Since Pekka Vauramo began as CEO of Metso, the company has made acquisitions at a pace faster than in years. As a result of these, Metso has built up its product portfolio, bolstered its technological expertise and expanded its service network. The merger with Outotec will create one of the world’s largest mining technology companies.

Megatrends as an engine for the mining industry

Many of the current megatrends necessitate the increased use of minerals. The electrification of transport requires doubling the production of new copper, as electric vehicles contain 80 kilograms copper and recycling along is not sufficient to meet the increased demand. Urbanization and continuous new construction also intensify the use of minerals and crushed stone. The growing middle class means higher living standards and a greater demand for metals.

At the same time, natural resources are depleted, and ore deposits with increasingly poor concentrations are tapped.

“As the quantities of necessary materials continue to increase, energy consumption becomes a crucial factor in the equation. The processing of the redundant material also presents challenges and opportunities,” Vauramo explains.

Digitalization entering mines

The mining industry has shifted from discussing digitalization on a general level to developing data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence as ways to collect and utilise massive amounts of data.

“The openness of data is a key issue – who owns the information, and how could it potentially be exploited by outsiders. Exaggerated caution is also a risk in itself,” Vauramo reminds customers. “The risk is missing opportunities for development and learning from others. In order to get results, something must be given in return. In this, anonymity must of course be ensured.”

The mining industry is in competition with other sectors for talented employees, and younger generations expect to be able to use methods offered by digitalization in their work.

The rising importance of environmental issues

“While environmental issues may well influence the competitive landscape, they certainly at least have an impact on compliance,” Vauramo says. “The climate report of autumn 2018 woke up any remaining companies to start considering what effects climate change will have on their business. While regulatory requirements set the minimum standard for operations, we strive to anticipate future needs in developing our products. The quickest to respond to changes often stand to benefit the most.”