The Mining Automation Market Size was valued at USD 4.4 billion in 2022. It is estimated to reach USD 11.3 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 11.1% during the forecast period (2023–2031).
Mining companies are creating an adaptive and responsive culture to strengthen their competitive advantages. Automation is helping mining companies increase sales and profit by synchronizing the demand chain and improving customer service. With fewer minerals being found and mines getting older, autonomous systems are being used to help crewed vehicles by giving them information about where they are, warnings about collisions, and other ways to make driving easier. Robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) are continually advancing, enabling businesses to pursue automation to increase production efficiency. Models that predict where known deposits are likely to be found in locations with similar features can be created using AI and ML.
|Market Size||USD 11.3 billion by 2030|
|Fastest Growing Market||Asia Pacific|
|Largest Market||Asia Pacific|
|Report Coverage||Revenue Forecast, Competitive Landscape, Growth Factors, Environment & Regulatory Landscape and Trends|
The advent of new technology benefits the entire mining cycle, starting from exploration through production and ending with closure. Automated drones are used to survey mineral-deposited sites located remotely and are challenging to reach. Drones can be used to check underground activities and mining equipment and keep an eye on them. Furthermore, drones can be used for stockpile management, automatic surveying and mapping, haulage, and road transportation. For instance, BHP, a leading mining company known for its active introduction of drones in their mines, has announced the drone's practical usage in sea freight.
Robotics and autonomous vehicles are used for production activities. Robots powered by AI can perform various tasks, including blasting, drilling loading, hauling, ore sampling, and rescuing trapped miners. An autonomous load haul dump vehicle can carry the ores from mines to the port. In the coming years, nearly 50% of manual jobs are expected to be replaced by robotic devices. Furthermore, 3D imaging technology, automated drilling, an advanced airborne gravity gradiometer for mineral exploration, and an advanced shaft and tunnel boring system are expected to ease mining operations. So, the fact that there is high-tech mining equipment is helping the mining automation market grow.
The high risk associated with mining operations makes safety a priority, as many mishaps have taken place in recent years. Improving safety also helps the company cut down on the costs that can occur due to damage or accidents at the mine site. So, a well-run management system helps improve safety performance and can benefit the company financially. COVID-19 significantly affected employment in the mining industry, leading to many more companies using automation technology. In the future of mining, safety efforts will be sustained by new technological approaches that stretch the safety net beyond what training procedures can provide. New smart programs and technologies, like the Global Positioning System (GPS), location awareness technology, RFIDs, and collision detection and avoidance, make workers safer.
The mining companies are implementing wireless network technology that allows Internet Protocol (IP) telephones, and advanced positioning technology are installed in several mines. The enhanced communications and monitoring systems make locating, communicating, and supporting workers easy during normal and emergencies. For instance, the connected mine solution provided by Rockwell Automation, Inc. offers RFID tags that keep track of the workers carrying out underground mining operations. The wireless cameras also help keep track of the employees in rugged environments, and the digital signage systems deliver safety warnings in emergencies. Thus, updating traditional mining practices with those of automated ones for labor safety help drive the mining automation market.
In the coming years, the high costs of buying and maintaining automated equipment and solutions will likely slow the industry's growth. Apart from the high price, the need for more skilled personnel to operate this automated equipment and proper training for automotive engineers may significantly impact the demand. Additionally, even after purchasing brand-new automated equipment, these machines require a lot of maintenance before they start to pay off. Funding such devices and equipment hinders the growth of the mining automation market.
Several mines are still facing the challenge of a lack of investment funds to adopt any new technology. Another factor expected to challenge the growth includes the higher prices of these machines attributable to the new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emission regulations. More rules will likely slow the industry's growth from local and international regulators handling these heavy machines. Also, mandates regarding the safety of the operator and workers in the workplace are anticipated to impact product demand, hampering the market's growth.
The growing number of government initiatives in the mining sector likely drives the adoption of automated solutions. In 2019, the South Australian Government announced an investment plan in mineral exploration and innovative technology. The initiative's objective was to assist South Australians in discovering new mineral and groundwater resources. It included the co-funding program for single and multi-drilling in frontier terrains, innovation, technologically advanced exploration ideas, advanced logistics support, and the identification and testing of new groundwater resources.
Additionally, the Government of India launched the National Mineral Policy 2019, presenting a significant opportunity for investors. India's metal and mining sector is witnessing a major reform in terms of a rise in infrastructure development and building renewable energy projects. The recent auction of commercial coal mines in India is the first step in strengthening the mining sector. Mining automation will probably become more important and present many excellent opportunities over the next couple of years as a result of the government's increased interest and businesses' increased investment.
Asia-Pacific Dominates the Global Market
By region, the global mining automation monitoring market is divided into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa.
