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IoT in Mining Industry - Examples, Advantages and Drawbacks

  • Pragya Soni
  • Oct 28, 2021
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Mining is an emerging industry. Before declaring results, mining industries use a variety of technologies and big data in between the procedures. How is IoT affecting the mining industry? What are its advantages and limitations in the mining industry? Which industry has implied IoT in its mining process? We will learn about the entire concept step by step.


First, let us learn about the meaning of IoT in layman’s language.



IoT and mining


IoT expands for the Internet of Things. The internet of things may be defined as expanding connectivity of the internet on physical devices such as laptops, mobiles, and tablets. The physical devices include the daily devices available nearby.


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What are the uses of IoT?


IoT is quite useful in the following ways.


  1. It gives devices a soul or life.


  1. When hardware is embedded with the internet, the devices are able to interact with each other.


  1. IoT enables devices to be remotely monitored and controlled.


  1. IoT helps in achieving cost and productivity optimization.


  1. IoT improves the safety measures and develops the need for artificial intelligence.


IoT in the mining industry


IoT is often referred to as the backbone of the mining industry. IoT is useful for the mining industry in one or many ways. Mining industry often requires rapid innovations, technologies, automation, digitization and electrification. 


The internet of things or IoT is providing the mining sector these facilities. From cost optimization to quick decision making, different advantages and uses of IoT in the mining industry is mentioned under the next title. 


IoT helps in implementing artificial intelligence in the mines, thus, makes them more efficient and able. AI further enhances the power of IoT solutions as a way of streamlined operators. It helps in reducing the final costs and also improves the safety and quality level of the mining industry. 


AI and IoT together help the mining industries to improve their metal extracting process, they make the process more accurate and thus, less waste generating.


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What is the need of IoT in the mining industry?


IoT is required in the mining industry for the following three reasons.


  1. To improve the performance and productivity and eliminate the unnecessary costs.


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  1. To anticipate machinery failures, this is known as the industrial internet of things.


  1. Various types of machinery and the plants are covering their machinery with smarter, cheaper and smaller internet connected sensors.


Examples of the mining industries that have implemented IoT


Following are the examples of industries those have implemented IoT in its mining process:


Hindustan Zinc’s Sindesar Khurd (SK) mine, India


With Newtrax as technology partner, Hindustan mine implemented IoT in 2018. The technology was implemented to send underground data such as drills, loaders, and trucks.


Read about, Sindesar Khurd mine


Hecla Mining Company -Casa Berardi mine, Canada


The mine introduced mobile equipment telemetry. The technique helps to maintain better machine downtime.


Rio Tinto - Koodaideri iron ore project, Australia


It is the first industry in the world to build intelligent mines. In an intelligent mine all assets together work to deliver a decision in a microsecond. The plan was implemented in 2019 and will deliver its first target in 2021.


Above mentioned are just three major IoT projects in the mining industry. Despite these, many other small and big mining industries have also implemented major or minor IoT technology.


What are the advantages of IoT in the mining industry?

The advantages of IoT in the mining industry are cost optimization, robotics advances in mining, increases production, time saving, and improves safety.

Advantages of IoT in the mining industry


The IoT is also called the backbone of the mining industry. With its advent the entire process of mining has become easier and cheaper. Here is the list of top few advantages of IoT in mining industries:


  1. Robotics advances for mining


Having the self-standing products i.e., working of vehicle and equipment together, the more data is collected, which improves the accuracy rates. IoT allows mining companies to find the latest technologies, inventions, development trends, new innovations and how to stay top in the market. 


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This makes the job easier and gives a lot of experience in the market and how to run it and how to deal with the various problems that come in between.


  1. Analytical maintenance


Having an integrated network and monitoring every aspect of operation becomes very easy and it leads to greater safety and productivity. It includes a variation of various vital pieces of equipment and also projecting when repair is required.


  1. Energy and cost benefits


Investment in the industrial internet of things reduces the use of energy and it also maintains the cost of the mining industries.


They also have a transparent system where each part is monitored, and it allows a more efficient process. This continues to grow, and the cost spent on the workers also reduces and it allows the industry to become more profitable. 

  1. Time saving


When we develop and maintain the mine site IoT helps. The data is collected before the digging takes place for mining, it ensures that the process is managed correctly, and it also has less risk. 


Some of the mining industries use driverless vehicles and they are experimenting with autonomous drilling systems which are operated by machines themselves and there is no human use in this process. In this process the time clock is set according to the extraction process that takes place in the shorter time.


  1. IoT improving safety 


IoT is improving safety measures, various types of difficulty or danger comes during the extraction process, the condition of land is also an important aspect in the mining process. 


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Technologies manage some of the risk and it prevents the collapse of unstable shafts. For example, the sensors pick up the real time data and predict whether there are issues or not. 


  1. Cost optimization


IoT helps in optimizing the costs of raw and finished products.


  1. Increased Productivity


Implying IoT in the mining process also enhances the productivity level of the mining industry.



What are the drawbacks of IoT in the mining industry?


With so many uses mentioned above, IoT has certain limitations in the mining industry. Following are the drawbacks of IoT in mining industry: 


  1. Security and privacy


To keep the gathered data which is transmitted by the Iot devices safely is very challenging as they evolve and expand in use. Cybersecurity is very important and it is a priority for the mining companies. IoT devices aren't always included in the strategy. 


These devices must be protected from physical tampering, internet-based attacks, hardware-based attacks. Data privacy is an important concern for the mining companies because IoT devices are used in the more sensitive industries such as finance and healthcare. 


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Various types of information privacy laws are coming globally which are very important and beneficial for the mining industries.


  1. Technical complexity


It might seem like IoT devices are performing simple tasks such as counting the entry swipes at a secure door , there's a lot of complex technologies involved in creating them. If they are providing important data to another workflow or system, then they could negatively affect everything which is connected to it. 


  1. Requires regular electrification


Most of the devices depend on continuous power or internet connectivity to function properly. When either of them goes down then the device also goes down and anything which is connected to it. Nowadays these devices are very important and if they go down then a lot of things will halt.


  1. Integration


Currently there's no consensus regarding the protocols of industrial internet of things and their standards so the devices produced by the different manufacturers might work or not with the existing technologies. Each type requires a different type of configuration and hardware connection and makes it hard to deploy efficiently.


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  1. Time consuming 


Industrial internet of things is very time consuming; they need a lot of time investment and also money investment. There are a number of devices to be purchased and the staff also have to configure them and have to install all of them and other integrate them into a network and support calls to the manufacturer for help. If they all are going into the single location, businesses can make up that investment quickly.


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Mining industry helps the world in meeting the most basic demands of energy and livelihood. It further provides raw material to oil, energy, agrochemicals, and synthetic fabrics industries. It is essential to offer cost optimized production while maintaining the quality. In order to fulfill the requirements, IoT comes to rescue. 


IoT is the backbone of the mining industry as it provides all the relevant technologies and facilities. By overcoming certain limitations such as cybersecurity, IoT can go a long way in the mining industry.

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