As the Industrial Revolution 4.0 engulfs Australia, businesses are gearing up for the inevitable. Net Zero and 4.0 will require wholesale changes to the nation’s industrial sectors. And these changes will encompass digital transformation and adoption through new, improved processes and operational techniques.

4.0 is not about ‘if’ but ‘when’. 

Digital transformation refers to how companies adopt and integrate digital technology into each aspect of their business.

As one of the country’s largest sectors, employing vast numbers of people and on the cusp of a new critical minerals boom, Mining 4.0 will set the stage for the future success of Australia’s resources industry. 

However, companies are now faced with an imposing set of challenges if they are to maintain a license to operate. Under rising public pressures, and their own high standards and progress goals, miners must let go of the past to embrace everything that the future holds.

Industry 4.0, or the fourth industrial revolution, is the advancement and optimisation of computing technology introduced in the prior (third) revolution.

So let’s dive into Mining 4.0 and look at what’s in store for one of the major engines of Australia’s economy. 

Are environmental regulations, health and safety concerns or potential profit loss a concern right now?


A Change at the Coal-face of Mining

Miners now operate under close scrutiny and the watchful eye of investor groups who consider Environment, Sustainability and Governance (ESG) a top priority.

ESG compliance and acceleration have become the benchmark rather than a box tick.

Simply put, ESG for miners is no longer an option but a minimum operating standard. Added to this is the global push for net zero carbon emissions, something which weighs heavily on the resources sector as traditionally heavy polluters.

Industry 4.0 is a merging of the physical and digital worlds through technology, including:

  • Advanced automation 
  • Sensor technology 
  • Data analytics 
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) 
  • Machine-to-machine communication 
  • Robotics 
  • And machine learning.

Both Mining 4.0 and net zero are closely linked, with rising digitisation critical to the success of emission reduction targets.

In Australia, where mining is responsible for up to 30% of Scope Three emissions, operators have their work cut out for them. And without the data, transparency, collaboration and control digitalisation offers, net zero by 2050 is just a pipe dream.

In essence, the journey to full Decarbonisation and Mining 4.0 are interlinked at their core.


Enter the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)

In the new industrial and mining landscapes, connectivity will be essential.

Following its predecessor, the Internet of Things, the IIot – an industrial cousin – will enable miners to track and meet their climate, safety, production and other targets. Smart mines in operation and soon to emerge will be enabled by the IIoT, which simply refers to smart devices (anything with a readable digital identity) that can collect and exchange data. 

Mining 4.0, by intent, is based on the reality that connectivity happens through technology.

While already underway, the fourth industrial revolution was boosted thanks to the Covid 19 pandemic. During this time, miners came face to face with 4.0, alongside the reality of their remote systems and their effectiveness.

In some cases, they were not at all.

But pressing on from the pandemic, miners are making great strides in their search for better ways of operating, connecting and doing business in this new world.



The fourth industrial revolution is taking place before our eyes, and Mining 4.0 will be at the forefront.

Enabling and advancing the hunt for net zero, a more substantial commitment to ESG principles and greater efficiencies across the board, it’s a revolution facilitated by advanced technology. As the critical minerals boom accelerates and miners face a bright new horizon, this digital transformation will pave the way for a renewed mining industry with all the flow on benefits to society.


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