It is vital for organizations and individual operations to have access to a
platform with technology-related information to consider for further
research and development. This paper presents a technology map that was
created with the purpose of facilitating mine modernization through
technological advancement throughout the mining lifecycle/cycle.
To achieve this, a platform was created to represent the mining lifecycle
that incorporates each of the mining phases, i.e. exploration, project
evaluation, mine design, operations, closure, and post-closure phases. The
constituent value drivers for each phase were then investigated and
included. These covered the various focus areas within the mining cycle,
such as the applicable sub-phases, processes, systems, activities, or
specific challenges, that impact a mine’s operation.
Technologies, both physical and digital, with the potential to add
value to these focus areas were then incorporated into the platform to
create a technology map. This potential to add value, if applied or modified
for application, was assessed on any combination of five factors, namely
the ability to increase production, increase productivity, increase
efficiency, improve safety, or reduce the risk of human error. The primary
focus was on technologies currently classified as disruptive and/or
exponential, e.g. internet of things, cloud computing, advanced robotics,
genomics, 3D printing, and artificial Intelligence. Other emerging
technologies were also investigated, such as automation, machine
learning, renewable energy generation, energy storage, advanced
materials, and more. Furthermore, selected innovative technologies
adapted for or developed in mining were also investigated, as well as other
new technologies in non-mining industries with potential to add value to
mining. As such, a technology map was created that covers the entire lifecycle
of a mining venture, which highlights technologies with the potential to add value to specific focus areas. This technology map may be applied
to facilitate advances in technology for mine modernization.
was first presented at the 3rd Young Professionals
Conference, 9–10 March 2017, Innovation Hub,
Pretoria, South Africa.