Who’s Investing In African Mining Safety, Automation Technology?

Who’s Investing In African Mining Safety, Automation Technology?

To improve mine safety, most mines in Africa that responded to a survey said they plan to increase investments in technology and software that better manage fatigue, collision avoidance and proximity detection, MiningInnovation reports.

Timetric conducted technological surveys of more than 100 African mines in 16 countries including South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Ghana. A London-based business information service, Timetric does financial and economic research globally.

More than 60 percent of African mining operations have invested in mine management software or technologies, according to survey responses.
However, there has been a minimal uptake of video- or technology-based training systems and remote controlled or automated machinery, MiningInnovation reports.

Of those surveyed, 12 percent said they use automated vehicles. Just 6 percent said they plan on doing so in the next two years.

Mining technology operations in South Africa — one of Africa’s leading mining countries and a key global player — were compared with operations in other African countries.

In South Africa, the research found that 81 percent of mines have already invested in fleet management technology systems. Of the 19 percent that have not, all surveyed said they were committed to doing so in the next two years, the report said.

The South African technology market is largely saturated, MiningInnovation reports. Of South African mines surveyed, 38 percent said they have fully invested in scheduling or optimization software and 35 percent in mine design or modelling technologies. This compares favorably to operations in other African countries surveyed, Timetric reported.

Survey respondents indicated that in the future, they planned to increase innovation investments to bring mining facilities to a higher technological standard.

The survey polled mine managers, maintenance managers, senior procurement officials and other key decision makers, to determine what technologies are being implemented and to what extent.

The survey identified 12 key areas of mining technology to determine mine practices and technological priorities. These included fatigue management, machine automation, mining design and planning software, and environmental monitoring.

Timetric asked companies about their investment priorities for the next two years in 12 mine technologies, with an emphasis on mines that have established a technological base and hope to expand on that, and mines that lack widespread use of technology but wished to do so.