The coronavirus pandemic has brought some of the biggest economies in the world to their knees, while affecting many other industries across the globe. However, it has also brought forth a few positive effects, such as the advancement of the fourth industrial revolution, by adopting technology, especially in the natural resource industry.
In a panel discussion on Investing in African Mining Indaba, Sabina Dall’Omo, the Eastern and Southern Africa CEO of Siemens, an automation company based in Munich, Germany, stated that the mining industry would have had a discussion on digitalization in 2019 and applied and adopted digital technology in 2020.
Dall’Omo explained that because of the restrictions imposed as a result of the pandemic, mining executives couldn’t travel and had to manage operations and communicate remotely, which was made possible by coming up with creative solutions and applying the technology available at the time. In addition to having to alter how they operated, mining companies also had to make use of new technologies to advance safety and health-risk alleviation in the workplace.
Other changes were made in how companies in the mining industry operated. For example, companies such as Exxaro Resources enhanced their supply chains through the use of digital technology to include more small and local entrepreneurs and entities. Exxaro stated that it had brought on board these organizations in addition to equipping them to be ready digitally. Many of the companies are now contractors with Exxaro or involved in other Exxaro operations. Additionally, the company increased its mass communication capability to reach its workforce and a broader community.
Dr. Nombasa Tsengwa, Exxaro Minerals MD, stated that the natural resource industry had made major strides, giving the example of Exxaro, which had automated its value chain end-to-end and created visualized operations, thereby significantly simplifying the company’s mining operations.
During the discussion, Dall’Omo also stated that Siemens visualized a natural resource industry that had more machines and fewer workers underground, thus making the industry more effective and efficient for competitiveness and profitability while protecting the environment.
Despite these forward-thinking ideas, the panel agreed that there are still barriers that prevent the extensive adoption of big data and robotics, the Internet of Things, and automation. Additionally, the lack of skills required in the rapidly evolving mining environment was also a concern expressed by many. The panelists stated that in order to preserve jobs, many workers in the mining industry would have to be upskilled or re-skilled.
Meanwhile, Josemaria Resources Inc. (TSX: JOSE) (OTCQB: JOSMF), based in British Columbia, is looking forward to deploying autonomous trucks as well as production drill fleets as the company conducts a feasibility study on its flagship project located in Argentina.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Josemaria Resources Inc. (TSX: JOSE) (OTC: JOSMF) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/JOSMF
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