The Mining Industry in 2021

The Mining Industry in 2021

Given this past year’s heavy challenges, including COVID-19’s pandemic, the mining industry overcame the obstacles and developed a few trends that are now valuable to a lot of Companies. The unexpected events of 2020 forced a change to develop new strategies to approach the mining sector in different ways. Several trends have been developed by many Companies that were noticeable. In this article, we will have a look at 2 trends and how they helped mining Companies through this year. 

The first trend is Building Resilience and Volatility. With many uncertain events this year, leaders and managers from the mining sector were taught how to be flexible and how to come up with different scenarios for their organization. When doing this, they can anticipate obstacles that might hinder their productivity, which allows to build resilient organizations. This requires a strategic plan that can meet the balance between productivity and maintaining a safe work environment. When this is achieved, Companies can excel quickly while ensuring the health and safety of its workers. 

The second trend is related to more attention attributed to decarbonization. While the pandemic was a big factor, climate change remains an important aspect of the mining industry. This is a critical area as Companies work to meet the environmental obligation associated with their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG). 

Before effectively decarbonizing, mining Companies need to understand the impacts of climate change on their operations by setting a baseline using historical data. Following, Companies can obtain scientific information from organizations such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs), the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), or the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs), to then assess the forecast of their emissions reductions. Finally, when executing operations, mine sites can optimize by adjusting based on the collected data to effectively start decarbonizing. Some examples include innovating with new technologies, obtaining new methods for operation, software, safety, etc. 

Aside from the trends in 2021, the top 2 mining Companies in 2021 by market capitalization are BHP ($179B) and Rio Tinto ($132B). Both mining Companies produce a wide variety of minerals, mainly iron ore and copper. Vale, with a market capitalization of $112B, comes in third after BHP and Rio Tinto.  

Based on the data from 2021, the mining industry is moving towards electrification and using renewables for electricity, to contribute to ESG. Therefore, mining companies should be aware that this shift requires a lot more minerals for lithium batteries and other infrastructure to meet the demand of this change. Hence, it is important to create a balance between moving towards decarbonization and increasing productivity to meet the demand of this shift. 

References: 

The biggest mining companies in the World in 2021. (2021, August 05). Retrieved from https://www.mining.com/web/the-biggest-mining-companies-in-the-world-in-2021/ 

Tracking the trends 2021. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/industry/mining-and-metals/tracking-the-trends.html 

How to Cut a Section Along a Current UCS

How to Cut a Section Along a Current UCS

How to cut a section along a current UCS?

AutoCAD gives you the option to configure a current UCS by clicking and dragging the UCS icon on an object. This is very useful when working with complicated 3D objects with many coordinates in all axes. To do this, type in the command line UCS and place the UCS icon on the desired coordinate. Then, the command will prompt you to select the axes directions for X and Y, which will be used as the main plane on which the section will be cut. Using the 1 Section command (SEC1), make sure to select the option “current UCS” under “Type”. This will essentially tell the program to cut the section along the current UCS, configured previously. For quality check, drawing a large, closed polyline around the cut section on section view. Then, return to plan view and check if the section was cut properly using the closed polyline as reference. 

Episode 8 l Pursuing a Career in Mining in North America

Episode 8 l Pursuing a Career in Mining in North America

✅ In this podcast, we talked about what it’s like to pursue a career in the mining industry and how rewarding it can be. The mining industry can open doors to many other fields and it’s important to know which path to take so that you’re sure to pursue the right career for you and to stay passionate about your work.

This episode had the honor to invite a very special guest:

➡️ Caelen Burand; An ambitious mining engineering and geology student at the University of Arizona Honors College. As a striving polymath enthusiastic about responsible resourcing, Caelen has been working in mineral exploration and mining since the age of 16 in various positions as a mine geologist, entrepreneur, and engineer within diverse organizations like Nevada Gold Mines, Cholla Lapidary, and the Last Chance Mine. With a personal mission to improve the status quo, he leads Mercury Free Mining’s research program mitigating mercury use in artisanal and small-scale mining across the globe. Furthermore, he is developing a novel transdisciplinary student research hub at the Lowell Institute of Mineral Resources and is founder and director of Young Mining Professionals Arizona. In these roles he actively works with diverse teams to enhance young miners and the mining industry. During his free time, Caelen enjoys taking care of his dogs, investigating global politics, learning new disciplines, and exploring the rural, natural world.

