A continued positive upswing in mineral exploration was reflected in attendance numbers at this year’s PDAC convention held in Toronto at the start of March. A news release from convention organisers confirmed numbers swelled to over 25,000 delegates from 130 countries.
“After my 44th straight year attending the PDAC Convention, the enthusiasm I saw from exhibitors and attendees in 2019 was among the best yet,” said PDAC President Glenn Mullan. “Although we continue to face economic challenges and uncertainty, the mineral exploration and mining industry is experiencing a renaissance and renewed sense of confidence, highlighting its resilience once more.”
The positive upswing was also noted in S&P Global’s 2018 World Exploration Trends annual report. The overall global exploration budget for nonferrous metals increased again for a second consecutive year. 2018 closed with upward momentum, yet 2019 predictions warn of some volatility persisting in exploration metrics, but with an overall upward trend of increases of 15 to 20% year-over-year. Late-stage exploration activities are still being favoured and feed a small increase again in the global exploration budget, however grassroots exploration is still low and this is causing concern of a thinning project pipeline in the industry.
The mineral exploration industry is continuing to experience a proliferation of data production. The uptake of sensors and the flow on effect of collecting data from numerous sources is increasing each year. Industry-wide adoption of the technology seems to be occurring.
Part of the challenge, noted by guest speaker Robin Fell from Goldcorp on a panel discussion hosted at acQuire’s booth, was how to harness this data by turning it into quality information and then make decisions from it.
The drive for finding new technologies and innovative solutions to problems was again reflected in the popularity of the annual Goldcorp and KPMG event, #DisruptMining. Players from other industries are participating in the event to look at ways to apply their technologies and approaches to mining which may help make fantastic technology or solution discoveries.
The annual event, a mining innovation accelerator, offers entrepreneurs a platform to bring disruptive and exponential technologies to the sector. During the PDAC convention, semi-finalists had the opportunity to showcase their ideas at the innovation expo, the largest innovation-focused networking event at PDAC. Three #DisruptMining finalists pitched their competing ideas at the live “shark-tank” style gala, with ANDRITZ, a leading supplier of machines and automation solutions worldwide taking out the top award.
The company developed a unique and continuous way of training artificial intelligence to operate a mineral processing facility using ANDRITZ’s digital twin. The trained AI’s ability to quickly process information and recommend data-driven solutions allows for operational improvements.
Technology such as artificial intelligence and automation is becoming more common in practical applications rather than just being talked about. Automation helps achieve time savings, cost savings, allowing quicker access to data, and aiding in health and safety matters. Automation is appearing across equipment and also software technologies.
Witnessing the industry-wide adoption occurring of these technologies marks an exciting future towards smarter mining.
acQuire attended the four day convention from 3 – 6 March, hosting a booth on the Trade Show floor to showcase latest geoscience data software developments. Keep an eye on acQuire’s newsroom for post-event podcasts and videos from lively discussions, presentations and interviews with industry experts during the event.
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