Skip to main content
Five common challenges facing the mining industry

Common mining challenges explained and how to overcome them

The mining industry has long been one of the most challenging sectors to operate in. While advances in technology can help overcome them, they are still present and must be addressed. Additionally, new challenges are developing as the world changes, so mining companies need to be constantly looking for ways to improve their operations.

In this blog post, we’ll look at the most common challenges faced by the mining industry today and how they can be addressed.

1. Can you deliver enough mining power?

As resources become more scarce, mining is becoming more complex. Operators need to dig deeper in more remote locations, increasing the amount of power required and making it more difficult to deliver it.

More mines are now situated in off-grid locations with shorter lifecycles which means permanent power infrastructures are no longer financially viable. Instead, they need to look at scalable microgrids that can give them all the energy they need with maximum flexibility.

2. How safe are your workers?

Mining always has been and always will be a dangerous profession. This began with hazards such as coal dust inhalation and hearing damage due to equipment noise but now there are new concerns that must be mitigated:

  • Deeper mines mean an increased risk of collapse that must be factored into safety assessments.
  • The rise in surface temperatures and the increasingly unpredictable climate cause a greater fluctuation of temperature in a mine that requires better temperature control systems to overcome.
  • An improved understanding of how mines can affect workers’ health has led to an increased emphasis on reliable ventilation systems to prevent exposure to dangerous fumes.

3. How is your mining operation funded?

Mines have never been cheap to set up and the increase in complexity has raised investment requirements further.

Rocketing exploration and production costs have impacted profit margins significantly, making it much more difficult for smaller mining companies to raise the necessary capital to get new projects started.

4. Can your mine cope with volatile commodity prices?

The price of fuel, raw materials, and spare parts has always fluctuated. But it has become even more volatile in recent years due to the lasting effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, colder relations between the West and China, and the war in Ukraine.

Increases in the cost of diesel have made it more expensive to power remote sites, while supply chain issues and high demand have led to a sharp increase in the price of commodities such as lithium required for electric vehicles and batteries.

5. How are you handling the environmental effects of mining?

For mining operations to continue to be successful they must address their environmental impact.

The vast amounts of energy required to operate mines have in the past produced significant amounts of harmful emissions. Regulations are becoming ever-stricter which require companies to minimize these emissions. And there is a much greater public expectation of mines to show that they are operating in a sustainable way that protects the planet.

Overcoming the most common mining challenges

Many of the challenges faced by the mining industry can be addressed by adapting the way in which mines are powered. As world-leading experts in providing economical energy in hard-to-reach locations, Aggreko has a range of flexible solutions that reduce costs and emissions while ensuring safety, availability, and reliability.

Recently, we saved a mining exploration project in Canada $60,000 per month and significantly reduced emissions by setting up a virtual gas pipeline to minimize the reliance on diesel fuel.

We used a similar virtual pipeline to power an extremely remote silver mine and also made significant savings on its heating costs by recovering large amounts of the heat created by generators.

And Aggreko doesn’t only have solutions to energy challenges.

Effective cooling is vital to keeping workers safe. If equipment fails then operations have to be shut down, often resulting in millions of dollars of profits being lost. We protected profits of $1 million per day at a Western American gold mine through the rapid installation of replacement cooling towers. And at a Nevada mine, we installed a temporary cooling solution in just 10 days to prevent any interruption to production.

Talk to Aggreko

Aggreko’s rental solutions allow mines to quickly get all the energy, heating, cooling, and ventilation they need without any capital expenditure so that investment can be reserved for the mining itself.

Modular, mobile equipment gives full flexibility to scale up or down as demand fluctuates and 24/7 support ensures everything is always running at optimum efficiency.

Get in touch today to discover how we can support your mine through any challenge, no matter how complex or remote the site.

Learn more about our solutions for the mining sector