Mining a Sustainable Future
While the mining industry has been operating for thousands of years, miners are continuously looking for new ways to do the same work. Technology has become smarter, machinery has become more powerful, and as a result, productivity expectations have only increased.
If mining processes and procedures had remained stagnant for even a decade, the industry would be extinct. But that is not the case. Continuous innovation has brought the industry to where it is today and will keep it going tomorrow.
Perhaps the two most important focus areas for innovation are environmental and economical. If there are two efforts that can “future-proof” mining, they are:
- Reduce the environmental impact of mining
- Increase productivity and efficiency within mining
Let’s take a closer look at these two initiatives and see what they mean for mining practices.
Reduce the Environmental Impacts of Mining
Mining organizations are under more pressure than ever to reduce their negative impact on the environment. By nature, mining is an invasive process that damages and sometimes demolishes entire landscapes. The give-and-take of mining is that we must destroy some resources in order to access more valuable ones. However, as technology advances, we have more capabilities to protect our resources as well as reclaim resources that were previously considered “used up.”
Brownfields are an example of used-up resources. These abandoned mining locations and contaminated areas historically went to waste. However, today’s brownfields are being converted to “brightfields” through the installation of solar arrays and wind turbines. Additionally, research is being done to move toward water protection and waste reduction in these areas.
Efforts like creating brightfields, protecting water sources and avoiding waste mean mining is making progress toward “future-proofing” itself. By supporting both the economy and the environment, mining is an asset to the future, not an enemy.
Environmental care shouldn’t just happen post-mining. It must also be done proactively, establishing processes that use resources effectively. Inefficient equipment is one of the biggest causes of poor resource management.
Mining vehicles emit millions of tons1 of CO2 emissions annually. Reducing the distances these vehicles travel each day, reduces the amount of CO2 emissions. Conveyor systems are an excellent solution to this dilemma.
Overland conveyors traveling long distances can be just as effective in reducing gas emissions as mobile conveyors, which are much shorter and usually located right on the worksite. Either way, materials are transported from Point A to Point B without the need for a fuel-powered truck, which would otherwise have to take multiple trips to transport the same amount of material.
Increase Productivity and Efficiency
Sustainable mining is only a part of future-proofing the industry. Efficiency and productivity also play a major role in mining’s future success. Striking a balance between environmental and economic advancement is key.
Fortunately, many of the same things that support sustainable mining also support productive, efficient mining. Take conveyors for example.
Conveying raw material can be accomplished more quickly and cost-effectively with a bulk material handling conveyor system than by truck. Conveyor systems are faster because they eliminate the need for multiple trips back and forth, and they are more cost-effective because fewer trips mean less fuel spend and maintenance costs. Conveyors will not replace trucks completely, but they can certainly reduce the number needed, not to mention the amount of wear and tear placed on them.
BEUMER Group offers a variety of conveyors for different terrains and types of mining.
- Pipe Conveyors are designed for sensitive products that must be protected from the elements.
- Troughed Belt Conveyors can be used to transport any type of material over long distances.
- Bucket Elevators are designed for vertical transport.
- Mobile Conveyor Belts are designed to be easily moved from one part of a worksite to another, seamlessly transporting materials short distances between excavation machine and overland haulage.
Productivity and efficiency in mining go beyond getting things done. The larger purpose is to make the industry “future-proof.” As technology improves, industries that fail to grow with it may become obsolete. Continuous innovation in the areas of sustainability and productivity will be what protects the mining industry from making that mistake.
For more mining equipment solutions, contact BEUMER Group at www.beumergroup.com.