Robots renew old mines
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.