IoT.nxt with partner Vodacom Business will join leaders and executives from the mining industry at the 50th Electra Mining Africa event in Johannesburg next week to present the latest Internet of Things (IoT) technology solutions for mining and heavy industries.

“The sheer size of mining operations means it is of great importance to the economies of multiple countries. But, as in many other industries, it faces operational and business challenges that require new ways of thinking to secure its future viability and work toward contributing to global sustainability goals. IoT technology can significantly contribute to mining companies delivering their ESG (environmental, social, and corporate governance) strategies successfully,” says Deon Barnard, Executive Heavy Industry, hardware engineering at IoT.nxt.

“We will present solutions for asset tracking, especially the yellow fleet at mines. We have achieved great results at mines in South Africa and are looking forward to sharing our insights with executives from across Africa,” Barnard says.

Mining is one of the biggest industries in the world with the top 40 mining companies delivering $656 billion in revenue in 2020, according to a February 2022 report by Statista. It drives more than 45% of global GDP either on a direct basis or through the use of products that facilitate other industries.

The adoption of new technologies, notably Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, has accelerated in recent years – 25% of mining companies have doubled their investments in technology since 2010 and 93% are satisfied with the results. In fact, a Swedish technology company reported in 2021 that 90% of mining companies believe that complementing their operations with technology translates into added value and helps to revolutionize their business.

Internet of Things (IoT) technology has emerged as the key driver of the digitalisation of mines. IoT provides an overarching digital communications platform that can connect disparate systems at one mine but can also connect those systems to corporate decision-makers and operational managers at other locations.

The biggest pain points and challenges at mines are:

  • Asset tracking
    • Keeping track of fleets – location and the status of vehicles and equipment. Mines use different vendors which makes data management difficult, a problem that can be solved using IoT technology. IoT.nxt enables mines to access real-time data sets on early warning signs, incident visibility, and the overall health of a vehicle.
  • Rising expenses
    • All utility costs, especially rates for water and electricity, have risen significantly in recent years, a serious issue considering the scale of heavy industry and mining operations. Installing sensors that can monitor consumption and switch supply off when there is no demand can reduce wastage, translating into meaningful cost savings.
  • Worker safety
    • IoT technology can improve workplace safety by identifying potential hazards before they become critical issues. Sensors can monitor equipment and alert teams about issues in real-time, allowing for repairs before worker safety is compromised. IoT wearables can even track employee health by monitoring temperature, heart rate, brain activity, and blood oxygen levels, reducing the risk of employees working in extreme environments or with dangerous materials. With environmental monitoring, companies can better detect unsafe working conditions, while advanced data analysis solutions provide detailed information that supervisors can use to prevent future incidents.
  • Achieving sustainability goals
    • Sustainable thinking is not new, but since COP26 it is now a priority for companies worldwide. Using IoT, sustainability can be achieved through enhanced operational efficiency. This means other factors like cost reduction, compliance with standards and safety can be improved while reducing a business’s environmental impact.

IoT technology can improve these operations:

  • Real-time monitoring and metrics of assets and spaces.
  • Predictive maintenance
  • Water and energy management.
  • Real-time people tracking will help determine an employee’s exact location.