Data analytics company GlobalData’s research shows that 61% of mine sites made considerable investment in mine communication systems in 2019, compared with 55% in 2018.
This includes investment in private long-term evolution networks or fifth-generation wireless technology.
GlobalData’s ‘Global Mine-Site Technology Adoption Survey 2019’ further found that 56% of mine sites had invested in drones to some extent during 2019, compared with 44% in 2018.
About 47% of mine sites surveyed intend to invest in mine communication systems within the next two years, either for the first time or adding to existing investments, while 41% intend to spend on drones.
GlobalData analysis, mining and construction director David Kurtz says greater investment in communication systems is critical for mines as they increase the use of automation or Internet of Things devices.
“While the majors have led the way in investment in communication systems, small and midtier miners are now joining suit.
“Similar shares of both groups have made considerable investments or fully implemented communication systems, while 53% of smaller miners are expecting to make investments in this area over the next two years – the highest share of any of the technologies investigated,” notes Kurtz.
Drones were used less widely in 2019, but uptake is growing rapidly.
About 21% of mine sites surveyed at the end of 2019 had fully invested in drones, compared with just 9% in 2018 and 45% of majors, while 41% of non-majors expect to invest in drones in the next two years.
“Investing in drones is not that expensive, but the payback in terms of cost savings, faster decision-making and improved productivity means it is not surprising to see such a rapid increase in levels of investing,” Kurtz highlights.
The survey involved 179 respondents from Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Australia.