Originally posted on February 13, 2020 @ 6:44 pm
Like any other profession, mining develops as time goes on. Now, we’re not just speaking about technology. In fact, mining has been a close bedfellow with tech since the moment mankind started using iron and smelters. Now, there are other areas and trends that are springing up. Read on to find out the five most important trends that can be found in the mining industry right now.
Geopolitics and Mining
There is no escaping politics, wherever you go. In this day and age, it’s harder than ever for any industry to navigate the political and global landscape. Globalization is becoming a stronger factor with each and every passing day, and, for both good and bad, mining needs to adapt accordingly.
So, on a micro level, you need to take care of your people, to motivate your staff, to navigate the regular pitfalls of running a business. However, on a macro level, you need to stay close and to follow regulations, to always keep an eye out for a new law or a new act. Tariffs, laws, rules, these are all being made in accordance, and connected to, the countries and nations. Trade wars, import restrictions, bans, blockades, this all leads to influencing prices and in general how you do things.
So, the trend here is not as clear. It’s more like a cavalcade, a collection of trends that are influencing your work. If there were one specific trend, it’s the increased rate of changes. So, keep your ear to the ground, follow international politics (for your specific area of expertise) as much as you can.
It’s clear that fossil fuels have changed the world. They made our lives easier, they improved our living standards, and have brought much good to the world. However, they have also lead to the destruction of the environment. The new thing now is going green, a trend where you minimize the impact you have on the environment. This can mean a couple of things.
Mostly, stick to the right regulations. Get tucks that operate on electricity or hydrogen, recycle as much as you can, be aware of how you deal with waste. Also, think about the equipment you use.
Getting good gear goes a long way as well. For example, getting Belle Banne conveyor belt equipment is much better than an unknown brand made from the finest chinesium. High-quality gear is greener, i.e. wastes less fuel, and causes less pollution. Honestly, the trend here is that you will most likely have to pay certain fines depending on whether you fulfil environmental requirements. Of course, these depend on where you operate.
Mining and Communities
Communities have been blessed and hindered in equal measure by mining sites. They gave them jobs, improved the economy of an entire town, and in general lead to economic prosperity for certain areas. However, they also have a negative impact on the environment (see above) and did not have the best and most ethical working practices. Understand that this ruined the reputation of many mining companies, and so communities are stricter, they require more lines and certain conditions that need to be fulfilled.
The trend here is that you will need to jump through hoops in order to secure a mining licence in an area. So, of course, keeping your mining employees safe is important, but so is respecting the community. Local opposition to mining has risen, and you need to find a way to speak the language of the locals, otherwise, you won’t be able to operate and do your work properly.
Digitisation and Transparency
Data transparency is expected from every company nowadays. It’s necessary if you want to create a good rapport with your stakeholders. However, with the digitisation of basically every industry in the world, you will most likely start collecting more data, and both consumers and government bodies will require you to be transparent. Figure out what is expected of you in this area, see how transparent you have to be, and actually present yourself as trustworthy – these are all things you consumers and shareholders want.
New Financing Models
As companies advance, and as they try to minimize any risks they face, they will search for new models of financing. This is, however, common for all companies in this day and age. Now, as far as mining is concerned, the collapse of prices caused by the increase in demand from China happened, things weren’t as rosy as they could. Royalty and meat stream agreements have been developed, so they can get the mining companies’ balance sheets in the black again. Some have set up joint ventures and partnered up with oil and gas companies. This both decreased their exposure, made things easier, and in general, gave them some backup. Subsidies, if possible, are also a good choice.
Of course, the new age brings new frontiers with it. High-quality resources are slowly being depleted from areas that are easy to access, and so mining companies need to set their sights somewhere else. This can either mean they should get new and advanced technology that can drill even deeper, and can make scraping the bottom of the barrel useful. You can expect more targeted mining, with more efficacy, and even new techniques. For example, biomining is a new technique where metals are extracted from biological matter, like fungi, or from prokaryotes.
As far as new areas are concerned, deep sea mining and even asteroid processing are becoming an option. Some are of course very real, while others are matters of science fiction (for now, at least). There are many uncharted territories that await mining, all centring on technology.
The mining industry is changing, like every other industry. With the advent of the internet, greater transparency, and globalization in general, much more is expected of you. Work on being transparent, try to be as green as possible, and take both the effects of global and local communities into account.