Sustainability Challenges in the Mining Industry

Sustainability Challenges in the Mining Industry

Sustainability in mining is the minimization of negative impacts associated with the mining activity that could be caused on the environment, communities, and the economy. It is about engaging with the community to deliver positive outcomes from the society, as well as protection of the environment and enhancing the current and future human needs. 

The mining industry removes and consumes a limited resource (valuable minerals) at a cost to surrounding communities and the environment. The regulation of mining activities often depends on national frameworks and policies, and therefore the application of sustainable principles can become challenging. By recognizing the social impacts of mining, enact laws and regulations, and establish essential community participation, companies could truly shift to a more “sustainable mining”. 

There are different strategies to assess the sustainability of mining operations which include monitoring, measure, and work to improve various environmental performance metrics. Key metrics are represented by the resource consumption, minimizing land disturbance, pollution and closure and reclamation of exhausted mine lands.  

According to the Charter of the UN and principles of international law, all countries exploiting their own resources own the rights to pursue their own environmental policies and they have the responsibility to ensure that activities do not cause damage to the environment of other areas beyond the limits of the jurisdiction. 

The biggest challenges are implementing those existing regulations and the lack of political penalties, especially in developing countries where there is a slower acceptance of engagement towards a greener future.  

Thanks to the technological advances, the benefits of the environmental strategies have increased while reducing the costs associated. Mining companies generate jobs and create economic benefits, thanks to the mine exploration, construction, operation, and maintenance. However, mining companies should consider other elements, such as community development and health. 

More and more mining companies are embracing the opportunity of incorporating innovations into their operations and applying digital tools and technologies, that potentially will reduce the CO2 emissions and benefit in the long term the environment and community. A great example is at Semafo’s Mana mine in Burkina Faso, where a 20MW solar plant has been built by Windiga Energy. The surplus generated feeds the national grid and contributes to the economy of the country. 

A key aspect for sustainable development is to integrate communities into the decisions taken. They are the ones who could benefit the most and pay the highest price for the mineral extraction. 

 

References:

Casey, J. (2021, November 17). Seequent launches insight paper on the future of sustainability in mining. Retrieved from https://www.globalminingreview.com/environment-sustainability/17112021/seequent-launches-insight-paper-on-the-future-of-sustainability-in-mining/

Gorman, M. R., & Dzombak, D. A. (2018, June 28). A review of sustainable mining and resource management: Transitioning from the life cycle of the mine to the life cycle of the mineral. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0921344918302076

18, S. M., Malan, S., Declaration, S., & Cutifani, M. (n.d.). How to Advance Sustainable Mining. Retrieved from https://www.iisd.org/articles/how-advance-sustainable-mining

Technology and Mining Sustainability

Technology and Mining Sustainability

We are currently living in the fourth industrial revolution, which is more connectivity related. This progress has impacts in our everyday lives but today is about mining. 

(How technology can boost productivity in small-scale mining” 2020) 

Technology can have a number of impacts on mining operations, including safety and productivity and environmental protection. Safer working conditions through improved underground communication, automation, more sophisticated mineral and metal transportation, and emergency response measures are achieved by integrating technology into mining projects. Technological advancements in mining are also making operations more productive. This can be seen in the use of robotics operating 24 hours a day, real-time monitoring of minerals and metals through mines and processing plants, and using simulations at the mine design stage to test different solutions before implementation (“International Institute for Sustainable Development” 2019). 

This technologies can also be used to make a mine more sustainable through the “Green Technologies”. 

What is green technology? 

Green technology refers to technology that limits or reverses the effects of human activity on the planet. In mining, green technology refers to technology that will reduce carbon emissions in operations and mitigate adverse environmental impacts. It includes the use of minerals and metals that support a transition to low-carbon technologies such as solar panels or wind power (“International Institute for Sustainable Development” 2019). 

 Thanks to the technology evolution, mines are now more efficient, productive, safer and sustainable which benefits the mining industry as well as consumers. 

 

References: