Boom in Mining Startups

Current trend | There is a linear trend towards opening up new mining startups

Similar to other industries, the mining industry also picks up startup trends in various mining related operations. Now there are nearly 200 startups operating in different continents in the world. They cover most mining activities. It is fascinating to witness the services, solutions and products they offer to the industry. Mining companies should leverage services provided by the startups instead of inventing everything by themselves. By doing that, a mining company can accelerate progress towards sustainable mining by going digital and green. There are various startups working in different domains available to help mining companies to improve their business. So it is highly recommended to leverage their services, solutions and products. This brings an outside perspective into the mining business as well.

As shown in the graph above, startup investors use their money to open up new startups gradually. That is a positive sign, given the recent mining downturn. The investors have seen value in investing their money into mining startups.

Mining startup focus areas | Investors are mainly focused on six areas

Startup owners are mainly focused on six areas to improve the mining business; technology, infrastructure, environment, finance, human resources and operations. For each category there are several focus areas as well.

Services provided by technology driven startups:

Services provided by infrastructure, environment, human resources, finance and operations driven startups:

Services, products and solutions | The majority of mining startups are designed to create value by leveraging technology

As illustrated in the figure above, 37% of startups are focused on technology development in the mining sector. It is great to see 10% focused on environment and embracing the concepts of green mining. It is also good to see 8% being allocated for health and safety, mining education and training, recruitment and staff optimizing.

Geography | Startups are spread over all continents

World mining startup distribution:

Mining startup businesses are widely distributed throughout the globe. Australia and the USA show similar percentages for startups when compared to other countries as shown in the graph below. The results make sense, as Australia and the USA are the giant mining hubs of the world. There should be growing potential for the startup market in these countries.

Number of operating mining startups based on the country:

Top 10 contributors for mining startup originating cities:

It is surprising to see that the majority of startups are based in Santiago, Chile. Next are the four big Australian mining cities, Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne and Sydney. There are not a lot of mines operating in New South Wales and Victoria in Australia. However, Melbourne and Sydney are the mining business hubs, and that could be the reason some of the startups are originating from there. Other contributors are Canadian cities such as Toronto, Calgary, Ottawa, Johannesburg in South Africa, and San Francisco in the US.

Conclusion

It is good to see that startups are there to help the mining sector improve their activities in different areas of operation. We need to utilize these off-shelf services to improve the mining business. One of the main barriers is that mining leaders are trying to reinvent the wheel and thinking too much about it. The leadership does not realise that everything is already out there. Mining leadership needs have to have a clear understanding of the services offered by startups, as some of them are at their early stage of developing their startup business. There are also well-established startups which have doing business for the last 3-4 years with different mining clients.

In summary, the mining leadership should try to leverage lucrative services, optimized products and innovative solutions that are provided by these startups in order to improve the mining business. It would be beneficial for the development of the mining sector in the long run.

I would happy to discuss this further with you. Please contact me via email.

About the author:

Kash Sirinanda has a doctorate in mine planning and optimisation from the University of Melbourne, Australia. During his PhD studies and post-doctoral work at the University, Kash developed algorithms for generating designs that maximise the NPV of a mining operation. That work provides the basis for software that assists mine planners to design more profitable mines. Kash was also a visiting scholar at the Colorado School of Mines, USA.

He has worked on various mining projects which include due diligence, operation, analytics, optimization and digital in different commodities around the globe. He is a keynote speaker and provides mining leaders with strategic direction, and visionary leadership.

Kash´s vision is to engage, partner, and collaborate with leaders and decision makers to transform a business into a best-in-class, advanced digital and sustainable-enabled competency company.

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