Mining industry pursues sustainability
Two companies offer solutions toward low-carbon transition Metal Tech News – July 21, 2021
Last updated 7/27/2021 at 4:40pm
European digital solutions companies AVEVA Group plc and Schneider Electric SE have combined their technological expertise to support sustainability initiatives of mining companies in four key pillars - energy efficiency, yield improvement, low greenhouse emission technology adoptions, and new green processes.
France-based Schneider Electric is a multinational energy and automation digital solutions provider focused on efficiency and sustainability. The company applies these solutions to homes, commercial buildings, data centers, infrastructure, and industries by combining energy technologies, real-time automation, software, and services.
AVEVA, headquartered in Cambridge, England, is a global leader in industrial software that drives digital transformation and sustainability. The company leverages information and artificial intelligence paired with human insight to enable partners to use their data to unlock new value.
According to "Transitioning to Sustainable Mining, Minerals, and Metals Practices," an IDC Technology Spotlight report sponsored by AVEVA and Schneider Electric, the top three market pressures driving the sustainability agendas of mining and metals organizations are:
• The need to improve brand equity.
• A reduction of risk to adverse events.
• Ensuring compliance with current and future regulations.
"Technology has a critical role to play in supporting mining companies," said Ben Kirkwood, senior research manager at IDC Energy Insights – WW Mining. "Efforts to hit sustainability targets and gain greater visibility and control over operations will enable corporate insight and action relating to energy, water usage, and management of the operational environment. IDC's global analysis of the revenue growth and profitability of industrial companies shows that those with a committed and ongoing sustainability-based strategy combined with long-term, funded, digital transformation agenda considerably outperform their competitors."
As the world continues its shift toward low-carbon and sustainability practices, Schneider Electric and AVEVA provide tools required by organizations to make informed decisions that will enable people across the mining, metals, and related value chains to be more strategic in their choices based on sound advice with sustainability in mind.
However, according to the IDC Technology Spotlight, the mining industry faces an apparent backlash from its perceived stagnant position on sustainability, and many companies walk a tightrope between brand equity and revenue. As a result, mining companies have begun focusing on the importance of sustainable practices in response to pressures from employees, customers, investors, and the public.
This requirement to improve perceptions and manage resources at the same time means that mining companies are focusing on areas such as renewable power sourcing and improved safety performance. This balance is critical for these companies because of its implications for access to talent and investor funding in the industry.
"Although the benefits of digital transformation are crystal clear, the mining industry has thus far been limited by legacy infrastructure, data inadequacies, and piecemeal optimization programs," said Martin Provencher, industry principal of mining, metals, and materials at AVEVA. "Increasingly virulent cyberattacks and a growing mandate for decarbonized minerals have further emphasized the importance of having high data availability and embracing a secure, cloud-first approach to visualize and contextualize enterprise-wide processes across global operations."
Corporate Knights, a Canadian media, research, and financial products magazine, recently named Schneider Electric as the world's most sustainable company. According to the IDC Technology Spotlight, Schneider Electric's EcoStruxure platform combined with AVEVA's Digital Mining and Metals Transformation solutions can provide the operational and organizational insight required to make sustainable operations and improved decisions through the collection and analysis of data.
"The combination of Schneider Electric's energy management solutions, automation systems and services, and AVEVA's digital mining transformation solutions enable our customers to transform conventional mining operations into intelligent, resilient and sustainable undertakings," finished Provencher.
The partner companies aim to decarbonize the mining, minerals, and metals value chains by providing an industrial internet of things platform with technology and software elements supporting the capability for energy management and automation.
Key takeaways from the Spotlight paper are a need to gain awareness of how technology can assist in the sustainability of mining initiatives that will provide mining companies with the tools and capabilities required to drive safety, lower operating costs, improve their sustainability outlook, and become better, societally recognized, corporate social citizens.
Other highlighted takeaways from the report are:
• Sustainability strategy improvements are the number one driver for the future of mining organizations.
• 71% of mining organizations support sustainability goals with established formal programs endorsed by executive sponsorship. 87% have business processes that are standardized and transparent across all functional groups.
• Despite 56.6% of organizations having implemented operational metrics linked to sustainability goals, only 37.1% utilize sustainability scorecards, impacting the ability to create value and success from those initiatives.
• 27.4% of mining and metals organizations see improving brand equity as a top driver for sustainability, compared with the overall industry standard of 18%.
• Mining, minerals, and metals companies are on the road to delivering impactful outcomes outside traditional power purchase agreements – but have a long way to go presently.
• Digital integrated operations can address key areas of the industrywide sustainability agenda by combining power and process intelligence and controls.