The shift toward sustainable practices is becoming more of a necessity than a choice. As a result, all industries are reinventing themselves to comply with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and ESG standards. The mining sector, which has faced misconceptions and biases regarding its environmental impact, can find in software and technology the tools to improve transparency and enhance its processes.
Mining operations generate jobs and opportunities for the communities surrounding them, but they can also have environmental drawbacks. “I grew up in a mining town, Chiquicamata, Chile. In Chile, we are proud of our mining activity, but we also have to acknowledge that this activity has social and environmental impacts, and these are things we sometimes do not like to talk about,” says Mario Jara, Chief Innovation Officer, Datamine. ESG compliance in the mining industry benefits mining communities, while helping the industry become more resilient to change, he adds.
Promptly addressing ESG risks is essential for the mining industry worldwide. Moreover, increasingly stricter standards have made achieving compliance harder. Companies also have to engage in comprehensive record keeping and conduct inspections to achieve compliance goals. Software as a Service (SaaS) providers are making their way into the mining sector, as their solutions can help companies collect and manage large volumes of data to support the decision-making process, while improving risk management and monitoring employees’ health and environmental regulation compliance.
Zyght, acquired in 2022 by Datamine, is an integrated management system that operates within a continuous improvement cycle. In it, the elements that need to be fulfilled are defined based on the parameters selected through inspection programs and established across all operations. By loading all work programs and incorporating cloud technology into mobile applications, all responsible parties can generate inspections, audits or specific data collection, creating crucial benefits for ESG risk management. "Zyght operates in the cloud. It is here, within the company, and each of the corporate standards, legal regulations and internal procedures are parameterized," says Jara.
These solutions can assist companies in tracking environmental risks such as emissions, waste and energy consumption. Before being acquired by Datamine, Zyght's strengths lay in reconciliation, metallurgical balance and mine planning, explains Jara. The software now encompasses crucial ESG compliance topics such as emissions measurement, environmental compliance, community relations, waste management, health and safety, contractor compliance and more. Zyght can support the mining industry by providing it with the ability to have a fully digital overview of all operations, even eliminating the need for paper, and consolidating data and reports in one place that can be directly inspected by management.
A strategic and orderly overview of reports and data of the industrial site can ensure assurance of standards and regulatory compliance, bringing benefits such as reduction of fines, compliance with corporate standards, operational efficiency, reduction of paper use, insights from data analytics and legal and regulatory compliance.
Guided by ESG management principles, the mining industry can open up to new technologies that can amplify the benefits of digitization for the sector. In terms of governance, mining companies could benefit from the identification of risks and regulatory compliance, resulting in operational and business continuity, while ensuring cordial relationships with governmental offices. Technology can help mining companies in numerous ways, such as reducing its carbon footprint.
ESG risks exist across all industries, and it is crucial to understand the importance of digitizing processes that in most cases are already being documented. Zyght shares the belief that the mining industry can be a leader in safety and health standards. "This could be the driver of success for the mining business in the future," says Jara.