Ro­bots re­new old mines

The Sunday Guardian - - The Week -

GARPENBERG: Hun­dreds of me­tres be­low the lush forests of ru­ral Swe­den, one of the world’s most an­cient mines has been trans­formed into one of the most mod­ern. Sen­sors linked to ro­botic equip­ment in Boli­den’s Garpenberg zinc mine – which has been in op­er­a­tion since the 13th cen­tury - feed data to op­er­a­tors above ground as screens blink and flash in a nearby con­trol room. Boli­den is at the fore­front of a global trans­for­ma­tion in which min­ing com­pa­nies are ex­ploit­ing huge amounts of data be­ing crunched by com­put­ers to dra­mat­i­cally boost pro­duc­tiv­ity and cut costs. The ad­vances at Garpenberg, how­ever, have only scratched the sur­face in ex­ploit­ing the new tech­nol­ogy. Fully au­to­mated mines are on the hori­zon. Min­ing is one of the last sec­tors to use a surge in com­puter pro­cess­ing power, cloud data stor­age and com­plex al­go­rithms. The change could ben­e­fit the in­dus­try and its stake­hold­ers by up to $373 bil­lion by 2025, ac­cord­ing to con­sul­tancy McKin­sey.

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