What Could A Post Pandemic Boost Mean For Suppliers Of Mining Equipment And Systems?

Published 2 July '20

When it was announced that Western Australian mines were declared essential and they were going to continue operating through the pandemic, the positive impact was unprecedented. This move not only protected the Western Australian economy, but keeping Australian mines running has endlessly supported the constantly unpredictable Australian economy.

The world’s economic growth is expected to contract sharply in the coming months and most likely into the New Year. However, the mining industry’s decision to continue operating through the pandemic has positioned it strongly to take advantage of the global recovery and the ongoing demand for resources in developing economies.

Some of Australia’s biggest mining competitors such as Brazil, South Africa and India have currently closed down a large amount of their mining operations to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. These mining nations will be significantly hampered by the halt of activity, but because Australian minerals companies continue to operate, it is estimated that the Australian mining industry will see positive growth in our post pandemic economy.

This growth however will cause our mining operations to reinvent themselves to adopt to our new normal. The sector is likely to see a post COVID-19 reconstruction in the form of mining equipment, technology and services, which have seen an increased demand, even during the pandemic.

The emphasis placed on the mining industry’s major contribution to the country’s economy, means that projects needs to be fast tracked to increase regional jobs and investment. In the past few years mining operators have started engaging in digital transformation projects, and we can only expect these initiatives to accelerate due to the pandemic. In the new normal, productivity, efficiency and worker health and safety will be more important than ever.

However, what does this acceleration mean for the suppliers of mining equipment and systems? It means that their orders will swell with a dramatic increase in demand for automation technology and remote operations capabilities, such as Volumetric Scanners and Truck Scales.

The automation of critical processes will be vital to increase operational efficiency and mine productivity. The companies that are providing more modern and technologically advanced systems and equipment, particularly around data analytics and automation, will have seen or will see a rapid increase in demand for their services.

The pandemic has not only inspired a business surge for the mining equipment and systems companies, but COVID-19 has provided a fantastic opportunity to commercialise the technical capability we already have but just haven’t harnessed yet. The shift to more digital and automated procedures in mining has been building for many years, however the

pandemic seems to have given mining businesses the kick that they needed to move forward. It is now a matter of health and safety for their workers, who without, they wouldn’t have been able to continue operating through this difficult time.

This rapidly accelerating shift into the new digital footprint is becoming a scramble as what was originally planned to be done by 2030 is now needed by 2022. A positive for the suppliers of this technology, but a huge shift for the mining industry. This is not only directly related to the Australian mining industry, but because we haven’t stopped mining operations, we have a small head start on our competitors who have had to temporarily stop.

Our global competitors will likely accelerate their operations into the digital world, as soon as they possibly can, once they see what other countries mining industries are doing of course. It will become a global rush to complete and overhaul systems to ensure that the automation will strengthen production and also remove some pandemic related constraints that could continue for years.

As one of the top five producers of some of the world’s most key mineral commodities, the Australian mining industry is extremely important to not only our economy but supply chains around the world. This has been solidified by the pandemic and has helped to keep the nation afloat during a time of uncertainty.

As a top producer it is essential that our industry continues to integrate technology and automation where necessary to not only improve our operations and production but keep the health and safety of our workers top of mind. The benefit of this will be seen by great Australian mining equipment and systems suppliers, who will see an increase in need for their products and create an incredible boost within their sector, during an especially difficult time for all.