The next phase of successful and sustainable mining will be delivered by unlocking the benefits of precision mining, says global mining-tech company IMDEX. Releasing the second IMDEX Sustainability Report today, Chief Executive Officer Paul House covered a wide range of initiatives that IMDEX had undertaken to advance its ESG strategy, however, elaborated on the unique role its technologies could play in helping the entire industry advance its sustainability goals.
Mr House said that precision mining — as opposed to scale mining utilising large trucks, mines, and processing facilities — could be achieved by using technology to better understand the characteristics of the orebody and the delineation between ore and waste boundaries.
“Even the best mining companies are challenged in their ability to extract resources as completely and efficiently as possible, simply because they can’t ‘see’ the orebody they are mining in sufficient detail,” Mr House said.
“Good orebody knowledge ‘turns on the lights’ inside the orebody. It will be a critical advance for the industry, one from which it won’t turn back.”
Mr House said that while the science underpinning orebody knowledge was well understood, the challenge to date had been finding a way to provide insights with accuracy, at scale at high spatial density and in real-time.
“The development of technology is critical to providing better orebody knowledge, which assists in enabling precision mining, the ability to economically unlock tier-two orebodies, and the mining industry’s own transition to net zero through more efficient mining operations,” he said.
One such technology is the IMDEX-developed BLAST DOG™ a multi-sensor probe, designed to measure a wide range of geophysical properties of an orebody, and map its material rock properties. The data collected by BLAST DOG™ has the potential to be utilised by mining companies to develop programs which could improve mine planning, blast design, fragmentation, and material movement tracking post blast.
“The potential downstream benefits include a reduction in electricity consumption at the crushing and grinding phase and increased head grade, as just a couple of examples,” Mr House said.
“Whether in the form of new or smarter mining practices, the mining industry is increasingly applying new technologies to address the net-zero challenge. “This includes the goal of unlocking as efficiently and effectively as possible, the metals to deliver the volume required in a new energy environment and to do so with speed.
“Current mining methods around the world will be insufficient to meet the demand for these critical battery metals, both in discovering significant quantities of resources and unlocking their potential as efficiently as possible.”
IMDEX engaged global ESG risk rating agency Sustainalytics to assess its operations, which returned a low-risk rating of 11.9 compared to 16.2 in the previous year in the category relevant to the IMDEX business.
ESG highlights for the year included:
- Significantly improving safety engagement and performance, with a LTIFR of 0.77 (previously 1.85) and a TRIFR of 2.32 (previously 2.78).
- Ongoing and substantial commitments to diversity and gender equality, including closing the gender pay gap. Overall gender pay gap reduced from 30% down to 13% during FY22. When comparing gender pay for equivalent roles, this further reduced the current state to 4%.
- Introducing a Domestic Violence Policy that provides meaningful support to affected employees and their families, and the introduction of its Better Together initiative that links values to respectful workplace behaviour training.
- Enhancing IMDEX’s employee value proposition to attract, retain and develop highly talented and engaged team members. Traineeships were included in the Kickstart a Career @ IMDEX program. Two trainees commenced in the manufacturing team in Western Australia, 14 internships were provided across a range of disciplines and five secured permanent roles.
- Developing a Community Engagement Policy and Volunteering program to formalise support for IMDEX’s global communities.
- Revising its Modern Slavery statement and Supplier Code of Conduct to emphasise IMDEX’s obligation, and those of its suppliers, to comply with human rights and those of its suppliers.