Mining Firms Step Up Automation as Pandemic Drags On

A new study shows that roughly 20% of individuals who are currently working in the natural resources sector, i.e. metals and mining industries, are at risk of being replaced by automatons. This comes at a time when most firms are moving toward automated machinery, with many adopting automation as a way to work around the ongoing coronavirus-related restrictions.

According to the latest “Future of Jobs” report by the World Economic Forum, 79% of mining firms are speeding up the adoption of tools such as video conferencing and the digitization of work processes. Of this 79%, more than 26% of the firms are accelerating the automation of tasks.

Despite the figures being lower than the world averages, 84% of companies are accelerating digitization and 50% automation. This shows an ongoing shift towards different mining techniques.

The report also identifies flexibility and creativity, analytical thinking and technology proficiency as the top skills that mining employers are sourcing for as far as hiring and replacing workers is concerned.

Saadia Zahidi, the managing director at the World Economic Forum, states that the coronavirus pandemic has hastened the arrival of the future of work. The consequences of the coronavirus recession and accelerated automation have only made the existing inequalities across labor markets worse and set back gains that were made in employment after the 2007–2008 world financial crisis.

Digitization and automation in the mining sector provide numerous benefits, including   developing targeted strategies, implementation of security controls, improved accessibility to information, optimization of equipment and material flow, reduced operating costs, improved anticipation of failures, increased safety, and the ability to track a mine’s performance in real time. The most important benefit of the implementation of automation in the mining industry, however, is the increased safety of workers. A safe environment promotes optimal efficiency in a mine.

Unfortunately, digitization by mining companies has put a strain on the relationships of miners and their unions, with miners fearing that the demand for manual labor will plunge to a minimum.

Experts warn that by the year 2025, a new division of labor between machines and humans and automation will impact an estimated 85 million jobs around the globe in large and medium businesses across 26 economies and 15 industries. The demand for professionals in digitization and automation will continue to grow while roles in such as administrative support, accounting and data entry will decline.

One mining company that you should pay attention to is GoldHaven Resources Corp. (CSE: GOH) (OTCQB: ATUMF). This Canada-based firm specializes in acquiring and then exploring properties that are known to contain minerals. Its latest acquisitions are seven gold properties in Chile’s Maricunga Gold Belt.

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