Thank you for attending World Mining Congress 2023. Over the coming weeks, we will share the results and outcomes of this magnificent event, attended by over 3,500 participants.
Australia’s internationally renowned national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is the proud host of the 26th World Mining Congress (WMC 2023).
With 5,500 talented people working at over 50 sites across Australia and internationally, CSIRO is one of the largest and most diverse research organisations in the world.Congress Host Information
Sessions and paper types
Autonomous systems are being adopted by the mining industry; the rate of adoption has increased since the first industrial introduction of Autonomous Haulage systems in Australia circa 2008 and now spans drill and blast through to processing and beneficiation.
Surface and underground operations are looking towards the introduction of Autonomous Systems to improve productivity and deliver superior outcomes in terms of Health Safety and the Environment. Advances in processing automation and increasing yields and driving new levels of sustainability in the sector.
In recognition of the above, this stream will consider three important drivers that are required, in combination, to deliver the operational benefits that Autonomous Systems can bring to Global Mining Operations.
We will explore these elements against using broad time frames;
We will map the migration of Autonomous Systems from the wider commercial and industrial landscape into at-scale Mining enabling, for example, either motive/vehicular (e.g. trucks, trains. loaders, ancillary equipment etc) or advanced AI enabled decision making systems (e.g. process control, human safety tracking etc)
We acknowledge that Autonomous (Mining) Systems embed, at industrial-scale, elements of Artificial Intelligence - defined as a collection of interrelated technologies used to solve problems and perform tasks that, when humans do them, requires thinking. Generally we recognise this will encompass a subset of the following elements,
We wish to explore what steps the ecosystem should take to build a pathway to enable platform component interoperability which will promote the more extensive exploitation of this exciting technology across the Mining industry.
We also wish to explore the important role of the regulator in assessing and approving use of Autonomy in the mining industry. This is required to enable the at-scale implementation of a functionally safe autonomous technology supported workplace. This exploration will cover the need for the mine owners, equipment manufacturers and regulators to coordinate activities to achieve this outcome.
The Autonomous Systems stream will bring together the perspectives of mining companies, equipment manufacturers, technology providers and researchers.
Importantly, this workstream will look beyond pure technology to explore and understand human factors, organizational and change management elements that must be addressed to maximise the value that Autonomous Systems offers. We note that these drivers are essentially Trust Based, we intend to explore, at a more fundamental level, how they can be engineered into the operating landscape.
Global energy transitions will require very substantial increases in supply of many critical materials. For example, annual demand for battery materials - lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese, vanadium, graphite - is expected to increase by over 450% by 2050. Rare earth minerals are vital for the manufacture of electronic goods and, whilst not rare, are distributed unevenly around the world. The Congress will discuss advancements in exploration, extraction, processing, refining and recycling of these critical and strategic materials and explore the global market, environmental and social implications of their production and use. Discussion will range into the opportunities for international collaboration in equipment, technologies and supply chains to deliver the global energy and technology transitions at affordable prices with minimum delays. Topics discussed will include:
Arguably the world’s most critical pollution problem is the emission of greenhouse gases that are raising global temperatures to dangerous levels. International pressures to reduce the use of fossil fuels will have a transformative effect on our industry. Our industry has the opportunity to take a lead role in addressing this problem and the Congress will examine the steps that companies are making in this area and explore how, acting together, we might do more. By, for example:
Mines are situated in space and impact the surrounding environmental and social ecosystems. At a site scale, environmental management is an increasingly important aspect of site operations encompassing waste and water management, emissions reduction, biodiversity restoration, rehabilitation and closure. At a regional scale, the accumulation of mining activity can affect regional water systems, landscapes and mining legacies. At a global level, environmental performance is becoming increasingly salient for investors looking to finance projects delivering against the United nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The topics to be covered in this stream include:
As a Congress highlight, the two streams of Environmental Sustainability and Social Performance & Governance will, in conjunction and the Cooperative Research Centre for Transformations in Mining Economies (CRC TiME), hold a Special Symposium on Mine Closure and Post-Mining Transitions.
