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Opinion: Digitalisation in the Namibian mining industry: New opportunities

2021-07-16  Staff Reporter

Opinion: Digitalisation in the Namibian mining industry: New opportunities
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Silas David 

 

Namibia is one of the world leaders in mineral extraction of numerous valuable raw materials, of which about 80% are exported. 

The Namibian mining industry forms the foundation for many of the country’s industrial capacity and foreign investment. However, the traditional field methods of development are becoming extremely expensive. 

The productivity rate in mining operations are dropping due to maintenance costs, unreliable equipment, reactive troubleshooting, low capacity factors and incidents related to safety violations. 

The question we need to ask ourselves is what technologies can we implement to ensure that the development of modern industry and the workplace and environmental safety issues in the mining industry, are dealt with effectively?

During the transitory years, mining operations were carried out progressively in multifaceted and treacherous geological and climatic conditions, which significantly obfuscates the partaking of personnel in mining processes, which prerequisite highly qualified professionals.

In order to upsurge production rate efficacy in line with industrial safety standards, there is a need to develop pioneering elucidations for the Namibian mining industry. 

This includes implementing dispatching and diagnostic systems, automatic or unmanned control systems for dumping trucks and drilling rigs and predictive maintenance, and analytics for solving mining process optimisation problems.

These systems will upsurge efficiency in all equipment for solid raw material extraction, including dispatching control by 10 - 20%. 

The implementation of automatic dispatching and optimisation of control and conveyor equipment makes it possible to increase the productivity of the excavator and truck fleet by 5 – 15%, reduce equipment operation costs by up to 8%, reduce expenditure on fuel by 5 -10%, as well reduce non-technological downtime by 80%.

The maturity reached in bilateral relations between Namibia and many African, American and European countries gives us a unique opportunity to diversify bilateral trade by increasing the share of high-technology products and implementing joint projects in the field of innovation. We need to endorse networking between chambers of commerce and industry, business councils, professional associations and unions, intensify alliances between business entities through joint projects, trade fairs and exhibitions in the hi-tech sector, as well as establish joint ventures.  

  

*Silas David is a Geostatistical analysist, GIS specialist and Metallurgist in training. 


2021-07-16  Staff Reporter

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