The ability to improve processes within a mining area has been one of the most important challenges facing the sector.
by Mariano Vega*
The exploitation of mining resources in Latin American and Caribbean countries has made the region the most important destination for public and private investments thanks to the amount and diversity that nourish its mineral wealth.
In this region mining is directly related to the integral development of the economy, as well as the various markets for raw materials that are essential for the manufacture of elements used for modern life. And in this framework, the ability to improve processes within a mining area has been one of the most important challenges facing the sector, where technology works as a possible panacea to fulfill these purposes.
In 2019, the United States Geological Survey reported that Chile, Peru, Mexico and Argentina had a growing and constant dominance in the production and export of Copper, Silver, Iron and Gold, which has forced their governments to regulate each of the aspects around them to ensure the timely socio-environmental development of mining and the equitable distribution of profits through sovereign policies on the ownership of natural resources.
In recent years, extraction companies have evolved, innovating in processes that facilitate tasks, minimize direct risks to work personnel and promote operational efficiency, but at the same time allow them to be sustainable and reduce their impact on the environment by working hand in hand with experts from companies that develop intelligent video surveillance technologies aligned with their objectives and needs.
Along with technological advances, new strategic opportunities for the industry arise, which allow reinventing an organization using technology that generates, stores and processes data that optimizes the performance of the mining sector, its operations, its competitiveness and that adds value.
The growing development of mining in Latin America demands reinventing the industry in all aspects. One of the main points is to reduce the risk of accidents to which both workers and assets of the extractive company are exposed. The video surveillance industry has developed technology for hazardous work environments that can see even more than the human eye and ultimately save lives.
Video surveillance solutions make it possible to identify gas leaks in pipelines, pipes and extraction areas; overheating of machinery, belts and furnaces; as well as potential risks to assets, reducing operational damage and avoiding stopping work to carry out verifications. It is now possible to monitor remotely, with greater precision and ensuring continuity in operations.
On the other hand, with intelligent analysis in video surveillance systems it is possible to check essential aspects that preserve the safety of workers, such as using at all times the protective equipment that by government regulations must be carried compulsorily; delimit hazardous areas to avoid the presence of personnel too close to materials or machinery, use mobile or body camera solutions in areas where there is no wiring, and detect unwanted activity in areas inside mines.
As for the sustainability and socio-environmental development that the new regulatory regulations of the governments oblige to comply, the technological solutions of video surveillance now allow not only to control access, avoid robberies, filtration of intruders, or minimize the losses of materials, but also to monitor through intelligent software clouds of smoke and dust that pollute and affect the ecosystem and the health of the communities surrounding the extraction area, allowing timely decisions to be made.
The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) recorded in 2018 that the increase in exports has generated extraordinary gains and fostered economic growth, but at the same time has led to the loss of natural heritage and put environmental sustainability at risk. In its 2030 Agenda, it indicates as a fundamental axis to encourage structural change and modernization of the industry that complies with regulatory standards and in turn, leads it to the goal of zero worker accidents.
Technological advances do not stop and currently video surveillance offers the necessary solutions to reinvent, improve and evolve the daily activities of the industry according to what government organizations stipulate, but the key to change in the sector implies a joint effort in order to overcome the challenges with a view to building responsible and resilient mining.
* Mariano Vega, Regional Sales Manager for Southern Latin America at Axis Communications.