Commodity prices in 2019

One of the key 2019 digital trends in energy, including the mining and natural resource industries, is tied to commodity prices.

The commodity price has bounced back over the past few years, but a lot of the recent geopolitical changes that have occurred – especially the evolution of the US-China relationship – are persuading a lot of the big mining companies to prepare for the fallout.

For example, the Australian mining minister recently talked about the copper price and that, if not for the geopolitical situation, it should be 30% higher than it is now.

Mining companies are very cautious about large capital outlays and are more focused on getting the most out of existing assets without acquiring a huge amount of upfront investment. That is one of the key industry drivers going forward.

2019 digital trends in energy
Sam G. Bose, CEO and founder,

Artificial intelligence in mining

Artificial intelligence (AI) improves the depreciation rating in these operations by using the data mining companies already possess, or providing them with new data points – even a one to two person improvement in throughput is worth millions.

These trends are escalating. is currently taking into production deployment one of the first AI-driven processes in mining by deploying an AI-driven closed loop control at the circuit. This is a sign that miners are serious about starting to deploy AI and machine learning systems, training staff and getting value out of these new technologies.

Artificial intelligence and the internet of things in mining

Another trend we foresee is the expansion of AI and internet of things (IoT) processes into upstream and downstream processes. That is a very interesting phenomenon – not how mining operators can perform better but how they can predict scenarios better in order to relieve production bottlenecks.

2019 digital trends in energy

1. Disruptive technologies in the energy sector

Governments are realising the power of disruptive technologies such as AI and IoT, and as a result they are now looking how to upscale their employee base to incorporate these digital innovations.

Using digital to train energy sector employees

A lot of the workers from 20-30 years ago are now transitioning out of the industry and the new generation of millennials – who, of course, are used to using digital techniques in everyday consumer devices – is starting to come in, and these workers are in short supply.

2019 digital trends in energy
Many large mining companies are bracing themselves for the fallout from geopolitical tensions between the US and China. Image Shutterstock

Take our joint venture with the Kazakhstan Government as an example. The authorities are using the AI platform to train and educate their entire workforce, creating model plants across five sectors – mining, oil and gas, shipping and logistics and manufacturing.

This generational change will continue to evolve in 2019, as the only way mining companies can make a dramatic shift in productivity is by adopting new technologies.

2. Using existing intelligence to boost efficiency

Getting more from existing assets through application areas such as remote monitoring, predictive maintenance, all to boost production

3. Energy companies collaborating with tech companies

Within the supply chain, the mining majors will become more open to working with companies likes The stranglehold of the traditional suppliers may be challenged and there is more openness at the top of mining companies to deal with innovative smaller companies.