Ian Telfer: Mining Innovation Key Topic around the Globe

For companies competing in global environments, finding ways to remain productive and efficient is a priority -- companies operating in the mining sector are no different.

Late last month, the Ontario legislature in Toronto held its annual Mining Day and Meet the Miners event, a day-long conference where members of the legislature and senior mining executives had the chance to share ideas on continuing to build the province’s mining industry.

This year’s event focused primarily on the collaborative role innovation can play in making the Ontario resource sector, “the cleanest, most productive, technologically-advanced and socially responsible in the world.”

The mining industry in Ontario, which happens to be one of the largest in the country, reached a valuation of $10.8 billion in 2015, and those in attendance at the Meet the Miners event undoubtedly hope that continued mining success in Ontario can lead to increased revenue for both the provincial economy and the national economy.

But, I think to see continued success in the mining industry, innovation will be a key element.

“To survive and flourish, we need to go beyond our natural competitive advantages and develop innovative strengths,” said Marc Lauzier, Chairman of the Ontario Mining Association. “Innovation is a major determinant of global competitiveness and future success.”

In many ways, Marc Lauzier is right.

The good news is that many in the mining industry understand that new, strategic thinking is imperative for growth. Case in point, when I attended the International Mining and Resource Conference and Exhibition (IMARC) in Sydney earlier this month, innovation and bringing new technology to mining was a significant take-away topic.

The conference brought together mining executives, government leaders, investors and stakeholders for a global conversation on advancing the resource sector and it also served toshowcase some of the innovation and technologies the mining industry can look forward to.

IMARC presented what was called Innovation Alley, a platform where leading tech companies could showcase their latest analytical instruments, cloud-based technologies, remote communication tools, advanced automation systems, and a variety of other innovations. The technologies displayed at Innovation Alley are specifically designed to solve some of the challenges facing the mining industry today and tomorrow.

Ahead of this year’s IMARC conference, some of the technology companies spoke about what they would be showcasing at Innovation Alley. One of those companies was Swedish technology company Minalyze.

The company designs and develops a range of advanced analytical instruments for the international mining industry. Minalyze’s latest innovation and the one they displayed at IMARC is a geolytical core scanner designed to let miners more accurately scan and analyze the chemistry, structure and density of test samples.

"The ambition is to unlock the potential of resources in various parts of the world, and especially in Australia. The data generated from the Minalyzer CS has the potential to uncover the next wave of discoveries in the mining industry," said Annelie Lundstrom, CEO of Minalyze.

Australian-based MineExcellence launched their new mining-centric app also at IMARC. The app, which is tailored for the resource sector, is able to store, manage, retrieve and analyze drill and operational information from any smart device.

Continuing to merge innovation with the mining industry over the next decade may be challenging, but it will be one significant step to ensuring mining projects around the world are increasingly efficient, productive and environmentally responsible. The collaboration will also lead to job growth and economic stimulation.