September 23, 2016

Even the most meticulous mining operations are being thwarted by climate change. This trend is set to continue as more resources are used to dig deeper into the ground and mineral commodities become depleted. In effect, the impact of climate changes on mineral resources and equipment are set to become a serious stumbling block unless efficiency partners with productivity and ecological viability to create a three-pronged solution to this global problem.


As operating depths dip below several kilometres, the arterial conduits that carry air and water are forced to adapt. Water-drenched land requires pumping stations and expansive drainage systems to keep this deeply-entrenched operation feasible. Meanwhile, arid regions, places that haven’t seen rainfall for several years, are constrained by their dewatering equipment, which means energy-efficient alternatives are required to clean aggregate matter of muddy detritus.


The impact of climate change on everything and everyone is huge. A certain amount of synergy can be applied, in that equipment can be sourced from ecologically conscientious sources. On top of this, the installation of low-energy pumps keeps diesel fuel consumption manageable, just as an efficient reciprocating motors aid the screening process by not consuming huge amounts of electrical energy. Still, this is an intimidatingly large topic, so each part of the operation must work on its own slice of the issue if we’re to adapt our finest mining operations to the current changes occurring in our climate. This entails a granular level evaluation of equipment design, in the case of mining gear, all so that economic production matches resource expenditure.


The judicious use of efficient plastics moulding technology and other economically viable polymer-infused methodologies represent a proactive manufacturer’s solution to this global problem. The aim is to design new classes of equipment that sip economically from current resources instead of greedily sucking local reserves dry. Diesel fuel and electricity are preserved in this manner, as is water, which is perhaps the most valuable local commodity of all.

Remote areas that lack any annual rainfall combine with flood-prone territories to really challenge mining systems. Dewatering tanks run dry, recycling methods are activated by regional feasibility studies, and communications channels are opened wide, all the better to work with local councils. The impact of climate change on mining resources and equipment is as hard and abrasive as the front line of a mining operation, but the blow is being softened by ever-evolving equipment design practices.


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