What will the mine of the future look like? Will it resemble the current operations that supply the world with the products it needs to function, or will it be something totally different?
How will the demands from the communities that are most affected by mining operations shape the mine of the future? How will technology and innovation be used to help miners reach deposits that are getting harder to access, and what are the dangers of this new world? Who will work at the mine of the future and what will that work look like?
These are questions that do not have definitive answers, not yet, but questions that need to be asked for the mining industry to move into a future that is as filled with uncertainty and challenge as it is with promise and opportunity.
On Feb. 16, the 2015 SME Annual Conference and Expo and 117th CMA National Western Mining Association conference began with a keynote address “The mine of the future: Forecasting opportunities and challenges for the global mining industry.” Panelists from five sectors of the mining industry participated in the session, which was followed by the conference and expo, that in large part, were also trying to answer the question of what the mine of the future will look like.