There has been a steady rise in the value and demand of precious metals over the last decade. Due to the global pandemic, there was a surge in the price of gold last year, and experts have been predicting a strong uptick during the end of the year. Gold remains a safe investment option for investors everywhere.
The advancements in technology that have occurred in the past decade or so play a fundamental role in the growth and success of the mining industry, and consequently the gold industy. Advancements in mining technology play a fundamental role in the success and growth of the mining sector.
In wake of a global pandemic, as well as climate change, creating a low-carbon sustainable economy has never been more critical for the mining industry. To achieve long-term success, mining companies must adopt new technology that will improve the safety of the work environment, minimize risks for the environment, and ensure the communities surrounding mines are receiving mutual benefit.
Over the pandemic, there have been many changes made to the technology used in the mining industry. Let’s take a look at the gold industry trends and how technology developed during the pandemic has shaped the gold industry.
During COVID-19, most mines proceeded to operate with minimal staff to protect the safety of the employees. However, with minimal work being completed due to the lack of employees there needed to be a solution to increase the amount of productivity that was happening while continuing to keep employees safe and healthy. Automation seemed to be the solution for most.
Automated machines are making data collection easier due to their more consistent and efficient processes, and are becoming the favored way of working. Everything from tracking and preventing downtime to cost estimation and quality assurance is handled by mining software.
Artificial intelligence is used throughout the mining process but can be very beneficial in the exploration process. By using AI in the exploration process, mining companies can maximize their efficiency through the accurate identification of targets and accurate predictions on the known mineralization.
By using AI and machine learning, mining companies are able to process larger amounts of data that can be used to provide insights to the workflow, which will reduce the amount of downtime and errors.
VR simulators have been introduced by many mining companies to minimize the amount of potential hazards. VR simulators can be used to provide training to workers in dangerous areas such as blasting without putting their safety at risk.
Simulated mining environments can also provide trainees with a safe learning environment to practice, and opportunities to improve they may not receive otherwise. Mining is known as a hazardous occupation, but providing workers with VR training reduces the risks that are associated with mining.
Drones are often associated with adventures above ground. However, they are becoming more and more common in operations that happen underground. Drones can easily act as mine scouts because they can reach and search caves that may be too difficult or dangerous for humans to get to.
By using drones, data can be collected about gas levels, geological conditions and even capture visuals of the caves. By using drones, mining companies are potentially saving many lives.
Electric vehicles are still very new. and they can also be extremely costly. However, when thinking long-term, they may be more cost-effective because they do not require fuel to run.
When working underground, machinery that requires diesel fuel can be harmful because gasses such as carbon monoxide can be detrimental to workers. Therefore, electric machinery provides workers with a safer working environment.
You may be wondering why we’ve gone into depth about the technology that is changing the gold industry today. The advances in technology that are used in the gold industry are not only making a safer work environment for workers, but are also contributing to a more environmentally friendly way of mining.
Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors and the sustainability of our planet have attracted increasing attention from consumers and investors over the past few years. As consumers and investors, we are increasingly interested in knowing if the products we buy are responsibly produced and sourced.
Some science-based KPIs (key performance indicators) that define ESG are:
Performance compared in years
- Companies are to compare their performance on an environmental issue today to their performance on the issue in the year previous. There are two ways this factor can be reported - it can be expressed as the percent it has improved or it can be plotted against several years which will show a trend line.
Performance goals for future years
- To complete this standard, companies must compare their performance on an environmental issue today to a goal that is issued for the following year. It is common to have more than one future plan, as well as plans that can stretch out over several years (usually five-year and ten-year plans).
Performance against other companies
- This is the most commonly used rating when companies are ranked on their ESG performances. Instead of the company comparing their own work on an environmental issue, they are compared to other companies.
ESG Performance and the Gold standard
- This may be the most important standard of them all. Companies' performances are compared to how their performance would look if they were a truly sustainable industry - an industry that creates positive economic, social and environmental value.
With ESG Gold Standard, mining companies are reaching for benchmarks that would truly make the business sustainable.
At Matador, we believe that responsible gold mining promotes sustained socioeconomic development in gold-producing countries and communities. Responsible gold mining creates well-paid jobs and generates sustainable benefits for local communities. Gold also plays an important role in enabling the technology that we use in our daily lives.
This is why, at Matador, we have a high standard for the gold we sell. A standard that we pride ourselves on setting is the highly regulated gold mining processes that are environmentally friendly. To keep ourselves true to our word, we only sell Canadian gold that passes the Towards Sustainable Mining standard that is recognized world wide.
The advancements that have been made in mining technology help to create a safer work environment for workers in an industry that is traditionally hazardous. In times of crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, innovation thrives. This sentiment is extremely evident within the gold industry. The gold industry is one of the oldest industries, as well as one of the most resilient.
As our technology continues to advance, mining practices are expected to continue to evolve with the technological advancements. The way to a great future within the gold industry is being paved.