Digital Transformation in the Australian Mining Industry, Forecast to 2021

Untapped Opportunities for Sensors, Drones, Advanced Analytics, AI and Cybersecurity
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Published: 25 Oct 2017

This report provides a comprehensive update on how digital transformation is impacting the mining sector in Australia and discusses market drivers and restraints, market size and overview of trends, the digital mining ecosystem and digital transformation use cases across the Australian mining value chain. The study concludes with a summary of growth opportunities. The end of the mining super cycle in Australia has dampened demand for digital solutions in the mining industry. However, over the medium term, assuming no significant deterioration in commodity prices, mining digital solution expenditure is expected to recover. Long-term fundamentals for mining digital solutions remain positive. Through digital infrastructure and IT-OT convergence, miners gain higher operational visibility and real-time monitoring that helps achieve safety, minimises downtime, reduces energy consumption, and facilitates optimal utilisation of mining assets. In the current environment, with weakened demand for some mining commodities, customers are looking to optimise assets more through a strategic focus on asset reliability monitoring. This is achieved through increasing the leverage of sensors and data analytics. In addition, the ability of cloud-based solutions to provide solutions cost-effectively is helping drive their uptake among miners. Declining ore grades and high input costs remain productivity challenges for miners. The need for accuracy and efficacy in defining ore body characteristics is driving the integration of ore-body model information with blast-hole drill data and online sampling. Automated haulage and drilling are fairly advanced, while automated blasting and shovelling are being explored. Although digital transformation impacts the mining sector the most in operational areas, there is inadequate convergence between IT and OT. This is often because internal IT departments do not have the OT expertise to deliver enterprise-wide transformation benefits. Many mines have disparate legacy systems in place and require a new network or application to be integrated with the existing legacy systems. Effective integration and managed services remain unmet needs. Start-ups are devising novel solutions to be integrated with cloud technologies, command and control, and other equipment to efficiently control and process data. Service and IIoT capabilities are expected to become critical competitive advantages. In achieving synergies, companies are likely to seek strategic partnerships with different participants in the ecosystem. Over the long term, investment in cybersecurity solutions is likely to gain momentum as a more connected ecosystem provides more surfaces for cybercriminal hacks/attacks. Investment and improvement in data analytics are likely to grow to build more consolidated systems providing end-to-end integration of all functions in the mining process.

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