Chile faces challenges for mining, M2M provides solutions
Thursday, 04 July 2013
Around one third of the copper in the world comes from Chile, according to the International Copper Study Group. This means more than 10% of its GDP and 47% of its exports. Moreover, thanks to the copper, Chile’s economy is growing by nearly 6% annually with impressive low inflation and unemployment rates. The economic landscape is looking bright for Chile but its mining sector faces some challenges.
The country has a strong dependency on China. As the world’s first manufacturer, China buys 40% of the total production of copper for hundreds of applications (wiring, electronics, architecture, etc) so Chilean exports and the price of the metal depends mostly on its demand. Another challenge -also related with exportation- is the competitiveness of other countries for the production such as USA and even China itself.
As copper resources are not infinite, the mining sector in Chile should focus on increasing its efficiency and profitability to strengthen its leadership and overcome this competitiveness. Machine-To-Machine technologies can approach these issues in several ways.Every mine requires several big haul trucks to carry tens of tons of ore. Their location and loads must be meticulously controlled. Fleet management technologies, with the flow of data provided by M2M sensors in trucks, can carry out this duty with great efficiency.
Furthermore, mining installations and machinery can improve its processes thanks to the Managed connectivity solutions. It increases productivity and reduces costs thanks to the automation, Real Time management and optimization that M2M sensors and data provides.
However, it is not all about production and control of machines. Mining workers are exposed to some dangers inherent to their activity. Chile is very conscious of these risks because, unfortunately, it suffered infamous accidents in the past. In this sense, human safety must be key for mining companies. M2M can help to improve safety with adapted e-health solutions: workers can wear M2M sensors that immediately send alerts if its body movement is not detected or something else goes wrong, speeding up emergency assistance. This is especially useful for lone workers at huge mines who at times can find themselves to be several kilometers away from their most close colleagues.
Competitiveness for the mining sector is becoming stronger but Chile has all the elements to face the challenges. M2M solutions are and will be among these elements.
Image: Marin Roell