Modern mining

AIMS 2019 Conference fostered international exchange on “Mines of the Future” in Aachen

T‌‌‌he second international conference “Mines of the Future” took place in Aachen on13 to 14 June 2019. Due to the great interest in the topic “Mines of the Future“, Professor Bernd Lottermoser, conference chair of the renowned AIMS conference series, deepened the theme. With more than 180 representatives from universities research institutes, government agencies, consulting firms and industry, experts from 28 nations met again to discuss the latest knowledge, developments and activities in the mining industry and research, leading the way for responsible and modern mining.

Three plenary lectures addressed the potential of marine mineral resources for future global metal supply (Sven Petersen, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre, Kiel/Germany), with managing the metals demand for clean mobility as contribution of responsible sourcing and circular business models (Christian Hagelüken, Umicore AG & Co KG, Hanau/Germany) as well as with the potential of mineral characterization and grouping for sustainable georesources management (Bernhard Dold, Luleå University of Technology, Sweden).

A further 43 lectures were presented in two parallel thematic blocks and put up for discussion. The topic “Science” focused on tailings and mine wastes, methods and measurements as well as challenges in mining. The topic “Technology” dealt with digitalization, equipment and methods, modelling, resource extraction as well as new systems. The third topic “Responsibility” focused on social operating license, engagement and closure. Additional 13 poster presentations as well as 10 companies, using the opportunity to present their products and developments to the international audience formed an excellent basis together with the lectures for a lively exchange of ideas and dicussions during the breaks and during the evening event in the Coronation Hall of the Aachen City Hall.

The general attitude of the 2019 very successful conference was that it can not continue as before. Modern mining needs to be profitable, it should operate with environmental integrity, be considerate of social concerns and be supported by effective government systems. At the same time, mining companies face operational challenges. Such challenges will only be solved through very important changes, in the way the mining sector engages with society, uses energy, protects the environment, educates professionals and pursues innovations. This also means that not only technical competence but also social and intercultural competence will become increasingly important in the future.

Accordingly, the motto of the concluding panel discussion “Mines of the future will need to be different to those of today”. Five international experts – Johannes Gediga (thinkstep AG, Germany), Joachim Hoppe (HAVER & BOEKER ­NIAGARA GmbH, Germany), Andre Jakobs (Sandvik Mining and Construction, Germany), Miia Mikkonen (Timegate Instruments, Finland) und Harm Nolte (Eijkelkamp SonicSampDrill, The Netherlands) – commented on the future challenges of global mining. It is indispensable to reduce waste streams in the mines of the future, to gain social acceptance and thus operating licenses, to introduce renewable energies, to consider environmental aspects and to continue to innovate.

Professor Lottermoser and his staff are delighted with the conference‘s outcomes and already look forward to the next AIMS conference. AIMS 2020 will be focused on “Mineral resources for future generations” and is expected to take place on 2 to 3 April 2020 in Aachen.

Autor/Author:

Ulrike Mehl, Redaktion AT MINERAL PROCESSING

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