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Mining 4.0: Technologies from the future for a sustainably developed present (Spain)

  • Health and safety
  • Land-use planning
  • Permitting processes / policy integration
  • Reporting official statistics
  • Socio-economic and environmental impact assessments

Challenge the practice is addressing: Mineral extraction has a traditional character and is, from a Technology 4.0 perspective, an industry that is rather conservative in introducing new technologies. However, there has been a major development in recent years. The main elements that have determined this development are improving health and safety of workers and operations, increasing productivity, environmental responsibility and efficiency in the use of resources. Overall, the aim is to work towards an extractive sector that is more sustainable, better perceived and integrated into society and has the intention to continuously improve.

Concrete practice to achieve the expected goal: The Mining 4.0 concept is working towards the automatisation of processes and the digitalisation of the sector with the aim of redesigning the company from top to bottom and achieving a now working environment that integrates productivity between workers and machines. For this, several organisational tools such as Lean Six Sigma, planning tools such as ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and BI (Business Intelligence) Systems, or Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS), as well as other Quality Management tools. At an operational level, BIM (Building Information Modelling) methodology and drones, GPS, sensors, high resolution geophysics, cloud software, etc., are implemented. These tools and methodologies allow to realisation of a programme of best operational practices and innovative initiatives that together lead to a complete control of exploitation through the use of drones and photogrammetry, control of the movement of berms and slopes using a total topographic station to detect risk areas, the operational control and performance of the machines through GPS trackers, control with georadar to calculate reserves and study cavities, or optimisation of blasting and continuous control of ground vibrations.

Expected impact/goal of the practice: Improving productivity of extraction sites and quarries, optimising cost management, improving energy efficiency and raw materials use, improving product quality, optimizing processes and production lines, restructuring different areas of production, the goal of zero accidents at work, expanding the commercial network and facilitating communications, optimizing administrative processes, etc.

Who is the target user group of the practice/intervention or implementing the practice/intervention? This practice is for companies in the extractive industry.

UEPG Sustainable Development Award Nominee / CANDESA GROUP
Data item type
Practice base
Practice type
Repository, resource libraries & toolkits
Learning relevance
Case study
Unspecified (universally applicable)
Extractive life-cycle
Exploitation phase
Pre-exploitation / development stage (e.g. feasibility study)
Post-exploitation phase (i.e. rehabilitation)
Sustainability scope
Role and indicators for an inclusive Green Economy
Holistic risk management and emergency preparedness
Workers well-being
Holistic management and continuous learning
Efficient energy consumption
Water stewardship
Air emissions
System change potential
improving health and safety of workers and operations, increasing productivity, environmental responsibility and efficiency in the use of resources