Information Technology in Mining Services Applications

Information Technology in Mining Services Applications

Pankaj Kumar Mishra
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3473-1.ch045
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An overview of information technology (IT) in underground mining services applications is discussed against the backdrop of the vital challenges that this technology has to prevail for successful implementation in these hazardous environments. The application of IT is broken down into a number of key areas, for example, information dissemination, safety, remote operations, mine mechanization, fleet management, environmental impact, exploration of coal and minerals, process improvement and efficiency. Consideration is also given to future prospects of IT in mining industry.
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1. Introduction

Information technology (IT) can play a significant role in mining industries by driving continual improvements in efficiency and safety, reducing the cost of extraction of coal and minerals and maximizing profits. Mining, being hazardous in nature, is one of the oldest and most important industries (Agricola & Hoover, 1950). Coal and minerals extracted from mining industries always take part in driving growth and steering progress across various aspects of the economy of the nation. Energy is collectively acknowledged as one of the most significant contributions for economic growth and human development (Dialogues at the Economic and Social Council, 2008). The growth of the nation, taking into account the all segments of the economy and all sections of society, is dependent on meeting its energy requirement adequately. Coal is the most important component of energy matrix for a long time and still contributing a reasonable amount of energy supply to the nations (Yuan et al., 2018; Melikoglu, 2017; Tiewsoh, Sivek, & Jirásek, 2017; Garg, 2012). On the other hand, minerals are important contributors for the production of metals/alloys, fertilizers, ceramics, electronic items and an extensive range of other products (Rankin, 2011). It is worth mentioning that business existence in the present scenario is dependent upon the ability of the management to update with real-time information, make decisions and execute timely. Now the question arises, how to do it? The answer is the adoption of information practices and automated technology. Further, in order to stand parallel in the market with other industries, the mining including oil and gas industries is also taking up the state-of-the-art technology in its operations. Mine safety is in general based on the use of geotechnical and environmental information to make suitable and timely decisions in order to prevent hazards. The continuous involvement of IT applications in mining industry can i) improve the mechanism of information dissemination, ii) enhance safety, iii) provide remote operations and excel towards mechanization, iv) improve fleet management, v) analyze environmental impact of mining operations, vi) map the exploration data and estimate the ore reserves, vii) improve the approach from material extraction and marketing to sales and transportation and viii) overall increase efficiency to improve productivity, reduce cost of production and maximize profits. On the other hand, in the oil and gas sectors, information technology helps to optimize the processes and simultaneously enhances the efficiency of upstream and downstream operations (Anthony and Abdulkareem, 2013; Petersen, Doyle, Carlsen, van der Linden, Myhre, Sansom, Skavhaug, Mikkelsen and Sjong, 2008)

Key Terms in this Chapter

Coal: Coal is basically a fossil fuel. It is the altered form of prehistoric vegetation that originally accumulated in swamps and peat bogs. High temperatures and pressures caused physical and chemical changes in the vegetation, transforming it into coal.

Information Technology: Information technology is the science and activity of moving data digitally.

Minerals: A naturally occurring inorganic element or compound with an orderly internal structure and a characteristic chemical composition, crystal form and physical properties and has been formed as a result of geological processes.

Mine: An excavation made in the earth to extract coal and minerals.

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