The mining industry is one of the most traditional and important industrial sectors. However, it is also responsible for environmental damage of great consequence. Among the impacts generated by this industry are the disposal of heavy metals into affluents, directly compromising the local fauna and flora, as well as the sedimentation of rivers and changes in soil pH. The mining operation is also responsible for a portion of air pollution and accidents that violate several ESG-related practices.
Read more: Understand the importance of ESG for industrial operations right now
Despite these major problems, the mining sector was one of the few sectors less affected by the pandemic during the last few years. This fact demonstrates the importance of the sector to the world economy and the community, as well as its good potential for the future.
Digital transformation: A sustainable path to the future
Although the mining sector has many issues related to decarbonization, safety, and environmental impact, it has the opportunity to use digital transformation and the technologies that have come from this movement to generate more control, integration, and safety in its operations.
The way to do this is by gathering and extracting data from assets in the field, so that it can be used remotely off-site, providing greater flexibility. Having systems capable of extracting and processing this data, the mining industry is able to centralize its data on a single platform with digital support for its activities.
The centralization of this data becomes fundamental for an optimized view of each industrial unit, its organization, prioritization of activities, and consequently greater operational security.
There are many advantages generated by the digitalization of industrial processes and operations. When analyzing the expected benefits in relation to the journey towards decarbonization, we can identify two major points:
- operational and energy efficiency
- use of renewable energy sources
The adequacy to these two points may be a very long process by the industries, however, the digitalization of the industrial operation may be once again the necessary solution to the challenges of the future.
In order for the industry to truly transform its activities, it is not only necessary to change the energy source, but to redefine its energy systems as a whole and to exploit commodities such as copper, lithium, and platinum.
Although complex, the challenge can be executed through a good management organization with focus and well-defined goals.
In addition, the use of digital twin technology is also of great importance for the mining operation. Through this technology industries can have centralized access to information from the field, as well as the documentation necessary for the execution of activities on a single platform with analytical capabilities.
Certainly the path to a more sustainable, safe, and also profitable operation depends directly on the combination of intelligently applied technology and industry expertise.
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