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Latin American mines prioritising investments towards machine automation

23rd October 2015

Posted By Paul Boughton


A recent survey of more than 100 decision-makers at Latin American mines by Timetric’s Mining Intelligence Centre (MIC) has found a higher share of respondents plan to invest in remote control equipment and machine automation technologies in the next two  years, compared with any other technology.

Respondents were asked to outline their attitudes and plans towards investing in a range of mine-site technologies in the coming two years. The results showed that of the 12 technologies, the category with the highest share of respondents intending to invest was remote control equipment and machine automation.

The 12 categories spanned mine-management and vehicle-related technologies that are used at an operational level. More than 50% of mines had already invested either fully or partially in all of the 12 mine-site technologies. Remote control/machine automation technologies had the highest share of respondents (50%) who either had it already in place but were intending to make further investments; or did not have it in place and were looking to invest. This is followed by 46% planning investments in productivity monitoring systems, 44% in equipment health monitoring, 42% in mine management software (scheduling/optimisation), and 41% in communications products and systems.

While remote control equipment/machine automation technologies top the list, those technologies that follow enable a successful adoption of remote and machine automated equipment. Productivity monitoring and equipment health monitoring directly support the management of automated machines. While mine management software, for scheduling and optimisation, is a high level technology crucial to capitalise on the advantages that automation provides. Finally, remote control equipment and automated machinery are only as good as the communications infrastructure that is in place within a mining operation. Operations will want to invest in a communications system that will be capable of handling the increased data traffic required to implement remote control and automation technologies.

Senior Mining Analyst, Nez Guevara comments: “Mines in Latin America are set to exploit the advantages that remote controlled equipment and machine automation provides. This is shown by the investment plans that mines in the region are prioritising. While machine automation was identified by the highest share of respondents for intended investment, the next four categories that followed all support its successful implementation within an operation.”

For its survey Timetric questioned more than 100 mine managers and decision-makers currently working across 76 operating mines throughout Latin America.









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