Automation in the Mining Industry: Review of Technology, Systems, Human Factors, and Political Risk

W. Pratt Rogers*, M. Mustafa Kahraman, Frank A. Drews, Kody Powell, Joel M. Haight, Yaxue Wang, Kritika Baxla, Mohit Sobalkar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


In the opinion of these authors, technology alone can never give an organization an edge over competitors or provide an industry step change. However, history has shown that technology applied with correct logistics and strategy makes a significant difference. Never has the minerals industry faced such daunting challenges and been in such need of a step change. Application of autonomous systems has been steadily increasing in the minerals industry. Automation technology has changed the mining value chain from exploration to mineral processing and refining. The future state will only see additional in-roads of automation into more processes and the whole system design. To better understand the near-future potential of automation, it is useful to explore and review the current state of automation in minerals development. A review of the state of automation research is given. The review will consider three critical areas: automation technology, system’s engineering and management processes around automation, and the role of human factors engineering in automated and semi-automated systems. The review ends with a discussion on the social and political risks of automation in terms of shared value and sustainable development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)607-631
Number of pages25
JournalMining, Metallurgy and Exploration
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Inc.


  • Automation
  • Human error
  • Human factors engineering
  • Robotics
  • Shared value
  • Socio-technical system


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