Blockchain & The Digital Twin

New and innovative technologies are combining to improve mine efficiency.

Data integrity is the key to developing new technologies that enhance the ways we mine and manage commodities. The reliability of data is what allows critical processes to operate accurately across vast distances and complex implementations. Concepts such as the digital twin combined with IoT infrastructure, blockchain technology and AI are set to revolutionise how the mining industry operates. As these processes are refined in mining they will spread to other vital industries.

“Information is the oil of the 21st century, and analytics is the combustion engine” — Peter Sondergaard

The digital twin will play a significant role in how we manage and develop mining systems. A digital twin is the replica of a process, product or business that can be used to predict behaviours over its lifecycle. There are numerous advantages to digital twinning but a core requirement is that the information utilised is accurate. It is here that the integrity of the blockchain becomes relevant to the development of this technology.

The mining sector is beginning to implement a number of use cases for digital twins that replicate mine sites, supply chains and equipment. Mining operations are currently using digital twinning to simulate and predict the future outcomes of processes throughout commodity supply chains. Innovations in AI and machine learning allow data analytics to be applied to these models to optimise mining processes. This is a rapidly expanding market and revenues from the digital twin industry are forecast to reach $13.3 billion by 2023

One valuable implementation of this technology is the remote management and monitoring of mine sites. Growth in data bandwidth now allows mining operations to be monitored from locations at great distances from the physical location of the mine. Remote monitoring delivers cost savings because operators are able to monitor multiple sites from the same facility. It also allows key personnel to be concentrated in the same location creating centres of excellence. Digital twins can be utilised in remote monitoring to replicate processes on the mine site for troubleshooting and optimisation. The key to building trust in digital twin systems is the integrity of the data used in the modelling. Blockchain technology ensures that data generated on the mine site is rapidly and immutably delivered to the digital twin.

Digital twins will soon play a significant role in verifying the authenticity of commodities. Blockchain technology can already be used to track the movement of goods along supply chains to verify their origin. Now with digital twinning that commodity can have its twin traverse a digital supply chain to verify that commodity movements match their intended path. Such processes will have an impact on illegally mined commodities by identifying deviations from the regulated behaviour. These virtual simulations will allow miners to track the movement of their products with extreme accuracy across the globe, streamlining operations and reducing the chances of theft.

Data is the new oil and its integrity is enhanced through the immutability of blockchain technology. With blockchains, we are able to distribute data across global networks with confidence in both the accuracy and speed of transmission. Blockchains consist of blocks of information that record network transactions. As each new block is created it contains a reference to the preceding block, creating an immutable chain of information.

These blockchains are stored across the network on ledgers which are updated as each new block is added to the chain. The term block time refers to the time it takes to create a new block and on the Ethereum blockchain, this is currently just over 13 seconds. The decentralised nature of blockchains ensures that there is no single point of failure within the system. It is because of this that decentralised systems are inherently more robust than centralised systems.

The programmable nature of blockchain transactions brings an additional layer of trust and security to complex global networks. Smart contracts are programmable self-executing actions which can be embedded into blockchain code. Once triggered these actions can be both trackable and irreversible. When a commodity reaches a certain stage of the supply chain an action can be triggered that identifies that state, changes a price or alerts an operator. These actions take place without a centralised authority and improve the accuracy of time-sensitive processes.

As the combination of these technologies is refined we will see them adopted in wider industries. Blockchain, digital twinning, AI and IoT will merge to improve industries such as healthcare, manufacturing and the management of utilities. The processes that emerge as efficient methodologies in commodity mining will soon impact and improve many other key industries in modern society

Enegra Group Ltd (LL15959) is a commodity trading company focused on resources in Southeast Asia. Equity in Enegra has been tokenised via the EGX security token. For enquiries related to the purchase of EGX please contact support@enegragroup.com.