The mining industry is one that has been undergoing much-needed developments for the past few decades. Despite highs, lows and stalemates in between, these developments have helped take the mining industry from one that very few felt positively about, to something that could change how we extract and use minerals in the future. Looking into 2018, the innovations and advancements that we could see are arguably few, but despite the smaller number, each one could shake up the industry as we know it considerably.  From improvements to core drill rigs, to software enhancements to make the sorting process easier, here are some of the advancements shaking up the mining industry as we know it.

Automation

No matter which industry you choose to explore, you’ll find automation is a hot topic regardless. Talk around what automation could mean for the mining industry in the future is a particularly interesting discussion to follow, especially when you consider the improvements it could bring to the industry. From reducing health and safety risks, to increasing the depth at which we can mine, automated technologies could bring miners out of mines and set their skills to other tasks without the risks to their health and their safety that are associated while excavating underground.

Electric Vehicles

Much like automation, talk of electric vehicles is rife throughout every industry. ‘Going green’ is something that the mining industry really need to think about, and introducing electric vehicles and tools as opposed to diesel and petrol alternatives is one area that the mining industry could really be set to improve. What’s particularly interesting, however, is that no one is capitalising on this yet! While companies are already looking to start developing tools and vehicles that run entirely on electric for the mining industry, it’s not something that’s been produced on any mass scale as of yet, but 2018 could be the year that this changes.

New Mineral Processing Technologies

Sensor-based sorting is a new technology designed to better split and sort minerals and ores as cheaply and as efficiently as possible. Companies across the globe have been investing in these technologies in order to increase overall productivity within their mines. Not only does sensor-based sorting speed things up, but it can also help to eliminate human error and make the sorting process much more accurate. This is still in development and so, as you may expect, some of the technologies available currently still have kinks and bugs to work out, but with further investment this could easily become a highly valuable technology for miners.

X-Ray Diffraction

Software is far more valuable for mining than you may expect and thankfully it hasn’t been overlooked as far as developments are concerned. In fact, X-Ray Diffraction has been one of the most innovative developments of recent months and isn’t to be overlooked. This is used to analyse samples, saving time and money by looking at property densities and helping companies to be able to target particularly dense areas for the materials they are looking to mine. This makes the entire process much more efficient, accurate and cost-effective and the accuracy of the technology itself is only set to keep improving.

The future of the mining industry isn’t set in stone and with technological innovation constantly adapting how miners complete their daily tasks, it could easily be improved for the better. From automation and electric vehicles, to improved software and sorting technologies, the entire process could not only be made more efficient, but also more eco-friendly which is certainly something the mining industry could benefit from.