The demand for sustainability is driving change in the mining sector. Technology is enabling that change. But who is building technologies of the future? And can some of the big ideas, already in use by corporations, be brought to the marketplace? London-based Axora offers solutions in this area.
“We are the marketplace of leading digital solutions,” says Dr Nick Mayhew, Chief Commercial Officer, Axora.
“Our solutions come from two main sources. We take ideas from world-class start-ups that build products for a living. But the secret sauce, that makes Axora very different, is that we also take solutions from companies. They (large corporations) are creating solutions to solve business problems, but they may not necessarily know how to (or want to) extract those solutions and take them to market,” explains Nick. “That’s where we come in.”
Focus areas while selecting technology
Most mining companies want to become safer, create value, reduce their carbon footprint and secure communities who live around mining sites. Unsurprisingly Axora selects technologies with these goals in mind.
“We are focused on some specific areas. These are: safety, optimisation, efficiency and sustainability,” says Mark Fraser, Account Director, Axora.
Axora identifies opportunities in the short, medium and long-term. Vision detection is an example of an idea that can be implemented right away. “You can monitor a conveyor belt using visual recording and identify contaminants before they progress to the next stage. This is simple Artificial Intelligence technology that can save costs, reduce energy consumption and reduce waste,” says Nick.
Autonomous vehicles that can be used in the modern mine, IoT and optimisation applications are all technologies that are relevant in the medium-term.
In the longer-term Nick believes that the use of data in decision-making is only going to increase. There is bound to be a boom in applications that help record, extract and analyse data better.
Mark predicts that technologies that align with the automated mine are going to be important for the sector. “The ability to do more without having to send people to remote or dangerous locations will be extremely important. Technology that helps with inspection, like drones, is definitely the way forward.”
He describes how sensor technologies can get people out of harm’s way and empower data-driven decision making.
Focus on the environment
Almost every discussion on mining these days revolves around climate change and the environment. Can technology from another industry be deployed to monitor the impact of mining on the environment?
“We are talking to a company that primarily works in the agricultural sector. They have sophisticated sensor technology to monitor plants that are grow near a mine. For example, they can monitor every single tree to understand if the local vegetation is being stressed because of the mine. Data-driven leads about groundwater, soil conditions, dust and other factors help companies come to decisions about their impact on the environment,” Mark explains.
Herein lies Axora’s USP. “We want to bring a cross-industry perspective by surfacing some clever solutions particularly in safety and the sustainability space. Applications that are useful in one industry could potentially be game-changers in another industry,” says Nick.
Axora also plans to have on board a solution that focusses on management of environmental permits and certifications.
The company understands that curating great tech is often about the people. It hopes to focus on developing a network that has the knowhow and insights into the best technologies.
“We want to be a meeting point for visionaries who share a commitment to a better future.
A matchmaking service for the mining technology sector, if you prefer,” Nick concludes.
Axora plans to continue the conversation through live discussions and thought leadership – across webinars, forums and more. Visit: www.axora.com for more.