Data is the future of mining

MineSense CEO discusses data and the future of mining

At the BC Emerging Economy Task Force launch event (L to R): Jeff More, president & CEO, MineSense Technologies, Andrew J. Weaver, MLA and leader of the Green Party of B.C, Kathy Kinloch, president of the BC Institute of Technology (BCIT) and chair of the Emergent Economy Task Force, Bruce Ralston, minister of Jobs Trade and Technology, B.C and Rick Glumac, parliamentary secretary for Technology.

At the BC Emerging Economy Task Force launch event (L to R): Jeff More, president & CEO, MineSense Technologies, Andrew J. Weaver, MLA and leader of the Green Party of B.C, Kathy Kinloch, president of the BC Institute of Technology (BCIT) and chair of the Emergent Economy Task Force, Bruce Ralston, minister of Jobs Trade and Technology, B.C and Rick Glumac, parliamentary secretary for Technology. — photo courtesy Government of BC

In a recent announcement, the provincial government of British Columbia recently solidified its dedication to innovation through the Emerging Economy Task Force (EETF). The EETF will analyze B.C.’s economy to provide advice on where to focus efforts of technology and other innovation based on emerging trends. The 14 appointed members of the EETF will also work with the government to respond to innovation by proposing and updating policies. The goal of the task force is to ensure B.C. remains an innovative leader.

Innovation drives MineSense

MineSense created ShovelSense and BeltSense, which are hardware and software systems driven by machine-learning-level algorithms. Their technology communicates with the mine in real time, identifying variations within the rock currently being mined. This technology creates data that has never existed before and aims to decrease waste, increase revenue and increase profit.

Technology like ShovelSense and BeltSense offers information that was not available previously. MineSense created its innovative technology from nothing but data, and now it significantly impacts the entire mining industry.

Innovation in a traditional sector

MineSense hosted the announcement of the EETF at its Vancouver headquarters. It makes sense that this company hosted—its considers itself a technology company that happens to have mines as its clients. MineSense brings new ways of thinking and working to an old industry. It brings innovation to an industry that is known to stick with proven processes before taking risks on new technology.

Jeff More, CEO of MineSense, said it was an honour to be asked to host the event.

“I think it’s great that the provincial government is focusing on such an important area,” he said. The EETF will facilitate the “sweet spot” that traditional sectors like mining have been waiting for. “I think that from a Canadian perspective, the combination of driving new technology with our stronger and more traditional industries is an important sweet spot for Canada overall,” More said.

The EETF’s mission includes a few duties under the same umbrella: identifying trends, advising innovation and proposing policy changes to government. “I think identifying the trends is important because that’s something a government-sponsored agency can do well,” More said. Such agencies "have the resources to take a broader picture, and that information could be quite useful for business.”

When people think about technology, they don’t think about mining. “Technology is going to make the industry more productive and cleaner. That is very powerful,” said More. He said MineSense bridges gaps between mining, technology and clean tech to promote this innovative shift that the mining industry is starting to experience.

Data brings innovation

Overall, mining is a conservative industry. More said there is a good reason for that.

“Mining deals with variables that other industries don’t have to deal with—like massive scale. By nature, (those in the mining industry) need to be more conservative because if they try something and it doesn’t work, it has a significant impact.”

We need mining to create innovative clean technology, so we need to make the massive industry cleaner and more productive. Those involved are excited about the future of innovation in mining. “Other new technologies are exciting, but they don’t have the same leverage impact,” More said. 

Although traditional, we know that the mining sector is self-aware. It knows it’s time to change.

“I think we will see a much quicker adoption of technology across the board,” said More. “We’ve been able to work with customers who are extremely focused on and supportive of innovation. I think that’s going to be the trend.”

Efficiency and environmental stewardship are the driving forces of innovation in mining right now. Data is the vessel that will bring results to these businesses.

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