The mine of the future is coming. It will be digital, more constrained, and it will require a greater investment in leading edge technology.

"The good times are gone," said Barloworld Equipment Information Bureau Officer, JP Briggs, who outlined how mines of the future would have to drill deeper, under increased safety and environmental regulations.

So how will the mine of the present become the mine of the future? Change management and associated problems were the focus of intense discussion at this week's Mining Into The Future conference sponsored by Barloworld.

Head of the Wits School of Mining Engineering, Prof. Fred Cawood, gave a presentation introducing aspects of the mine of the future as envisaged by the Wits Centre for Mechanised Mining Systems.

Essential functions like safety, optimisation, guidance, tracking and reporting will increasingly be automated by sophisticated systems providing real-time information.

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