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Miners Dig AI but the Gold Rush Hasn't Come

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Barrick Gold Corp.s Veladero gold mine in Argentina.

Some experts say the promise of artificial intelligence in mining has been over-hyped and progress has been slow.

Credit: Marcos Brindicci/Reuters

Despite expectations by the mining industry that artificial intelligence (AI) would transform operations, some experts consider that promise overhyped and unrealistic.

Companies like Barrick Gold and Rio Tinto are running AI-led projects, but widescale deployment faces obstacles including little executive engagement, more appealing alternative modernization options, and longer-than-anticipated project timeframes.

AI's potential benefits to mining include sensor-based data collection to predict breakdowns or improve operational efficiency, and geological data-filtering to locate likely ore deposits.

Challenges to implementing AI-driven changes to the industry include the high cost of the technology, mining's lack of appeal as a career choice for AI experts who are sorely in demand, and dissatisfaction with making only incremental gains with AI at this point.

From The Wall Street Journal
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Abstracts Copyright © 2019 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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