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New Tech, New Deal

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

While technology in mining is nothing new, this coming wave is different in quality and speed than anything we have ever seen before.

Automation will impact low- and mid-level skilled jobs the most, with resource-rich countries experiencing a significant drop in employment. This decrease in employment will impact countries in a number of ways:

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Fewer jobs in the communities adjacent to mining activity

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Lower local spending on food and housing

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Lower government tax receipts from employees

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Potential for labour unrest and political instability

There are benefits to new tech in mining, though. Automation is arguably greener and safer. Mine sites will have lower greenhouse gas emissions and fewer workplace accidents, and they will be more efficient with cheaper running costs. That efficiency may save jobs in cases where mines were no longer viable using existing technologies.

Increased competitiveness and viability of operations

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 consists of:

Based on the consultations, IGF published a Technology Impacts Review which surveys the landscape of new technologies sweeping through the mining sector that are disrupting traditional mining practice. It catalogues those technologies and assesses their likely impacts, both positive and negative.

A final report will launch in June 2021. 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. It is supported by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The New Tech, New Deal brochire is also available in Spanish.

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Message from the Chair

IGF Chair Glenn Gemerts highlights perspectives on the future role of mining and the IGF.

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Message from the Director

A message from the Director of the IGF on looking to the future of mining for sustainable development.