For many Australians, Indonesians and Filippinos, the beginning of 2020 brought with it the heartbreak and horror of extreme weather conditions: bushfires, floods and volcanic eruptions.
It also brought out the champions of philanthropy, including those from the mining industry: a bright spot in an otherwise bleak situation. Let’s hope each of these countries recover fast.
The past five years has seen the mining industry struggle with its own dilemmas too, such as volatile commodity prices, market uncertainties, changing governments and policies, and damaging public opinions of mining – not the least of which being coal’s status.
These issues have spurred the industry to review itself by identifying its strengths and weaknesses. This includes determining what is to be mined, how should it be mined, what technologies are available or should be developed, and whether a better job of mining can be done – to name a few.
Thought leaders in the industry suggest that the reinvention of mining’s public persona could be underpinned by the understanding, application and utilisation of the concepts of the circular economy. That means changing the way we think about the industry by aiming to make it more efficient, environmentally sound and sustainable with a focus on the careful management of resources such as materials, methods and processes, environments, finds and people.
In this issue we look at a number of organisations and companies that have attempted to address one or more of the above issues.
We start with an exposé on how extreme weather conditions can affect mining as discussed by the International Council on Mining & Metals (ICCM) including innovative design and applications, and the digital transformation of mining processes.
To add to our rethinking of the mining industry, Bernard Ash introduces us to Industry 5.0, which entails a greater supply chain and customer interaction, as well as “smart-working.” Joe Keenan from BME adds to this discussion in his piece found on page 56.
We also take you around the region and showcase what is new and changing. The manufacturers and suppliers to the mining industry have also been busy with new products, designs and ensuring the safety of people in the industry.
Australia’s own KinderAsia Pacific (page 54) discusses how its innovative engineering reduces unplanned maintenance and production downtime intervals by extending the life of belts, rollers and frames. Australian RattleJack also showcases its Safety Spear for underground miners (page 54).
As you can see, 2020 will be an exciting year as we deliberate on new ideas and ways of thinking about an industry that is critical for economic commerce.
I for one look forward to learning, seeing and hearing more great ideas. Let’s make the next decade in mining, a positive one.