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How the pandemic sped up mine automation

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The adjustments miners had to make during the pandemic may have resulted in speeding up automation, said Eric Winsborrow, EVP Corporate Strategy, Wenco International Mining Systems.

On Friday Winsborrow joined editor Neils Christensen, Kitco correspondent Paul Harris and mining audiences manager Michael McCrae to record a podcast.

A subsidiary of Hitachi Construction Machinery, Wenco provides technology solutions to its parent company, such as fleet management and mining analytics.

During the pandemic, miners relied more on automation to keep people from coming into close quarters.

"The experience of not being able to have people on the mine site has really accelerated the realization that we don't need people on the mine site," said Winsborrow.

Winsborrow said miners are now embracing technologies like cloud infrastructure, so more mines can be managed remotely. Western Australia's Pilbara is a center of mine automation.

"How do you manage 13 mines in the Pilbara from one location? How do you manage multiple operations remotely? I never heard miners talking cloud. Now they are all talking to us about it," said Winsborrow.

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