Mining: news on mining & construction machines

Digitization has long since reached the mining industry. bauma 2019 once again showed current mining trends: advantages of autonomous driving; developments in work safety and remote control; important information on the future use of electric drives in mining; and the promotion of sustainability and environmental protection in mining.

Everything that mining stands for. In the spotlight? The future of the industry.

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Autonomous driving in the mining industry

The development of autonomously driving construction machinery is progressing, but greatly challenges the mining industry due to ever-changing work situations. Although there are virtually no standardized procedures on construction sites, the industry sees huge potential in autonomously driving construction equipment. In addition to reducing staff and saving money, the construction machinery industry hopes for an increased safety on the construction site and for rising the productivity.

Sustainable mining? Innovations and alternatives

Minimizing the consumption of resources and reducing the use of energy are the trend-setting topics in mining. New technologies and the use of alternative energies are the long-term objective for a more environmentally friendly extraction of necessary raw materials. In future, sustainability shall be promoted with regard to

  • conservation of resources: ecological approach;
  • savings: economic approach;
  • health: social and cultural approach.

Just as all commodity-producing sectors the mining industry therefore relies on cost-effective and environmentally sound extraction alternatives. In addition to treatment and recycling, sustainability in mining also means efficient and resource-saving planning of new extraction sites.

Bioleaching

Ore becomes a precious metal: in biogenic processes, special microorganisms are used to obtain valuable metals from ores by bioleaching. This non-polluting procedure is increasingly gaining in importance in mining, as it

  • complements traditional extraction techniques;
  • consumes less energy;
  • produces no CO2 emissions;
  • supersedes the use of chemicals;
  • simplifies processes.

This new technique is one possible alternative to conventional mining—sustainable, environmentally compatible and energy-saving.

Work safety in the mining industry: new potentials thanks to technology!

The working conditions in mining make it necessary to specially protect every worker. The work in the dark, extremely poor visibility and an extreme loudness poses many challenges to the occupational safety in mining. Here in particular, new technologies offer a great opportunity to increase safety and the mine’s productivity.

Remote control: using remote-controlled mining machines

The extraction of raw materials is costly, and mining equipment is especially designed for the conditions in mining. Hence, the machines used underground need to withstand g-forces, vibrations and significant changes in weather conditions and temperature. Here, it is vital that mining machines are reliable, durable and efficient. By optimizing the machines via a software, remote control allows the machines to be operated more efficiently and cost-effectively.

Networked construction site: digitization simplifies processes

The advancing digitization of the construction indutry opens up new potentials that are not yet fully exploited in mining. In future, remote control, telematics solutions and the use of cutting-edge technology will for example further simplify the optimization of analysis, diagnosis and planning of mining works.

Electric drives: saving energy and money with new technologies

Stationary mining machines can already be operated electronically without any problems. For mobile operation, however, there currently is no alternative to combustion engines, because in mining, batteries must be resistant, reliable and especially explosion-proof. As new technologies are continually developed it can be assumed that all mining machines can be equipped with alternative drives in the future, ensuring safety, cost saving and energy efficiency.

Planning mining: this is how the mining industry will plan in the future

Long approval processes with participation of the public and all relevant social groups are the basis for developing a mining area. Furthermore, regional-planning processes and mining legislation conditions need to be included and considered. Here, post-mining becomes increasingly important. Because: what happens with the extraction site after mining? An early integrated post-mining land use offers potential and may pave the way for the extraction of renewable energies on the former mining site. The development progress in miniaturizing analysis tools and drilling technology shall improve the extraction process and make the development more efficient. To exploit all potentials of pre and post-mining the often-lengthy processes need to be planned properly, involving all stakeholders.

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