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New Tech New Deal: Re-envisioning the mine of the future

June 26, 2019

Disruptions and technological innovation are fundamentally changing the face of the mining industry, reshaping competitive dynamics or completely altering business and operating models.

For the mining industry, automation is arguably greener and safer. Mine sites will have lower greenhouse gas emissions, will have fewer workplace accidents and will be more efficient with cheaper running costs. However, automation will impact low- and mid-level skilled jobs the most with resource-rich countries experiencing a significant drop in employment. This drop in employment will impact countries in a number of ways, including lower local spending on food and housing and potential for labour unrest and political instability. However, new technologies in mining can create benefits, including increased competitiveness and viability of operations and increased health and safety of workers.

If the “deal” between mining companies and host countries is thrown off balance by reductions in employment, local procurement and the associated gross domestic product contributions, how can this balance be restored?

Our New Tech, New Deal project is looking for answers to this crucial question. We are assessing how the mining sector can move forward to allow investments to serve as an engine for sustainable development for host countries and communities alike. This project will consist of:

A final report will launch in March 2020. This project is an extension of our 2017 Mining a Mirage study which evaluated the speed and nature of coming changes, as well as economic, social and political impacts. This project is a partnership between the IGF, the Columbia Center for Sustainable Investment (CCSI), and Mining Shared Value, supported by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).