PDAC – 2017 – the World of Mining Moves Ahead … And India!!

Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) Convention – 2017, came to a close this week. Geovale attended the convention, along with about 25000 delegates. This convention is likely to remain the biggest mining and exploration industry event for the year.

 Discussions at PDAC concluded that the mining industry is going through two major changes … an investment upswing correlatable with commodity market recovery, after 4 years of downturn, and a second big change – mining industry is now eventually poised to embrace the technological revolution, which the world is going through.

The big theme at the PDAC-2017 was mining industry’s adaptation of the digitalisation process, during exploration and resource evaluation, during the mine planning process, during mining operations and its quest for continuous improvement and optimisation and sustainable mining process. Mining industry, led by large players are now adapting large data analytics and artificial intelligence and the tools of virtual and augmented reality. So moving forward in future, we are going to see more and more of data capture and its utilisation towards better understanding of the resource and mining process optimisation. This means we are going to see better data capture and integration during exploration and resource reconcilliation using mined out resource data; as also, pilotless trucks and shovels and drill machines managed and maintained by new generation of technology proficient engineers, sitting in centralised control rooms located hundreds of kilometres away from the actual mine site.

 Where is India in this game!! Sadly, India is a distant laggard at the moment. There is very little international interest in the Indian mining industry. Indian booth and India Day show at PDAC (and other locations) have remained poorly attended in last few years. Public Sector mining (which controls 75% of India’s major mineral assets and mining by value) are refusing to break through their inertia in adapting technological changes, unless prodded by their respective ministries. And most of the private sector is suffering from very poor margins of operation, which prevents them to take risks through a change management process. If India wants to double the mining sector’s direct contribution to its GDP, then India requires to make its mining sector more efficient through policy changes, by encouraging greater participation of the domestic and international private sector in the exploration and mining industry and by adapting technological changes .. right now!

Author: Biplob Chatterjee