News Article

Disruption: A Necessity for the Mining Sector

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 11:19

Technology progresses at an almost unmeasurable rate and companies must innovate or face the possibility of being overtaken, Héctor Rocha, Partner and Deputy Lead of the Energy Sector at EY, told attendees at Mexico Mining Forum 2018 in Mexico City on Wednesday. “If you do not innovate you will disappear because you will be destroyed by a disruptor,” he said.

During his presentation titled, “Unlocking the Potential of Mexico’s Mining Industry,” at the Hotel Sheraton Maria Isabel, Rocha looked at technology and how it continues to impact the mining industry. “It took us 90 years to process 1 billion operations per second for US$1,000 and every hour we are capable of processing more,” he said. “The world’s computing power is growing at an unimaginable rate. Ninety percent of the world’s computer data has been created in the last two years alone.”

New technologies are changing every field from medicine to mobility, but Rocha warned of resistance in the mining sector. “There is a myth that the mining sector is unsuitable for technological advancement,” said Rocha. “I tell my clients that you need to make an effort to stop doing what everyone is doing. A simple step can generate great returns of investment.”

Rocha also highlighted the role innovation can play for economic growth. “To make businesses more profitable companies must use technology to their advantage, including blockchain, machine learning and automation. The sector must also find new operating models that distribute risk through collaboration.” He explained that while there is resistance, some companies in the mining industry are incorporating technologies with potential to fully disrupt the sector, from the Internet of Things to autonomous vehicles. Some examples included above-ground driverless trucks and trains, underground Volvo driverless trucks and self-driving ore cars – technologies that allow companies to reduce operational costs and greatly increase efficiency. Furthermore, autonomous equipment can go where humans cannot and drones can also be used to map mining areas.

Rocha warned attendees about the dangers of falling behind in the incorporation of new technologies and to be ready for change in order to stay ahead of potential disruptors or even to become disruptors themselves. “Companies need to develop flexible organizational systems that adapt to a fast-changing world,” he said.