through software to free up human counterparts for more creative and important work.
Mckinsey reports that one company saw a nearly 200% ROI from the RPA efforts, in the first year. Savings like this are leading many businesses to combine their IT and OT departments. These integrations will allow for unprecedented synergies in the field and at headquarters.
Over 23% of respondents in the Accenture Digital Technology in Mining Survey 2016 also reported that their organization has widespread adoption of robotic technology, and another 29% are in the pilot phase.
These means that physical robots will soon be an integral part of mining operations for the majority of industry leaders.
There will continue to be seismic shifts in the mining industry and many companies that are late to adopt will find themselves on the wrong end of a zero sum game.
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