Asia-Pacific is the most significant shareholder in the global mining automation monitoring market and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 12.3% during the forecast period. Australia's growing use of automation technology is likely to drive the growth of the mining automation market in the Asia-Pacific region. Minerals are taken out of the ground in Australia safely and effectively with the help of robots and remote-controlled machinery. There should be significant industry growth opportunities due to the untapped drilling and exploration potential in countries with developing economies like China and India over the forecast period.
For instance, in 2022, Sandvik AB, an engineering firm that produces, develops, and markets tools for machinery, tools for rock excavation, metalworking applications, special alloys, stainless steel products, resistance heating materials, and process systems, acquired Deswik, a business with offices in Australia. The company provides a variety of integrated software and consulting solutions for the mining industry, such as operations planning, mining data management, computer 3D mine design, and more. Additionally, the Asia-Pacific region's dense population, rising per capita income, extensive industrialization, and urbanization fuel the expansion of discrete and process industries, which boosts demand for materials like metals, coal, minerals, and ores.
North America is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.1% during the forecast period. The United States and Canada both have considerable room for expansion, so this is seen as a promising region. In the Canadian province of Alberta, oil sands are being dug up and moved by autonomous haul trucks made by Komatsu Ltd. This is done to transform them into crude oil, a byproduct of the process. The growing mining sectors in the region are expected to drive market growth over the forecast period.
Mining is one of the most productive industries in Latin America and contributes significantly to the country's GDP. Latin America contains about one-fifth of the world's iron ore reserves, with Brazil and Venezuela having the largest concentrations. Similarly, non-ferrous metals are in plentiful supply in Latin America. Mining companies in Latin America have started using cutting-edge automation technologies in their operations and are slowly putting more money into the region. In a similar way, Bolivia's new mining policy lets mining companies enter the country's mining industry through a joint venture or a leasing agreement. The growth of Bolivia's mining sector has been dramatically enhanced by allowing foreign investment.
The Middle East and Africa (MEA) region has more opportunities to look for minerals and resources to build infrastructure as a result of more government programs in Africa. The increasing demand for metal mining dramatically influences the region's growth. For example, MSALABS said in December 2020 that it would use PhotonAssay to analyze things at the mine on-site. MSALABS has a full range of geochemical laboratory services, especially for the mining and exploration industries. The PhotonAssay technology uses energy X-rays in less than two minutes to analyze silver, gold, and complementary metals. In addition to presenting the reading of unbiased chemicals or the piece's physical form, it allows samples weighing more than 500 g to be measured. The X-ray assay method no longer destroys the sample, allowing more tests.
The global mining automation market is segmented by solution and application.
The global mining automation market is divided into software automation, services, and equipment automation.
The software automation segment is the highest contributor to the market and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 12.9% over the forecast period. Mining software automation allows the administrator to increase accountability, identify productivity bottlenecks, and better understand the return on investment. Mining companies use mining automation software or processes to get a better handle on their business. Automating the process with the software makes the mining industry utterly devoid of human labor. For instance, the Mine Automation System (MAS) developed by Rio Tinto Group includes 3D visualization and VR to extract minerals from deep within the earth, thereby reducing various environmental hazards caused by mining.
Equipment automation in mining includes autonomous trucks, remote control equipment, and teleoperated mining. Autonomous trucks are self-driving trucks with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) technology, including self-driving software with updated automatic gear changing, power steering systems, radar, and a stereo camera. Teleoperated mining includes cameras and sensors used for mine automation. Camera sensors and video surveillance applied in the mine environment automatically identify equipment with missing parts and offer better integration of robust video analytics and camera systems in automation tools such as process controllers and supervision systems. For instance, Mobibus, developed by Autonomous Solutions Inc., automates various mining equipment such as dozers, excavators, rigid haulers, and articulated dump trucks.
The global mining automation market is divided into metal mining, mineral mining, and coal mining.
The mineral mining segment owns the highest market share and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11.6% over the forecast period. Mineral mining is the extraction of minerals from their ores. The ores are rocks that contain concentrations of valuable metals, such as bauxite for aluminum, galena for lead, and cassiterite for tin. Surface mining and underground mining are the two main subcategories of mineral mining. The surface mining technique extracts mineral ores from the earth’s surface. The blasting removes rocks and soil from the ore, and the large trucks carry these rocks to the factories where the ores are separated. The surface mining technique includes quarrying, strip mining, and open-pit mining. The underground mining technique is used to extract deep underground ores. Blasting tunnels into the rock to get to the ore deposits is a dangerous process that sometimes results in the miners becoming trapped.
Coal mining refers to the process of extracting coal from the ground. Since the 1880s, coal has been widely used to generate electricity due to its high energy content. Coal mining employs both underground mining and surface mining techniques for the extraction of coal from the ground. The surface mining technique is applicable when the coal is less than 200 feet below the surface, and the underground mining technique is suitable when the coal is more than 1,000 feet below. After the coal extraction, with the help of the conveyor belt, it is sent to a preparation plant located at the site. Further, the plant processes the coal to remove rock, dirt, ash, and other unwanted materials, increasing the value of coal.
The global mining automation market’s major key players are