The key to reviving the mining and manufacturing industries, By Inyene Ibanga


With the massive shift to remote services, mining and extractive companies are adopting Industry 4.0 or Fourth Industrial Revolution solutions to automate operations to improve productivity, reduce downtime and reduce equipment costs, maintenance predictive and enhanced safety for mine personnel.

Minerals are a major source of income for many countries. It is raw materials that make the world economy go round. Most developing countries depend on these resources for their economic development.

As in most other industries, technological innovation is disrupting the mining industry. Emerging technologies offer a variety of innovative opportunities within the mining industry.

In recent times, the mining / extraction industry is experiencing the transformative impact of rapid technological innovation. In other words, these technologies have a fundamental impact on the mining sector.

Automation and remote capabilities, digitization transformation, sustainability and smart collaboration have been identified as the top trends that are revolutionizing the mining industry.

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is one of the new technologies that have the capacity to transform the mining industry. IIoT brings a significant increase in the efficiency and productivity of mining operations. It refers to interconnected sensors, instruments and other intelligent devices networked with industrial applications of computers, to improve manufacturing, mining, energy management and various industrial processes.

Also known as the Industrial Internet or Industry 4.0, the IIoT uses the power of intelligent machines and real-time analytics to capture and analyze real-time data, and communicate important information that can be used to drive business. industrial processes faster and more precisely.

Some of the latest technologies in the mining industry include autonomous vehicles, automated drilling and tunneling systems, smart drones and sensors, spatial (geospatial) data visualization, visual reality, augmented reality, GIS and artificial intelligence.

As the driving force behind the industrial revolution, the IIoT brings significant benefits to various types of industries, whether they are small businesses, end users, or large enterprises. IIoT is the key to processes such as predictive maintenance, improved on-site service, energy management and asset tracking in the solid mineral mining industry.

As a result of Nigeria’s over-reliance on oil and gas for its income, the solid mineral mining industry is underdeveloped as these abundant natural resources remain untapped. Thus, the sector represents only 0.3% of its gross domestic product.

With the massive shift to remote services, mining and extractive companies are adopting Industry 4.0 or Fourth Industrial Revolution solutions to automate operations to improve productivity, reduce downtime and reduce equipment costs, maintenance predictive and enhanced safety for mine personnel.

Digital applications Remotely monitor the condition of mines and mineral processing plants to provide a complete online view of automation, instrumentation, electrical, mechanical or processing equipment.

This enables specific maintenance-oriented algorithms to help predict and alert users to upcoming maintenance needs and possible equipment failures, as well as labor, travel and electricity.

A McKinsey & Company report estimates that digitizing mines could save $ 373 billion by 2025, while increasing productivity and safety, and reducing waste. It is a recognition that digitization is vital for the future of the mining industry.

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Additionally, the World Economic Forum (WEF) estimates that stand-alone machines will be commonplace in mining by 2025. With these machines operating around the clock, at high productivity levels and with lower personnel costs, this could add $ 56 billion in value to the industry.

Africa’s largest mining companies are based in South Africa, Angola, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, DR Congo and Sierra Leone

As a result of Nigeria’s over-reliance on oil and gas for its income, the solid mineral mining industry is underdeveloped as these abundant natural resources remain untapped. Thus, the sector represents only 0.3% of its gross domestic product.

As the federal government takes steps to diversify the economy, it has yet to reorganize the mining sector to tap into the abundant reservoir of solid mineral wealth that nature has deposited in the country.

… the relevant departments and agencies under the Ministry of Science and Technology, and the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development should accelerate action towards collaboration with the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and formulate clear policies for the integration of new technologies and innovation in order to economically exploit… solid untapped mineral resources…

Coal, gold, iron ore, uranium, limestone, bitumen, columbite, rock salt, granite, gypsum and precious stones (emerald, topaz, sapphire, ruby, amethyst, etc. .) are among the rich mineral resources that have yet to be exploited. fully exploited.

However, mining industries in other parts of the world are looking to emerging technologies, particularly the industrial Internet of Things, to reshape operations and management processes in the industry.

But the reverse is happening in Nigeria, as the industry still clings to traditional methods of mining, which depend on raw equipment and the use of artisans in surface mines. .

I believe the government must prepare for and respond to technological changes in the mining sector so that all stakeholders derive shared value from the industry.

In addition to the financial benefits of increased efficiency and productivity in the sector, the shift to new technologies would provide jobs and investments in local communities. In addition, it would create opportunities for individuals to integrate into low-paid and low-skilled jobs and well-paid and high-skilled jobs, depending on the level of technological skills.

Okay, one of the biggest impacts that technology will have on the mining sector is on the workforce. Indeed, automation and robots are cutting jobs. But technology has introduced new areas outside of basic skills.

Fields as new as biochemistry, bioengineering and computer science are becoming essential for the mining industry. It is expected that progress would open up more opportunities for educated and skilled workers and for the existing workforce to be trained to adopt new technologies.

Given the stimulating impact of digital technologies in different sectors of the economy, the relevant departments and agencies under the Ministry of Science and Technology, and the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development should accelerate actions in support for collaboration with the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and formulate clear policies. for the integration of new technologies and innovation in order to economically exploit the unexploited solid mineral resources under our homeland.

Inyene Ibanga writes from Wuye District, Abuja.

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