The sector has to clean up its act while still making a profit – and it’s a race the group intends to win.
Addressing analysts in London recently, Anglo technical director Tony O’Neill outlined a vision of the future where mines will be similar to farms.
Virtually all mining activity, including the extraction of minerals, leaching and processing will take place below ground. Rock cutting will be done without vibration and only material of value will be brought to the surface. No more convoys of trucks or surface conveyor belts delivering material to the processing plant, no more mechanical shovels scarring the countryside.
On the surface, you may see green fields, cows, and perhaps a wind turbine or two and some solar panels. Surplus power generated by the mines will be supplied to local communities. Exploration will be done by satellite and minimal use made of water. Perhaps even no water at all.
The era of dynamite and dust is coming to an end. Mining, under pressure from environmental lobbies and regulators, has to clean up its act and still make a profit.
Reimagining every aspect
To do that, virtually every aspect of mining must be reimagined, and Anglo intends to win this race.
Much of this may sound a bit too fanciful, and many of the analysts listening to O’Neill would rather wait and see if Anglo can deliver on its trademarked vision of FutureSmart Mining, which is expected to yield a US$3-4 billion uplift in earnings by 2022, with US$1 billion of this coming from technology and innovation.
“In many ways you could argue that mining can become like farming, where people accept it as a perfectly acceptable activity to coexist beside. The normal nuisances like dust, noise, visual impacts are really no more of an issue,” said O’Neill.
For the rest of this article: https://www.moneyweb.co.za/mineweb/anglos-seen-the-future-of-mining-and-it-looks-a-lot-like-farming/