How will the mining landscape be affected in the coming future, how will it transform, and what advancements can we expect from mining technologies? Various experts, researchers, and surveys are attempting to make predictions about mining’s future.

We may not always realise the ways in which mining is interconnected with and influenced by so many things and changes in the world. Many things can affect projects, mining technologies, mining laws, production, export of mined materials, and more. These factors include everything from environmental policy and politics to technology advancement and crises like the war in Ukraine.

With this in mind, the mining landscape is sure to continue to be affected by these ever-evolving external factors. But how?

Those forecasting future changes in mining in the context of the world surrounding it

Predictions from the report by the world’s fifth-largest accounting network, BDO Global, 2023: The Near Future of Mining, which looked at the current landscapes of mining in the UK, US, South Africa, Australia, and Canada and developments in these countries’ mining sectors.

Becoming Human: Artificial Intelligence Magazine also presented predictions in its article earlier this year, 2022: Future Trends in Mining Innovation.

Predictions for mining in the future based on external factors

BDO’s forecast

BDO predicted that the following will happen by 2023, stating that exploration will not be enough alone for miners to prosper; they will instead also have to become more innovative and create “new products and processes internally to maximise financial and talent resources”. BDO dubs this “innovation mining”. In other words, miners must embrace not just digital technology advances and develop technologies for their mines but also create new ways of managing their internal operations to sustain themselves.

They will also have to adopt cyber security methods to safeguard their digital mines from attacks.

BDO predicts the following:

  • Countries will be frantically competing to get their hands on rare earth elements that will be in high demand due to being essential for the manufacturing of new technologies (such as those that facilitate sustainable mining, like EVs and solar panels). This high demand will also impact international trade of these materials and products, making them scarcer and harder to get hold of.
  • Miners will be presented with and adopt new alternative financing options which will be financially beneficial for them but will greatly affect stock markets.
  • Transparency will become the norm for mining companies as more investors demand proof of their social license to mine, and blockchain will become commonplace for miners to use to authenticate their operations.
  • As more mines and mining operations go digital and smart mines become more common, more will embrace AI for use in their operations. Artificial Intelligence will become the norm and will remove the need for human operators in mining shafts, making mining much safer than ever before.

Predictions from Becoming Human: Artificial Intelligence Magazine

  • The use of drone technology, automation, and the Internet of Things will become widely embraced, and it is predicted that drones could be used to help with identifying hot spots for mining reserves and evaluating mines before miners begin operations, as well as recording their progress to forecast how the site will change over time.

    As well as this, drones can assist with performing “mine surveys, inventory management, [and] stockpiling estimating”.
  • Smart mines’ technologies will increase miners’ own innovation and mines will find ways to utilise digital means to optimise mining operations and cut down on energy usage and costs to mines.

Looking for a career in the fast-evolving mining sector in Africa? Visit CA Mining’s job board to see the latest vacancies in mining engineering, management, finance, geology, equipment operations, drilling, and more.

You want your team to include only the best and most qualified talent, so why not get an expert to find the perfect candidate for you. CA Mining offers customisable recruitment solutions for mining organisations and projects of all sizes in Africa. Find out more about our services including our Executive Placements and Contingency Placements packages.