The moving of earth is perhaps the most fundamental process in mining, so any innovations in the sector are likely to have a profound effect on mining operations. In recent years, Orica and LKAB have collaborated on a new form of wireless blasting, that promises to improve blasting efficiency, and remove human workers from potentially dangerous working environments.

Indeed, these are not the only companies innovating in the sector, as the mining industry as a whole looks to reinvent and reinvigorate one of its most vital processes. However, considering the importance of blasting, changes and uncertainty could lead to mistakes and hesitancy, and the ideas of “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” could dissuade innovators and miners alike from investing in new forms of blasting.

Elsewhere, we ask how, if ever, the UK could become a key player in the global rare earths industry, considering the country’s lack of critical mineral deposits, and speak to Zayn Kaylan of Infinity Stone about the ethical challenges affecting lithium mining.

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In this issue

“Continuous improvement”: Inside Orica’s wireless blasting process

As miners look to embrace more innovation, the processes of drilling and blasting are being augmented with wireless connectively and autonomous operation. Nnamdi Anyadike investigates.

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The great beyond: inside Debswana and Huawei’s 5G-connected mine

With the mining industry eager to adopt processes such as 5G operations, Debswana and Huawei’s 5G-powered diamond mine has never been more important. Giles Crosse assesses the role of 5G in mining.

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What role does the UK have to play in the rare earth sector?

Despite having limited rare earth reserves, the UK is still eager to make moves in the sector. Elliot Gardner speaks to Professor Frances Wall on the topic.

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Ethics, politics and lithium mining: in conversation with Zayn Kaylan of Infinity Stone

As the world’s attention shifts to lithium, how can its miners ensure their work is sustainable and ethical? Kit Million Ross speaks to Zayn Kaylan of Infinity Stone.

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Hydrogen buzz or meaningful change? The steel industry goes green

With the first ‘green steel’ plants due to come online in 2025, one of the world’s most polluting industries is preparing for a green future. Florence Jones investigates.

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“A powerful path towards reconciliation”: How Indigenous voices can be heard in mining governance

Florence Jones speaks to Nina Fouilloux to explore the ways in which Indigenous voices can be involved in mining governance.

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Next issue: mining equipment

The mining industry is always eager to innovate with regard to the equipment used on a daily basis, and attention is turning towards sensors and their potential in the sector. Monitoring and assessing the relative positions and movements of individuals, vehicles and machinery could help miners optimise their operations, and ensure safe work, provided the technology can be rolled out on a large scale.