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The future of mining – NEXGEN SIMS!

2 Mins read

The mining industry has in the past 5 years taken a sharp turn in its global message and has rightly decided that assisting in curbing climate change is high on the agenda. Posturing and hollow messages on social media has become something that has become something of a new norm. Unfortunately, lots of talk and sadly not much action.

There are however several global consortia that have formed to deliver change through collaboration. With a long-term vision of a shared, cleaner, more efficient mining eco system.

With the ongoing conversation about who should be providing innovation and change – either mining companies themselves, or rather the OEM and service providers they utilise, it is fantastic to read about the work being completed by NEXGEN SIMS.

The European focused underground mining consortium brings together some of the biggest players in equipment manufacturing, with mining houses, world leading universities and consultants working together on several “Work Packages”.

The players in the NEXTGEN SIMS consortium – all based in Europe except for Oz Minerals who are headquartered in South Australia. Image Courtesy: NEXTGEN SIMS

NEXGEN SIMS builds on the successful H2020 EU-sponsored SIMS project, www., which ran between 2017 and 2020 and played an important role in advancing sustainable mining operations, partly using battery-electric machines.

A key aspect of the project is to develop autonomous carbon neutral mining processes. This includes the use of battery-electric mining equipment, full utilization of 5G for optimal connectivity and positioning, autonomous material handling, AI powered traffic and fleet control and collaboration among machines. The project is also focusing on the mine worker of the future – ‘the digital modern miner’ -and safety, for example by developing autonomous mine inspection technology.

This video from Jan Gustafsson – NEXTGEN SIMS Project Manager, delivers a brief run-down of what work packages are hoping to achieve.  Video Courtesy: NEXTGEN SIMS

I recently caught up with Niclas Dahlström, Project Communications Manager, and it was fascinating to learn more about the previous SIMS Project which ran from 2017-2020. The most interesting part was the near “open source” data provided once a work package was nearing completion. This approach means that others external to the consortium can watch, learn and possibly grow their own ideas following this leading-edge research.

NEXTGEN SIMS is the kind of project that really excites me as a mining enthusiast! It not only drives a clear pathway to a better outcome for miners, but it also works collaboratively and with the interests of the wider industry in the mix.

The 7 European mining projects that will collaborate with NEXGEN SIMS team to deliver the Work Packages. Courtesy: NEXTGEN SIMS

I will look to complete periodic updates on the Work Packages as they work through the hurdles of trials and testing. This should showcase some the ideas and technologies at the very forefront of the underground mining sphere to our followers.

Well done to Jan, Niclas and the wider NEXTGEN SIMS team!



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