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Beyond Digital Transformation mining conference in Sudbury Feb. 6/20 (Dana Roberts/CTV Northern Ontario)

Leaders from across the mining industry are gathering in Sudbury this week to learn more about evolving trends in the industry.

The third iteration of the Beyond Digital Transformation, held at Cambrian College, is focussing on forward-thinking technologies and the benefits companies can gain.

"It’s about sharing information,” says Roy Slack, president of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum. "When people talk about networking they often think with marketing, but for us, networking is much more than that. It’s about collaboration. It’s about generating new ideas. It’s about innovation and that’s what’s happening at BDT 2020.”

Slack says the industry is constantly trying to inform the public on how high-tech mining is. 

Several businesses are showcasing new technologies, including BGC Engineering, which specializes in large-scale, earth-science projects. It is showcasing the new ADA Platform. 

"This is what we refer to as a mixed reality," says Keith Lay, marketing manager for BGC. "We are actually mixing the actual world that you are living with and putting the 3-D holograms into that space. What we’ve done is we’ve created software, where they can drag and drop that data into our tool and actually see that data for the first time as true, 3-D holograms."

The conference serves as an opportunity for those in the industry to learn of new technologies and trends from those who have first-hand experience. 

"I think in any industry there’s a saying that you want to be on the cutting edge, but not the bleeding edge, and maybe you want to be the second people to implement it," says Slack. "I think with mining, there’s lots of risk involved. Certainly, we always have to be careful and protect our people, so we’re very conscious of how a new technology may create another hazard we aren’t aware of."

The conference has expanded its reach this year, to reach younger demographics. 

"It’s not just the people in this room," says Slack. "It’s high tech, and this conference is being live-streamed to a number of locations. One thing we’re trying to do is engage students, so mining schools. Some of them are getting the livestream so they can participate and see what’s happening."