Mining: Technology and Innovation Vital to Managing through a Changing Landscape

Extensive interviews with mining leaders to discover business outlook, investment strategies, and technology's role in a sustainable future

Guy Danskine
Mining: Technology and Innovation Vital to Managing through a Changing Landscape

Since 2021, we’ve been reporting on the mining industry to better understand the sector, the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, and the role technology will play in the future of mining.


In our latest Equinix Mining Technology Report, it’s clear the global business landscape is experiencing significant change. With the ongoing geo-political tensions across Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, we continue to experience economic volatility, which unsurprisingly has taken its toll on business confidence across many global markets, impacting most industries.

As such, it’s important that we continue to provide a comprehensive view of the latest thinking and activities in the mining sector, while exploring the intersection of technology, people, and operations. Drawing on extensive interviews with mining leaders, we gauge their business outlook, investment strategies, and how they see technology shaping a more sustainable future.

With so much uncertainty, we discovered mining leaders are notably subdued and cautious. However, many share greater optimism for the mid-term and beyond.

As we observe across industries, mining leader’s operating costs have accelerated sharply, introducing significant pressure to stretch technology investments further. In parallel, there’s an increasing need to build the digital talent necessary for the industry’s future.

According to our research, mining leaders know that the right underlying architecture is key to building a digital advantage and they are taking steps toward becoming more innovative and sustainable. As Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), LEO Satellite availability, and AI offerings mature, the next stage of digital evolution in mining is already underway, with leaders shifting their focus to hybrid cloud, intelligent networks, and advanced automation.

A bright future

Despite a gloomy economic outlook, Natalie Taylor, President, WA Mining Club says the Australian mining sector has lots to be hopeful about.

“In Western Australia, investments remain strong as does overseas interest. Energy transition is accelerating, which will see the demand for metals and minerals grow in time. Additionally, as the big focus on decarbonization sees the rollout of new technologies en masse, demand for raw materials and several commodities has shot up. This increased consumption is poised to outstrip the industry’s ability to ramp up supply, which may result in commodity deficits.”

From a technology standpoint, Taylor adds that next-gen mining technologies such as predictive maintenance and fully autonomous vehicles have a huge role to play in reducing risk and increasing productivity and that the sector needs to actively leverage these opportunities.

Building digital capabilities for the future

The current economic environment has resulted in mining leaders pulling back on technology spending. However, it is worth noting this slowdown is relative to historically high investment levels seen in the last few years as companies leveraged lower interest rates and higher market demand, particularly from China.

Instead, mining leaders are using this time to strategize how they can maximize the value of their existing investments and what they need to do to ensure their infrastructure remains futureproof. Amid ongoing supply chain issues, heightened cybersecurity risk, and growing ESG compliance, mining leaders agree that technology and innovation are the keys to managing through a changing landscape while reducing costs, increasing operational efficiency, and improving worker safety.

From our field work and discussions with leaders, it appears more mining companies are focused on building digital capabilities, including leveraging open industrial IoT platforms and business networks integrated with enterprise applications to improve employee engagement and increase process efficiency. Hybrid and multi-cloud solutions are being deployed to simplify cloud complexity, modernize applications, and optimize supply chain operations.

Mining leaders are prioritizing IT/OT convergence as simplicity, agility, and risk management become more critical in maintaining a competitive advantage. Meanwhile, extending digital capabilities to the edge is enabling near real-time decision making through low-latency data exchange and data analytics.

Miners are also scaling their data analytics infrastructure to enable intelligent data utilization from multiple sources, including connected production assets, their supply chain, field service, and customers. As the number of connected industrial assets grows, ensuring secure machine-to-machine communications through distributed security will become vital, as will having the infrastructure to support data governance procedures to clarify data ownership and IP protection.

Building for the Future

While leaders are right to be cautious about growth amid ongoing economic uncertainty, mining leaders are revising their technology priorities among other strategic initiatives with the future in mind.

To take full advantage of the next generational opportunity of critical minerals, they understand the need to strengthen their underlying core infrastructure that connects and powers a global ecosystem of people, devices, and data – millions of terabytes of it – generated by advanced technologies.

Whether leveraging global data centers for reduced latency or building a multicloud architecture with edge connectivity to minimize data costs, mining leaders must look at how digital transformation initiatives can increase productivity, drive cost savings, enable market expansion, and become more agile.

Adopting emerging technologies that integrate seamlessly and deriving maximum value from them, must be the new digital transformation goal for miners. It is how Australian mining companies can set themselves up to pivot in the right direction to capitalize as new opportunities arise.

As Australian miners look to differentiate and press home their advantage, it is clear that taking a digital infrastructure approach is enabling them to scale with agility, multiply business value, and launch new digital services globally.

For more detailed insights, access the full research report.

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Guy Danskine Managing Director, Australia
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