Mining companies embracing new technologies


In order to more effectively compete in the global marketplace, mining firms in Canada are increasingly embracing new technology solutions like cloud computing and unified communications.


Mining is one of Canada’s most important industry sectors, contributing $35.6 billion to the country’s gross domestic product and employing approximately 320,000 people, according to the latest statistics from The Mining Association of Canada. However, just because the sector has long been a stalwart of the country’s economic output does not mean that Canadian mining firms will continue to remain profitable in the long term. As existing sources of coal, iron and other minerals run dry, companies operating in different locales increasingly become more competitive. As such, while mining may currently be one of the biggest industries in Canada, there is no guarantee that it will continue to retain its pre-eminent role in the future.


How new tech helps miners
In order to better compete with international firms, Canadian mining businesses are increasingly adopting new technology. According to a report from RAND Corporation, the price of extracting minerals is on the rise alongside the amount of outside competition faced, so mining firms are more frequently looking to leverage and monetize potential data streams to make operations more efficient.


“Information technologies in mining will have a significant impact on mine operations in the coming decades, giving mine managers and staff much greater understanding of and control over mining processes,” the RAND report said. “Increases in IT capabilities also are establishing the technology base necessary to support remote and autonomous mining operations.”


For example, a mining company can use a cloud computing solution to enable all relevant parties to perform predictive analytics. In the past, if a mining company wanted to learn more about the day-to-day operations of a mine site, it would have to send someone out into the field to manually collect and compile a report that only weeks or months later would be seen by key decision-makers back at headquarters. With a cloud computing solution in place, however, business leaders can know about on-site conditions in real time. Thanks to such technological innovations, safety and visibility at mine sites has improved dramatically as of late, Mark Gelsomini, Corporate Director of IT at Dundee Precious Metals, told the Cisco Canada Blog in July.


Another key way technology boosts mining efficiency is by replacing outdated communications workflows with new systems such as unified communication and collaboration as a service (UCCaaS) solutions. For example, Gelsomini said that new ways of facilitating communications make it easier to expand leaky feeder technology into more underground mine sites. As Wi-Fi and other new technologies become more common in mining, those in the industry will be able to more easily use UCCaaS to communicate and collaborate with others even when located kilometres below the Earth’s surface.


“These companies are able to use technologies like Cisco TelePresence to collaborate in real-time across global regions, and even remotely analyze data in real-time to save time and money,” wrote Karin Scott, Cisco Canada’s public relations director. “I, for one, can’t wait to see what they think of next.”


How FlexITy helps miners

Mining companies looking to implement a cloud computing solution or a next-generation unified communication and collaboration system should turn to FlexITy. By aligning core business objectives with the best technology available, FlexITy can assure mining firms and other companies that the solutions implemented are built and maintained with profitability and efficiency in mind.