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EghtesadOnline: The First Digital Mining Conference and Expo opened at Tehran’s Olympic Hotel on Monday.

The three-day event is sponsored by Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization (IMIDRO), Donya-e-Egtesad Innovation and Digital Business Center, Iran Alumina Company, Esfahan Steel Company, Iran Central Iron Ore Company, Chadolrmalu Mining and Industrial Company, and Iran Mine House, among others.

Tops officials in related fields are attending the conference. These include Vice President for Science and Technology Sourena Sattari; Deputy Minister of Industries, Mining and Trade and Chairman of the Board of IMIDRO Vajihollah Jafari; Deputy Minister of Industries, Mining and Trade for Mines and Minerals Processing Reza Mohtashamipour; Mohammad Atabak, the economic deputy of the Islamic Revolution Mostazafan Foundation; Alireza Bakhtiari, CEO of Donya-e-Eqtesad Media Group; Ali Rostami, CEO of National Iranian Copper Industries Company; Mohammad Reza Bahraman, chairman of Iran Mine House; Ebrahim Jamili, the head of Mines and Mineral Industries Commission of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture; Mohammad Yaser Tayebnia, CEO of Isfahan's Mobarakeh Steel Company; Ardeshir Sa’d-Mohammadi, CEO of Mines and Metals Development Investment Company; Iraj Rokhsati, managing director of Esfahan Steel Company; Amir Ali Taherzadeh, CEO of Chadormalu Mining and Industrial Company; Bahram Shakouri, chairman of Iran Copper Association; and Touraj Zare’, CEO of Iran Alumina Company, among many others.

“The mining industry is being developed rapidly like other industries. The fourth industrial revolution and internet connection made noticeable progress in developing intelligent technologies and industrial digitalization. The mining industry, as an old and colossal industry, is one of the last industries undergoing digitalization,” reads a post on Donya-e-Eqtesad Media Group’s events portal.

“Some of the benefits of digitalization of industries are efficiency enhancement, risk reduction, providing a safe work environment, production increase and current cost reduction. Challenges to the digitalization of the mining industry are: 1- Information and privacy security 2- Polluted environments 3- Network interactivity and 4- Analysis related to mining plans."

The Digital Mining Conference and Expo intends to utilize innovative technologies in the mining industry, introduce pioneering companies and startups in this field, and disseminate the fundamentals of digital mining.



Digitalization in Mining Industry

According to a paper published in the International Journal of Mining Science and Technology, digitalization in the mining industry refers to the use of computerized or digital devices or systems and digitized data that help reduce costs, improve business productivity and transform mining practices. 

However, it remains increasingly difficult for mining companies to decide which digital technologies are most relevant to their needs and individual mines. 

Large-scale mining operations appear to apply digital technologies suitable to their needs, whereas operations with lower production rates do not implement the currently available digital technologies to the same extent. These minor producers may require other digital transformation solutions tailored to their capabilities and needs, and applicable to their scale of operations.

Mining techniques and technologies have evolved and improved over time (e.g., the introduction of explosives and the use of mechanized and motorized mining equipment during the Industrial Revolution). In the past, each technical achievement and its implementation at mining sites have led to better practices and strong industrial growth. 

Today, the mining sector faces the implementation of digital innovations and various terms have proliferated in the media, the internet and at conferences. In this context, authors freely use the terms “fourth industrial revolution”, “digital revolution”, “digitalization”, “digital transformation”, “intelligent mining”, “smart mining”, or “mining 4.0”.

Digital Mining Conference Topics

Topics discussed at the ongoing conference include:

- Reviewing the latest transformations in the digital mining industry around the world

- Studying the digital mining infrastructures in Iran

- Investment justification; the potential effects of digitalization and minimizing the implementation cost 

- Industry 4.0: Embedding digital instruments into the current production system

- Creating digital innovation centers in industry and requirements of developing knowledge-based ecosystem in intelligent mining

- Digital instruments to manage issues of explorations and mines

- Digital technologies for monitoring and safety of mine

- The role of digital transformation in repairing and maintenance of mining equipment and types of machinery

- Transferring experiences and creating a stable communication between the players of the two fields of digitalization and mines.

Opening Day Remarks

Forty-three percent of international mining managers say digitalization is their priority … IMIDRO has started to embark on this path, but faces many challenges in terms of infrastructure, mainly internet for mines … We are currently in the stage of field study and monitoring, said Omid Asghari, secretary of the conference and a faculty member of the School of Mining Engineering of the University of Tehran, in an address at the opening of the conference on Monday, Eghtesad News reported.

Soroush Fouladchi, manager of Knowledge Development Department of Donya-e-Eqtesad Media Group, said digitalization can help boost the efficiency of mines across the value chain starting from the mines to the market.

“The Rio Tinto Group, which is one of the most famous mining companies in the world, managed to increase productivity by 34% in 2020 after making use of Komatsu Smart Machine Control. It also managed to reduce the cost of machinery repairs by 13% for each hour of operation. The project also led to a decline in fuel costs and waste of resources,” he added.

Iraj Rokhsati, managing director of Esfahan Steel Company, stressed the importance of keeping up with global technological developments in the field of mining, stressing that lack of progress will inflict hefty losses.

“Advanced countries explore at an average depth of 300 meters. The global average is 80 meters. But this figure stands at only 10 meters in Iran. Digitalization can save us; we need to move fast in this direction,” he added.

Digital Mining Conference