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Digitalization in the Mining Industry: New Opportunities, Robots, Artificial Intelligence
24 October 2019
11:00—12:30
KEY CONCLUSIONS
Mining industry plays an important role in Africa’s economy

Mining industry is a significant part of both Russia’s and Africa’s economy. In particular, extracting minerals in Africa – this continent has 30% of the world’s minerals — Igor Bogachev, Deputy Chairman, Committee on International Cooperation; Chairman, Subcommittee on Digital Economy and Innovation, Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP).

By 2030, Africa’s economy will be the world’s fastest growing. Naturally, mining industry will play a leading role in it. We need to be part of it, we need to invest in industry. Competition will not slow down – it will be getting stronger, that is why we need to improve our efficiency — Vladimir Antonov, Executive Director, CHETRA.

ISSUES
National companies need more financing for their operations

The Republic of the Congo’s experience is not very successful, because most of Republic’s mining industry is somewhat artisanal, and now we have a lot more operators from other countries. They usually operate independently from us, which results in the following shortfall: we do not have enough finance to properly operate our mines — Georges Oyema, Chairman, General Maniema Mining Company Sarl.

Field development takes a lot of capital, and we do not have this much — Georges Bakaly, Managing Director, Maximus Mining Sarl.

Outdated technologies

Lack of knowledge when it comes to a number of technologies and lack of access to software – all of it limits our efficiency, which is a major challenge for the economy of the whole African continent — Julius Mattai, Director General, National Minerals Agency.

We have the equipment, but it is old and oversized. If you take a look at it, you will be surprised – this equipment is already 60 years old — Georges Bakaly, Managing Director, Maximus Mining Sarl.

High cost of energy resources

Technologies develop, but energy is one of the deal breakers. The IAEA studied energy consumption: our industry takes 11%, which is fairly a lot. From 12 to 14% of the industry’s cost is energy, which is a lot for Africa. When we speak about energy, we think prices and cost — Zakaria Naimi, Director of Green Energy Park, Research Institute for Solar Energy and New Energies (IRESEN).

Cybersecurity vulnerabilities

Digitalization creates certain risks; every bulldozer is equipped with remote measurements. A borrow pit operation can be interfered with from outside both in theory and in practice. Such cases occurred in Russia: there are not so many of them, but they are well-known. We do not hide the information we get from the local partner: remote measurements and all the data must be available at the facility, i.e. chief mechanic’s division and the engineering department should have access to it, and there should be a possibility to manage and process this information — Vladimir Antonov, Executive Director, CHETRA.

Lack of qualified personnel and competencies

We have problems with skills, qualified personnel, and consulting — Georges Bakaly, Managing Director, Maximus Mining Sarl.

SOLUTIONS
Focusing on state-of-the-art technologies

We strive to keep up with breakthrough technologies, especially in mining and field development. It is no surprise that our government created the digitalization strategy to help us use benefits of the constructive breakthrough technologies that get so popular all over the world — Julius Mattai, Director General, National Minerals Agency.

Prices for natural resources a fairly low at this point; the whole industry is very volatile. That is why using digital technologies is a key factor to a company’s survival in this volatile world, while industrial champions must use these technologies — Vladimir Marchenko, Vice-President, ALROSA.

Using drones and various cameras help us be more efficient. Cooperation with Russian companies will allow us to introduce 2D and 3D mapping technologies — Julius Mattai, Director General, National Minerals Agency.

Robotic technologies, such as, first of all, robotic dump trucks, robotic oil rigs and – in the near future – excavators; their economic effect and replacement are not a primary goal. First of all, working conditions improve: a person can run their excavator from the office and not be exposed to radiation, vibration or harmful working conditions — Pavel Rastopshin, Managing Director, Zyfra.

Cooperation with industry leaders

We attract experts from South Africa and other countries, and we do have pilot projects with them, but we plan to implement bigger ones. We pay USD 20 thousand to get weekly visits and consultations — Georges Bakaly, Managing Director, Maximus Mining Sarl.

We want to attract as many partners to the African continent as possible. We would like to cooperate on the research level and resolve the appearing problems and complications. This requires a platform for dialogue — Zakaria Naimi, Director of Green Energy Park, Research Institute for Solar Energy and New Energies (IRESEN).

We invite specialists from Russia and other countries to come to the DRC and work with us. We have enormous resources — Georges Oyema, Chairman, General Maniema Mining Company Sarl.

Using alternative energy sources

Renewable energy sources boast an enormous potential in Africa. We have many remote sites and territories, where it is hard to work to keep it an optimal solution — Zakaria Naimi, Director of Green Energy Park, Research Institute for Solar Energy and New Energies (IRESEN).

The material was prepared by the Russian news agency TASS