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Digital transformation within the mining sector has accelerated over the past few years as businesses look to innovation to overcome a range of key headwinds.
The current COVID-19 pandemic has put huge strain on supply chains and field operations, especially in developing countries where many miners operate.
In addition, mining companies still need to navigate a broad array of key challenges including global trade tensions, especially between the US and China, the effects of recent oil price wars, increasing protectionism and resource nationalism, growing Environmental, Security and Governance (ESG) concerns and evolving regulatory, health and safety standards across different territories.
Facing such a daunting list of hurdles, many of which are contributing to downward pressure on commodity prices, mining companies are under pressure to reinvent the way they operate and identify efficiency improvements to drive more sustainable growth.
Accelerating digital transformation to help increase innovation, encourage wider collaboration across lines of business and improve operational efficiency across the entire supply chain is a critical strategic priority for the sector.
Oracle is at the forefront of this drive toward faster digital transformation and our enterprise grade, scalable applications are already trusted by businesses within the mining sector to help optimise operations and improve efficiency.
Shifting towards a digital future could mean a potential benefit of approximately $190 billion for the mining sector and $130 billion for the metals sector, or the equivalent of 2.7% of industry revenue and 9% of industry profit.
In this blog we’ll look at some of the key use cases of new and emerging digital tech, why Oracle’s solutions are ideal for solving common challenges within the sector and how mining companies can approach their transformation journey to better enable a truly digital ecosystem.
The Industry 4.0 revolution offers mining companies dramatic advantages as they move toward the digital mine of the future.
Technology like The Industrial Internet of Things (IoT), Automation, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), 5G connectivity, cloud computing and real-time data analytics will fundamentally change mining operations in the medium to long term.
Exciting new technology like this can enable powerful use cases and significantly improve both efficiency and profitability within the mining sector. Leveraging technology for maximum benefit however relies on first having the correct digital infrastructure in place.
Moving towards a hybrid-cloud model and using solutions like Oracle’s Cloud Applications and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, means that mining firms can make more of AI, automation and real-time streaming analytics to scale more quickly and become more resilient, agile and responsive in the face of change.
Preparing for this shift is crucial for businesses and embracing true digital transformation requires a compelling strategic vision around the value that transformation offers as well as identifying key business opportunities that may be better realised with a fully digital ecosystem.
No company goes from a standing start to suddenly deploying ML algorithms at the edge in real-time, so a realistic approach to digital transformation goals and a roadmap with clear priorities are key to successfully implementing a transformation strategy.
Investing in the right digital infrastructure is important in allowing companies to enable Industry 4.0 technology adoption across the business in an agile way and by working with a trusted technology partner, firms can put a roadmap in place that both delivers real value and identifies the most relevant use cases.
In enabling exciting new technology, much of the value in digital transformation lies in companies’ ability to collect, analyse and share data across diverse lines of the business.
Data sits at the heart of a digital core for mining firms and is the lifeblood that allows everything from AI to predictive analytics and IoT enabled devices to deliver the greatest potential benefits.
This makes investing in intelligent, flexible cloud infrastructure arguably one of the most important steps in shifting towards a fully digital ecosystem.
Cloud infrastructure like Oracle’s brings everything together, improving business’ ability to compute potentially petabytes of data every day and deliver real-time, actionable insights to improve business operations.
Because companies in the mining space are now managing huge volumes of data at greater velocity than ever before, they must have the ability to quickly ingest, analyse and store a vast array of different types of complex data.
With a strong cloud strategy in place, that leverages a more diverse data set, the potential for improvements across the supply chain are vast with increased visibility at every stage improving efficiency and helping cut unnecessary costs.
Companies can automate workstreams to boost productivity while AI driven insights and analysis can help make decisions faster and with greater accuracy. AI is already helping companies in the space identify higher yield digs, boost efficiency by eliminating human error and improve health and safety standards across mining operations.
Smart cloud infrastructure can also better maximise the value of data generated in the field with everything from sensors on high value drills and assets to weather data, yield measurements and supply chain metrics providing insights that can improve real-time decision making.
Oracle solutions are already helping businesses enhance the power of geographic information systems (GIS) to better collate, analyze and display massive volumes of geographic and geological data, replacing paper surveys and improving operational efficiency in the field.
We help companies and decision makers visualise data in new ways, providing additional context and evolving the possibilities of GIS to form the foundation of a more autonomous, intelligent mine of the future.
Even ESG data on things like water usage, potential leaks, harmful emissions and mine performance can be collected and analysed to better understand the societal impact of each mine across locations, identifying key environmental improvements and isolating issues that require remediation.
We’ve helped companies like Volvo in this regard with the business leveraging the Oracle Blockchain Platform to authenticate every person, mining site and truck at their cobalt mining operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
This has allowed the company to see exactly where cobalt is extracted, who mined it and how it was transported providing total visibility and provenance to ensure that minerals are sourced in the most ethical way possible.
Data-driven predictive analytics can also help provide C-suite level decision makers with nuanced, high value insights into potentially disruptive events and guide responses in real time by providing better context for key decisions.
All of these use cases rely on having the right digital infrastructure in place and understanding the business’ wider strategic goals is a key part of adopting a roadmap towards a truly digital ecosystem.
As a trusted digital partner, Oracle is supporting mining firms in accelerating their transformation journey and identifying key use cases that align with business growth goals.
Our intelligent, scalable solutions are designed to be implemented fast and can be operational in weeks, integrating seamlessly with existing IT systems to deliver immediate results.
Our best-in-class applications are designed to help businesses become more agile and enable them to leverage the benefits of new technology like AI, IoT and 5G while improving operational efficiency and agility.
We can help accelerate your digital transformation journey to shift to a truly digital ecosystem that supports long-term, sustainable growth and encourages innovation.
Discover more about how our cloud solutions can enable your business’ shift to the digital mine of the future, today.