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Integrated Infrastructure in Mining

In a race to save costs and maximise profit, mining companies have often chosen to work individually and not even considered cooperation with others as a viable option.

Yet it might be time for them to open their eyes to a possibility of sharing some aspects of their operations. This is visible in a trend of “integrated infrastructure” or a shared resources network.

The trend surfaces as the economic challenges within the industry are not letting up but costs keep rising steadily despite this. Having to review and renew their old operations has highlighted a massive spending habit on infrastructure: water and energy supply, railways and roads cost a great deal to mining companies and when the very same problem occurs in multiple organisations, sharing becomes an attractive alternative.

The trend is supported by other parties too. The CTO at multi-sector company Black & Veatch, Dennis Gibson, says “Apart from cost pressures, this movement is also being encouraged by government and regulation, to better utilize scarce resources such as water and power, and to reduce environmental impact.” It is also evident how environmental organisations are behind the new way of handling the multiple resourcing as less space is taken up by not building networks for the same purpose twice over. In addition, it also saves water and reduces emissions.

It is not only each other that the companies are willing to share with. The same model also works with local communities who require the same services but do not have the full funding or resources, or simply wish to use the opportunity of working with a nearby corporation. It is seen as “nation building” and contributes to economic (and otherwise) development of the region, particularly in remote locations of South America and Africa.

It is very likely that this model will persist and be a favoured option even when the current financial situation is more stable. With a goal to create sustainability the world is adjusting accordingly and this is only another example of how this is done in practice. Dashboard can see integrated infrastructure as a solution for the future and hopes to be a vital part of the transformation process in mining as well as other sectors.