The Arctic is one of the most remote and inhospitable regions on the planet, but that has not dissuaded mining companies from exploring potential projects in the region. The usual suspects – the US and Russia – are eager to establish mining footholds in the frozen north, and secure reliable supplies of critical minerals for their own ends.

But China has emerged as a new player in this game, eager to define itself as a “near-Arctic” state with as much of a claim on the north as the more established countries. With the Arctic becoming something of a battleground for critical minerals, as mining production is aligned ever closer with national interest, foreign interest in the region is heating up.

Elsewhere, we consider the recent history of mining in British Columbia, and ask what miners and legislators alike can learn from the sector. We also debut the first of our thematic supplements, additions to the magazine to tackle “any issue that keeps a business leader awake at night”, beginning with cloud computing.

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In this issue

“A ‘frozen’ geopolitical issue”: Svalbard and the geopolitics of Arctic mining

Russia has had a presence on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard since 1920, but the islands are growing in significance for miners. Florence Jones investigates.

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Endless expansion: how will China’s coal investments affect its energy mix?

Permitting of new coal power plants accelerated dramatically in China in 2022, according to new analysis. Isabeau van Halm asks how this will affect emissions.

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Drones, decarbonisation and remote operations: the future of mining gear

Innovations in equipment are pushing the industry to a brighter future. Kit Million Ross investigates.

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Could deep-sea mining prove a death sentence for whales, dolphins and ocean habitats?

As the International Seabed Authority’s deadline for deep-sea mining legislation approaches, questions remain. Florence Jones speaks to Dr Kirsten Thompson.

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Clean energy and critical minerals: inside mining in British Columbia

British Columbia spent about $550.8m in mineral exploration spending in just 2022, the highest spending recorded in the country. Smruthi Nadig reports.

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Cloud in mining

Future-proofing coal: could cloud technologies help coal survive in the UK?

As the UK steps back from abandoning coal, Nnamdi Anyadike considers the role of cloud technologies in this new future.

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Changing the game: long-range Wi-Fi networks set for mining rollout

Andrew Tunnicliffe talks to the University of Sydney’s Professor Yonghui Li, about a project to develop industrial long-range high-speed Wi-Fi.

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With more digitally-forward miners, the industry will be on cloud nine

A mine that utilises cloud technology is better placed for safety, sustainability and productivity, according to GlobalData analysis.

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Next issue: drilling and blasting

For all the technological, logistical and personnel innovation in the mining industry, it remains a sector tied to fundamentally simple processes: the drilling of holes into the earth. With this in mind, drilling and blasting technologies are among the most important to the sector, the literal foundations on which the rest is built, and we look at some of the newest innovations in this field.