The mining industry is primed for automation. It’s capital intensive, buys expensive equipment and pays relatively well.
This industry is adopting self-driving trucks, automated loaders and automated drilling and tunnel-boring systems. It is also testing fully autonomous long-distance trains, which carry materials from the mine to a port, according to the report by the International Institute for Sustainable Development in Winnipeg, Canada.
The U.S. mining industry employed 634,600 people in 2014, according to data from the National Mining Association. It created another 1.3 million indirect jobs.
The government report on coal mining doesn’t assess automation, but the data hints at it.
West Virginia had the largest decline in the average number of employees in 2014, the government notes, “declining by 1,951 employees (9.6%), despite only a small reduction (0.5%) in statewide total coal production.
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