These are challenging times for the mining industry. How do we move toward zero waste mining while decreasing our carbon footprint and demonstrating our commitment to environmental and socioeconomic responsibility?
In 2014 CMIC convened a gathering of senior executives from 17 mining companies to tackle this question. Together we developed a collaborative approach aimed at developing the innovations and technologies needed to achieve better operational, environmental and financial performance for our industry.
Our role here at CMIC is to facilitate this collaboration – by connecting industry, government and academia to accelerate both development and adoption of new technologies.
A collaborative approach provides a platform for multiple companies to share and discuss challenges and potential solutions. Anecdotally this innovation-based approach can provide for a ten-fold reduction in time and cost.
Five reasons why collaboration is crucial
1. Offers a Competitive Advantage
Innovation is happening all around us, and there are typically multiple vendors for new technologies, so seeking to lock down a technology or supplier often doesn’t create the intended competitive advantage.
A collaborative approach to innovation, on the other hand, allows us to pool our capabilities and expertise, share insights and overcome our individual limitations, creating systems and tools that will work together more effectively and efficiently.
2. Allows for Faster Innovation
A major challenge with new technology is the length of time it takes for delivery.
When multiple vendors work together toward common specifications the timeline can be reduced by as much as two-thirds, saving not just time but also money.
3. Provides Better Integration
Very often, the risk associated with innovation lies not with the capability of the technology, but rather with how it is integrated into the process on-site.
A collaborative approach allows for more input from end-users throughout the development process, and provides a platform for multiple companies to share information around challenges and potential solutions.
4. Protects Intellectual Property
Even though IP is often used as an excuse not to collaborate, there is every reason why all parties will benefit from the superior technology developed in a spirit of collaboration and cooperation. Open forms of IP allow for faster and better improvements to platform technologies by a broader suite of innovators. This ensures more rapid commercialization that drives innovation faster and more cost-effectively than the typically closed approaches.
5. Because history has proven that it is!
Major industries across the world have been embracing open innovation with their competitors for decades. This can be seen in industries from automotive manufacturers, software and hardware to manufacturing, aerospace and pharmaceuticals.
Those who choose the protectionist route, locking up technology for themselves, face the danger that they will either be beaten to the post, or that they will get comfortable and quickly become irrelevant.
If the mining industry wants to evolve, open innovation between peers is imperative. Through ‘Rethink Mining’, we have provided a framework for innovation projects encompassing all areas of the mining business including exploration, underground mining, surface mining, processing and the environment. Check out our CMIC-led projects here.
CMIC provides the opportunity to join a forward-thinking, collaborative group that is actively working toward a better future. Learn more about CMIC membership here.