Intelligent innovation fuels China's mining industry

With a VR headset, visitors can enter a virtual dressing plant for an immersive tour, while the smart mine digital twin management platform provides real-time updates on production and equipment data for a dressing plant.

"People can gain a thorough understanding of a dressing plant's situation by simply looking at a computer screen," said Wang Bing, director of the automation project of Shandong Xinhai Mining Technology & Equipment Inc. "Our dressing plant is equipped with automated and information-based equipment. Various functions, such as equipment monitoring and data analysis, can be realized on the digital twin platform."

Wang was attending the 25th China Mining Conference and Exhibition that opened in North China's Tianjin municipality on Thursday. The event attracted more than 260 exhibitors and approximately 5,000 visitors from nearly 30 countries and regions.

During the three-day event, themed "Innovation promotes high-quality development of mining," a number of new technologies and mining equipment were showcased.

In addition to the digital twin platform, other hot topics at the exhibition included the dark factory and unmanned mining. With the help of the intelligent equipment such as patrol robots and ultrasonic particle size analyzers, mineral processing factories can operate almost unmanned, making the mines smarter and safer.

"Smart and unmanned mining is an important trend for the industry as it moves into the future. It can not only improve production efficiency and reduce costs, but also enhance the safety of mining operations," said Xu Donglin, a product manager of Dandong Dongfang Measurement & Control Technology Co Ltd.

Unmanned driving is an important component of unmanned mining. According to Xu, in recent years, the company has realized unmanned driving for a range of mining machinery such as electric locomotives and drilling rigs. This accomplishment was made possible after overcoming numerous technical challenges.

At the exhibition, a "smart pump" caught the attention of many visitors. By integrating smart sensors into the slurry pump and setting algorithms into the machine, users can monitor the operating status of the equipment based on the data. The has greatly improved the ease and convenience of equipment management.

Bu Hui, the director of the pump project in Shandong Zhangqiu Blower Co Ltd, said, "The data from the equipment can be uploaded to the operation and maintenance platform as soon as possible. All the information is clear, and it can reduce business costs by a significant amount."

According to a report titled "China Mineral Resources 2023," released by the Ministry of Natural Resources at the conference, as of 2022, a total of 173 kinds of minerals had been found in China, and 132 new mineral deposits were discovered in 2022.

Additionally, the scientific and technological achievements in the field of mineral resources were remarkable, and a number of important results were achieved in 2022, according to the report.

"All the achievements in the mining industry in recent years are inseparable from the development of technology. Intelligent innovation is one of the most important ways for mining enterprises to ensure a promising future," said Liu Haitao, general manager of the China Geological Equipment Group Co Ltd.

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