‘Rental mining equipment demand on the rise’

mining distel2610 pixabayRise in demand for precious metals as well as coal has generated a huge demand for rental mining equipment globally

The demand for precious metals such as gold, platinum, and silver is on the rise. Apart from minerals and metals, there is increased demand for coal due to rise in thermal power generation to cater to the growing demand for electricity. Such activities will generate a huge demand for rental mining equipment such as longwall machines, continuous machines, cable shovels and hydraulic shovels.

According to Anju Ajaykumar, lead analyst at Technavio for unit operations research, “Rising demand for minerals and metals from developed as well as emerging economies, will encourage mining equipment rental companies to increase their capital expenditure. Untapped markets like Africa and Latin America will pave the way for mining equipment rental companies. DR Congo and Zambia in Africa and Brazil, Chile, and Peru in Latin America are likely to trigger the recovery of the global mining industry.”

The top three emerging market trends driving the global mining equipment rental market, according to Technavio research analysts include –

Emergence of deepsea mining: Onshore mineral-rich mines are nearing exhaustion, which has shifted the focus on offshore mining activities. The bottom of the ocean is rich in precious metals and other resources, including diamonds, gold, and cobalt. This makes it crucial to develop technology that can facilitate deep-sea mining to cater to the increasing demand for minerals and metals.

The world’s first deep-sea mining is likely to commence in 2019 by a Canadian firm Nautilus Minerals, in the Bismarck Sea site Solwara-1 at the coast of Papua New Guinea to mine gold and copper reserves. It is estimated that the reserve contains 10 times the minerals as compared with an onshore reserve. The inevitable increase in the demand for mineral coupled with low supply has encouraged many firms to consider operations at the bottom of the ocean, where reserves of nickel, copper, and cobalt are thought to be in abundance.

Digitisation of mining activities: Digital revolution will transform industrial activities encompassing even the most trivial application. Digitization is changing operating and business models, reshaping competitive dynamics, and in some cases altering the entire fabric of an industry. With the help of digitalization, there is a huge potential for reducing the waste generated during the operations.

One of the major changes in operation will result because of the implementation of automation in core processes. This will help the processes to become fully integrated with remote capabilities made possible by a network of low cost, autonomous, highly capable sensors that use IoT technologies. For instance, Barrick Gold along with Cisco is expected to reinvent its operations digitally. The major goal is to cut down the associated costs and bring out the additional value of existing mines.

Tracking technology and fleet management applications and software: Rental companies are now offering GPS-equipped machines to increase the efficiency of fleet management. The use of global positioning system along with the integration of other such technologies would enable a wide range of high-tech functions that would not only make the tracking of the fleets easier but also enable efficient fleet management. The clients or customers can keep track of their entire fleet equipped with rented mining equipment. These applications can increase the efficiency of inventory management and reduce annual rental costs significantly. For instance, Komatsu, a global mining and construction equipment manufacturer, and General Electric announced their plans of providing big data analysis services with the help of IoT technology that would increase efficiency during the mining operations.

“The development of fleet maintenance and management software has provided numerous benefits to the mining equipment rental companies in terms of maintaining functional machinery and reducing the overall maintenance cost. Fleet management software ensures optimal truck positioning and routes, braking and optimal speed with flow-on benefits to decrease equipment downtime, and improve fuel efficiency during shipments between different locations,” says Anju.

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