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OPINION

Technology is Transforming the Mining Industry

Technology is Transforming the Mining Industry

The global mining industry has radically evolved over the last 25 years, largely due to technological advancements as well as regulations imposed by international bodies and associations. At the same time, increasing challenges such as climate change and the need for decarbonisation have created a growing demand for renewable energy sources and by extension an increased demand in certain metals. This is especially the case for copper, which is fundamental for the construction of wind turbines, electricity cables, and many other key elements of infrastructure relating to renewable energy and electrification.

Towards a new era of mining

Advances in technological innovation are significantly transforming the way that the mining industry operates. From exploration to extraction and shipping ore abroad, technology has entered every stage of the process. For instance, new tools and specialised software are used to map the surface and subsurface, helping companies decide whether a mineral resource is sufficient so as to proceed with mining and avoid any unnecessary drilling. Moreover, specialised equipment allows companies to obtain instant results with regards to the mineral contents of a deposit, resulting in more targeted and efficient exploration and mining.

There have also been significant technical developments to improve the recovery of metals from ores and also from old mine dumps and tailings, and this could be significant for countries like Cyprus in addressing historical mining legacies.

In addition to its emphasis on minimising its impact on the environment, modern mining also focuses on social and employment welfare. Working conditions for miners have improved and have become safer, as technological advancements in robotics and surveillance systems have led to safer ways of extracting minerals, while also consuming much less energy.

Significant prospects for Cyprus

Cyprus is not new to mining, considering that it has a rich copper-mining history dating back nearly 4,000 years. The growing demand for copper today enables Cyprus to benefit significantly from the sector’s development, given that there are substantial deposits across the island.

The majority of mines were abandoned following the events of 1974. Since then, copper production in Cyprus has been very limited, meaning that the island has significant untapped mineral resources. Venus Minerals is bringing new technological innovations to Cyprus, which have been developed over the years and can contribute to exploiting the reserves of old mines and discovering new ones with minimal impact on the environment.

Strict regulation and monitoring

It is worth noting that when a company applies for a mining permit, an environmental impact assessment study must also be conducted, which should include a rehabilitation plan. Moreover, various government departments are always monitoring mining practices as it comes to noise pollution as well as water and air quality. Besides, since Cyprus is an EU member state, mining companies are required to comply with all relevant EU regulations, which are some of the strictest in the world.

Venus Minerals is using state-of-the-art, low-impact exploration methods while employing modern mining and mineral processing practices engineered to minimise impact and maximise efficiency. Recently, the company has completed surface mapping and soil sampling over most of its projects, paving the way for the start of test drilling in some of its projects in 2020.

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