Mining is a dangerous profession.

This is undeniable. Between 2017-2018 in Western Australia alone, 859 injuries were reported by mining employees, with 4 being fatal. It is difficult to combat this: even when implementing the best workplace safety, mining has risks.

Technology has the potential to reduce mining injuries, simply because automated machines cannot be hurt in the same way as humans.

There is significant distrust towards technology in mining. Specifically: its role in ‘taking’ the jobs of miners. But technology is making mining safer – and it doesn’t have to be at the cost of jobs.


Automation has been making mining safer for over a decade. Rio Tinto famously utilise driverless trucks, reported to operate 1000 more hours in 2016 than traditional trucks. This is largely attributed to the fact that automated trucks do not require food or sleep, and are therefore ultimately more productive.

Automation requires workers to do maintenance and operate machines from remote control centres. Therefore, in return, automation could create jobs to replace the ones it takes.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is becoming more recognised for its uses in mineral exploration. It has the potential do what humans otherwise can’t (or which would be time-consuming, dangerous and difficult). It could also create more employment opportunities, as AI requires training and guidance. This way, AI implementation is creating jobs, without the dangers to human health.

AI generally has more ecological and environmental awareness in exploration than humans. It will reduce mineral mining dangers with problem solving and early warnings.


Using blockchain in mining might sound strange. How exactly can a distributed ledger make mining safer?

Mining supply chains are convoluted and difficult to track. How do we know that sourcing is ethical and sustainable? That the mineral is good quality? Or even that the amount received by the company is correct?

Blockchain can make supply chains traceable. It’s permanent and reliable. It also means that mining operations can be more secure, especially when implemented in conjunction with automation and artificial intelligence.

What are we so scared of?

Every new technology takes traditional jobs – and that’s not easy to accept. In turn, though, it creates others. Throughout history, around 90% of the jobs that humans used to do have been replaced by technology. While the McKinsey Institute estimates that between 400 and 800 million people will have lost their jobs to automation by 2030, many of these jobs will be replaced by new ones. However, around 75 to 375 million of these workers will need to learn new skills.

Injuries in the mining sector cost companies as well as employees. The lesser the financial and physical burden, the more opportunity for job creation in mining.

The reality of the situation is this: a hundred, fifty, even twenty years ago, the world was different. People occupied different occupations, many of which no longer exist. Once, everyday services were provided by humans, but are no longer, such as rail ticket distribution, most factory and assembly line jobs, and cash withdrawal.

Technology can make work easier, safer, more efficient, and create jobs. It’s already revolutionising mining.

To find out more about how technology can help mining, click here.