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2020-05-22

A time for change — the benefits of taking mining off-site

Orexplore mining digital collaboration

If the 21st century can bestow one idea upon us relating to industry (regardless of which), it’s that technology is irrevocably changing our production methods. And doing it at a speed that is staggering. Digitisation, automation and the dream of a perfect man-machine symbiosis is closer than we think. In fact, many would argue that it’s here.

“Will Coronavirus be another nail in the coffin for site-based mining geologists?” — Mark Berry

An interesting, and highly relevant, article appeared recently on LinkedIn, authored by geology and mining consultant, Mark Berry, of Derisk Geomining. Aptly-titled for the current state of global affairs – Will Coronavirus be another nail in the coffin for site-based mining geologists? (read the article here) – it raises some very pertinent points, and should inspire those in the mining industry to carefully assess their current methods of extraction, data collection and storage.

The exciting news is that the technology is here and it’s starting to be actively applied in the industry. Berry mentions ten key responsibilities of mining geologists in the piece – most of which unsurprisingly consist of variations on collation, analyses and the storage of data – and posits the question, ‘Can’t this be done off-site?’

"There are huge developments happening in the industry that will facilitate, not replace, geologists’ role on and off-site. In fact, geologists, metallurgists and geotechnicians can now share data."

Now, before geologists run to the local job-centre looking for a new line of work, the answer to the above question does not mean obsolescence. There are huge developments happening in the industry that will facilitate, not replace, geologists’ role on and off-site. In fact, geologists, metallurgists and geotechnicians can now share data with, for example, Orexplore’s technology wherever they are. The need for qualified specialists isn’t diminished, but rather the data has become portable and accessible in new, exciting ways – allowing for the cross-pollination of information. Technology that can scan, analyse and store drill core digitally can only be a good thing for the industry. It’s available and highly advantageous, saving much-needed time, money and aggravation in the process of analysing on-site ore.

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"So, the Coronavirus isn’t the proverbial nail in the coffin for mining geologists. On the contrary, it should be looked at as a pause in proceedings and a way to positively assess what can be done differently, and better, in the future."

So, the Coronavirus isn’t the proverbial nail in the coffin for mining geologists. On the contrary, it should be looked at as a pause in proceedings and a way to positively assess what can be done differently, and better, in the future. As with any industry, the answers are there but for some reason we don’t see them, or perhaps we simply haven’t been asking the right questions. Regardless, this time should be seized upon as an opportunity to bring much-needed change to the working practices in an industry that requires a reboot for the 21st century.

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