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Editorial comment

As spring arrives, groundbreaking ideas and initiatives within the mining industry continue to bloom. Only three months old, 2024 is already proving to be a remarkable year for innovation and transformation across all aspects of mining operations.

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I, along with the rest of the Global Mining Review team, had the privilege of attending SME MINEXCHANGE in Phoenix, USA, at the end of February, to meet industry leaders and witness their new technologies and programmes in action. This was an excellent opportunity to observe how much mining has developed in the past year, with the adoption of sustainability initiatives increasingly becoming a key point of discussion.

From electrifying vehicle fleets to improving energy efficiency through the use of artificial intelligence, the vast range of sustainable approaches promoted at the conference was impressive and encouraging. Undoubtedly, the next generation of mining leaders and engineers must adapt to increasing demand, not only for critical minerals across the world, but also for green technology that aids the decarbonisation of the industry as a whole.

By 2030, only half of the cobalt and lithium required for the green energy transition, and 80% of copper, will be produced by mines.1 .With mining so crucial to the progress of this transition, and consequently, to the future of our planet, it is clear that a unified, holistic approach to boosting production, while keeping emissions low, is required.

The need for investment in the net zero transition seems even more acute approaching the summer months. Scientists at the EU’s climate service recently raised alarm bells by confirming that 2023 was the warmest year since 1850, and they have warned that 2024 could be even hotter. 2

Everyone within the industry must therefore strive to work together, as minimising the impact of mining operations on the environment and surrounding communities is paramount. The safety and protection of the environment are at stake, not to mention the financial impacts and damage to the reputation of companies.

Electrification has become a hot topic across the mining industry as it searches for ways to reduce its emissions. This entails not only implementing battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in the mining process, but also using green energy to power every element of an operation. While the rise in electricity costs may pose an obstacle, companies have managed to develop automation and digitalisation solutions to improve energy efficiency and optimise the decarbonisation process.

Recognising the importance of electrification, GMR has launched its first virtual conference, titled ‘Electrification in Mining’. Taking place on 16 April, the event will feature a range of presentations from mining leaders and industry experts exploring the evolution of technologies and initiatives to promote the future of sustainable mining. Register for free on our website now:

This March issue of Global Mining Review also delves into other ways sustainability initiatives are implemented in all stages of the mining process. For example, TotalEnergies’ article on page 32 highlights how lubricants can play a crucial role in reducing the ecological footprint of mining activities. Meanwhile, on page 13, Stantec considers the advantages of implementing nature-based stream restoration methods in mine closure.

With the climate crisis looming over everyone’s lives, effective collaboration and cooperation between companies and countries are essential. The adoption of sustainable technologies and innovations across mining operations is not a matter of if, but when.


  1. SOBOTKA, B., ‘The mining industry must be ambitious in its support of the net zero transition’, World Economic Forum, (12 February 2024).
  2. SEABROOK, V., ‘2023 was world’s hottest year on record – and 2024 could be worse’, Sky News, (9 January 2024).

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