Need of Innovation in Mining
Mining Industry is sitting at crossroad and need of new ways of doing business is call of times. We have come long way from doing business when journey from exploration to finding a deposit and turning it in to a viable mine used to be a one way street. The traditional way of mining was way simple than what we have got in our hands now. Along with current stressed economic situation, our deposits are also getting problematic, challenging, and lowerer in grade.
In past journey from exploration, discovery to developing it into a viable mining deposit was more or less one way street. It was a well defined step wise step process, constrain in a given time frame, validated by results at each stage and moving forward one step to another. This approach provided a designated path following which lead to a profitable mine with bit of a tweaking here and there. In most of the cases, it worked and perhaps it worked so beautifully that we forgot to learn from our own mistakes and innovate on the way. We kept carry on blindfolded, with urgency of making profit using these time tested old techniques and methods with bit of innovation here and there. Most of these innovations were mainly involved increasing the capacity of machines we were using than anything else. Mining was rarely considered as one wholesome process. Innovation was used in a limited operating environment just enough to improve certain set of conditions or processing environment. This approach clearly seems to be not working so well. We need to understand deposits we now dealing with are low grade, problematic and in certain cases exhausted already in past. Making beneficiation of such deposit required a change in methodology as well as change in thought process and the approach towards how we look at our mining operations.
Innovation in mining is nothing new. Major mining companies like Rio, Anglo-American along with academic world plays a major role in field of mining innovation. In-fact credit for majority of innovation in mining field goes to these in-house developments and research studies by various academic institutes and big mining companies. Role of junior mining companies in field of innovation is always been exemplary, we keep seeing success stories coming from Bolivia and all other countries mainly involving junior players. So clearly innovation is working in mining, but in order to succeed, we not only have to focus on in-house innovation but it’s time we all start collaborating, sharing our ideas, innovate and create an environment where knowledge sharing become a culture.
Current economic status in mining is forcing us to think out of the box and adopt from our surroundings. Crowd sourcing is revolutionizing IT, Finance, Education, and Government sectors. Leveraging these collaborative practices and tools creates disruptive businesses and transformative innovations, this is time Mining Industry should also adopt and innovate.