Why is Digital Transformation a must for the Mining Industry?

B1 - Why is Digital Transformation a must for the Mining Industry

The word “mining” brings in images of workers working in underground tunnels with light-mounted safety helmets, pushing hand carts, working with the toughest hammers, etc. For some, this may seem exciting; for others overwhelming. But the truth is that the mining industry is one of the most dangerous industries in the world. 

  • According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), while mining employs around 1% of the global labor force, it generates 8% of fatal accidents. 
  • China has the world’s largest mining industry, producing up to three billion tonnes of coal annually. But while the country accounts for 40% of global coal output, it is responsible for 80% of mining deaths worldwide yearly.

These numbers raise eyebrows, right? 

So, let us take a quick sneak peek into the past. 

The world was trapped in houses as there was a virus out there which was destroying people’s health. It was responsible for predominantly shaking the entire healthcare system to the core. The solution provided by everyone was to stay indoors as much as possible. Walk out only for extreme emergencies. 

So could people be just sitting at home and doing nothing? That is where companies adopted remote working. They started building their infrastructure and services in such a way that work got done seamlessly without stepping outdoors. And for a major chunk of industries, this method proved fruitful. In fact, some sectors worked continuously without getting disrupted even for a day.

How was this possible?


The organizations that had adopted digital solutions faced minimum hurdles in the Covid situation. The companies who strived and adopted it later also turned out to be a success. But the companies running with age-old techniques found it challenging to adapt. And they realized that digitalization is the need of the hour!

We are now going back to the mining industry. Do we need another extreme situation for the mining industry to realize that they should adopt digital processes? Aren’t the above numbers terrifying enough to start adopting digital solutions for safety and other processes asap?

To make the readers more aware, here are some grave consequences that can occur if the mining industry does not adopt digital solutions.

The Dangers of the Mining Industry

Thankfully, developed countries have paid attention to the grave dangers of mining working conditions and have started to deploy best practices to prevent those. But in remote and developing countries, the mining industry safety is still a “dark matter.”

Here are some of the dangers that make working in the mining industry a challenging job. 

1. Accidents

Seismic activity, loud blasts, landslides, etc, lead to cave-ins. Then there may be flooding, explosions, and other causes that can cause serious injury or death. What differentiates the mining industry in terms of accidents is that these are more common here due to the working conditions.

How can digitalization help?

It is possible to study the mine areas critically using advanced technological solutions. Thus, if one can predict seismic activities, floods, or landslides in advance, measures can be taken to avoid serious accidents.

2. Health Hazards

Working in mines can expose workers to various health hazards, such as lung diseases, hearing loss, and musculoskeletal disorders, due to exposure to dust, noise, and repetitive motion.

Workers are exposed to poisonous gases and the most unfriendly working conditions in mines. They even contract serious diseases which have no cure but make them suffer limitlessly. 

How can digitalization help?

If you closely look at digital safety developments, you will be appalled to know about the devices that can help. There are interactive training tools, OHS software, a complete EHS mobile application, and more to avoid the dangers of working in mines. And talking about advancements, mine ventilation solutions eliminate poisonous gases from the mines and maintain proper airflow.

3. Exposure to extreme temperatures

It can get extremely cold or scorching. But whatever the temperatures, the worker keeps toiling in the mines. These temperature variations affect the workers and the equipment. And if the equipment gets affected, the employee is eventually affected. So to avoid the chain reaction and save workers from extreme temperatures, there arises a need to involve digital solutions.

How can digitalization help?

Protective clothing, sensors, PPEs, coolers, heaters, etc. must be installed in the workplace to improve working conditions. Sensors can be used to determine the suitable working temperature of the place, and equipment can be fitted accordingly.

4. Mental health issues

Mining activity is not only physically but also mentally draining. The isolated and confined nature of mining work can harm mental health, leading to depression, anxiety, and other psychological disorders. 

How can digitalization help?

OHS management software helps to keep a worker’s health in check. Everything can be documented, from their past illnesses to their present state of health. These records help to determine the admissible working conditions of the employees. 

5. Machinery accidents: 

Heavy machinery such as drilling rigs, excavators, and trucks are used in mining, and accidents involving this equipment can cause severe injury or death. Even a minor malfunction in the machine can cause a fatal chain reaction.

How can digitalization help?

Digital technologies are increasingly being used to automate mining processes, from exploration to extraction. Automation can be used to optimize processes, reduce downtime, and improve safety and efficiency. Also, scheduled maintenance and machinery checks must be a part of the regular routine.

Digitalization is the Future of Mining Safety

Mining companies must mitigate risks by implementing safety measures, providing adequate training and protective equipment, and monitoring workers’ health. Additionally, governments can play a role in regulating mining practices and enforcing safety standards to protect workers in the industry.

Digitalization is rapidly transforming the mining industry, with new technologies and digital tools changing how mining operations are managed and optimized. And looking at the present situation, digitalization is helping mining companies to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and improve safety and sustainability.

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