The different Congress streams highlight new technologies that will change our industry in dramatic ways in the coming years and decades. What implications does this have for the future workforce? What skills will these people need? How will we attract the people with the relevant skills? How will university courses need to change? How can we make our workforce more inclusive? These topics will be explored. Stream topics will include:
Future education challenges for mining industry professionals
Future workforce skills
Future ways of working
Through this Stream we are also seeking to engage with and attract as many students and early career workers from around the world as possible to physically attend the Congress or, where this is not possible, to engage with the Congress through a Student Challenge team contest - see below.
The Congress will highlight and discuss new data acquisition techniques and geoscience knowledge to support mineral exploration. Key focus areas include exploration under deep cover, attracting exploration to frontier or greenfield regions, data collection and synthesis to unravel the fingerprints of ore-forming systems, characterisation to inform exploration, ore body knowledge, and modelling supported with artificial intelligence. The Congress will also examine the latest advancement and application of geophysics, structural geology, engineering geology for reliable mine characterisation for geological, geotechnical and geohydrological conditions. Specifically, the stream will discuss:
This stream will examine both seemingly intractable longstanding safety and health challenges and new issues that have arisen as mining technology and mining workplaces have evolved. It will aim to provide a fresh lens through which to view health and safety improvement. Key topics to be covered include: recent developments in risk management, critical controls, and control effectiveness, creating a psychologically well workplace, leadership and safe behaviours, using automation, artificial intelligence, and digitalisation to enhance safety, enhanced use of data including leading indicators, dust and airborne emissions, the connection between operational and safety improvements, and the journey map from inadequate, to excellent, safety and health performance. Specifically:
Health and Wellbeing
AI and Automation
Data Driven Improvement
Leadership and Culture
Risk Management and Controls
This stream will highlight novel mine design solutions and engineering value enhancements in current and proposed mines. It will also feature developments to transform mining methodologies and operational practices with rapidly changing trends towards automation, waste minimisation, low-carbon operating environments, and mining of increasingly complex orebodies. Specifically, topics to be covered will include:
These topics will be brought together and illustrated by case studies showing how new mining technologies and operational practices can lead to extraordinary productivity and economic improvements, along with positive safety, environmental and social outcomes.
This stream will explore emerging and longer-term mining opportunities including space resources, ultradeep operations, undersea exploration and rediscovery. It will also provide the forum for visionary thinking to imagine what our industry might look like in the future - thinking forward to the next 10, 20 and 50 years from now. It will offer opportunities to explore how science, technology and innovation will offer new pathways, accelerate convergence of sectors, and facilitate safer and more sustainable resource utilisation. The stream will also bring together key stakeholders from the space and mining industry to put forward interests, shared challenges and capabilities to support greater levels of science and industrial collaboration. Specifically:
Pioneering Mining Concepts
Deep Sea Exploration
Industry faces the challenges not only of complex mineralogy but declining ore grades, access to suitable process water, increasing energy costs and handling of tailings. The Congress will examine process optimization to address these problems by reviewing the latest developments in geometallurgy and ore sorting, including the front-end rejection of gangue and, where feasible, in-situ mining and recovery. Big data utilisation and development of novel processing routes for increasingly complex low-grade ores will be a focus. Specifically we will examine:
Mineral Processing/Smelt/Refine Interface
This stream will address big questions such as: how to ensure that mining around the globe is conducted in ways that respect human rights, promote social inclusion and contribute positively to local communities and the wider society; how to maximise mining's contribution to social and economic development at the local, regional and national levels; how to engage appropriately with local communities and Indigenous people; how to lessen the impacts of mine closures on communities and regions and enable positive post-mining futures; and, how to ensure that global supplies of critical and strategic minerals are responsibly developed and sourced. These issues will be examined through the mining lifecycle, including - approval, construction, operation expansion, closure and relinquishment - taking an interdisciplinary perspective and exploring international frameworks such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Topics will include:
Mining, Human Rights and Social Inclusion
Mining and Development
Community and Stakeholder Engagement
Mine Closure and Post-Mining Transitions
Responsible Sourcing and Development of Critical minerals - joint session with Critical Minerals Stream
Communities, Workforces and Technological Transformations in Mining
This stream will showcase a broad range of case studies with a backdrop of research initiatives in surface and underground mining covering both the coal and metalliferous sectors. The stream will also feature emerging trends and applications – both proven and novel, and operational practices. Topics to be covered include: