In the late 1800s, a gold rush boosted the economy of Charters Towers – an outback town in Queensland, Australia – so much that it opened its own stock exchange. Although it’s no longer trading, the building is still standing. Across the 20th century, though, the town’s fortunes see-sawed, as metal prices rose and fell, and demand for mining fluctuated.

As illustrated by Charters Towers, the mining industry is heavily influenced by external change. To take full advantage of the beneficial changes, and remain resilient in the face of detrimental ones, mining companies around the world need to anticipate, understand, and respond to the trends facing the industry.

Driven by global issues

So, what are these trends, and what are the factors behind them? Wider global issues – encompassing political, economic, technological, and environmental, social, and governmental (ESG) topics – are influencing several key trends. Next to this, declining ore grades and environmental strain mean mining increasingly happens in hard-to-reach, remote locations.

Together with developments in geometallurgy and big data, and the impact of COVID-19, these remote locations are driving the need for real-time, in-field, and automated analysis. Last but not least, growing concern for the climate and stricter governmental regulation is encouraging more thorough waste management and increased use of secondary or recycled materials.

Materials analysis: The key to navigating change

High-performance materials analysis solutions can help miners tackle the challenges and seize the opportunities among these trends. For instance, more frequent, accurate monitoring can ensure mining still delivers high-value materials despite lower-grade ores.

Online solutions enable a greater degree of automation, making work in remote locations more feasible. Portable, multi-sensor, instruments are expanding the options for real-time, in-field analysis. And waste characterization helps prevent harmful substances from reaching the environment and allows secondary materials to be recycled when possible.

Solutions to keep you prepared

At Malvern Panalytical, we provide many of these advanced materials analysis solutions. For instance, our ASD FieldSpec and portable TerraSpec Halo NIR spectrometers as well as our Epsilon 1 XRF spectrometer enable real-time, in-field mineralogical and elemental monitoring, for optimal grade control and ore blends.

What’s more, our tailored solutions include remote sensing, online, and automated options, making remote access to dangerous or inaccessible sites easier. And, when it comes to environmental monitoring, our Epsilon online XRF spectrometers rapidly detect traces of toxic elements in mine wastewater. This allows miners to optimize their waste management and take action to prevent environmental damage.

And these are just some of our solutions for the mining industry. Together with our tailored expertise and application support, they can help you be prepared for the inevitable ups and downs of mining – as the history of Charters Towers so well demonstrates.

Further reading