Plug in to underground digital innovation: PACE hosting inaugural conference aimed purely at digital future of mines.

Author:McKinley, Karen
Position:MINING - Conference news

Digital technology is everywhere, yet there are few events addressing the radical changes it is making in the mining industry.

To help bring awareness to this phenomenon, and bring digital mining companies together in one place, Partners in Achieving Change Excellence (PACE) hosted Beyond Digital Transformation on Feb. 1 in Sudbury to discuss how mining companies from around the world see the future of digital technology in their industry.

"The conference is really for anyone who wants to plug in to where the mines are going from a digital transformation perspective," said Neha Singh, the "change guru" and project manager at PACE.

And by digital transformation, she said they are looking at how companies and individual mines are using technology. She said the mining industry is a great example of a sector that hasn't consistently embraced digital innovation underground for various reasons, including connectivity. She explained PACE saw a need for such an event. At the same time PACE is hosting beyond Digital Transformation, there are about five mining conferences also happening in Canada and the United States.

"Now, because technology has advanced so far, getting access to things like Wi-Fi underground, and communication from underground to surface is getting easier," she said. "Mines are now asking why don't they know, and why can't they get transparency, how much are we producing on a regular basis, how can we manage safety when we clear out a mine, that we haven't left anyone behind?"

She said mining is at what she called an inflection point, where activity has been stagnant for years, but activity is starting to pick up and companies are looking for safer and more efficient ways to operate.

The turn to digital technology is just starting, with few companies actively pursuing it. Others are looking to see how it could make their companies work faster, safer and increase profits.

The conference will have a slightly different format, as it will not have companies selling their products and services. The aim is to bring companies together to discuss projects, their concerns and network.

"What we are saying is let's see what the companies are saying," she said. "There will be booths and vendors, but the vendors will be sharing their innovation with the rest of the world, and some you may not think of that have been around for a long time that are now using innovative methods, coming out and sharing what they have to share."

Singh said at the...

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