On the occasion of the 16th international MiningForum of DMT GROUP, Essen/Germany, in Berlin, the editor of the Mining Report Glückauf talked to Jens-Peter Lux, Managing Director of DMT, and Maik Tiedemann, CEO of DMT, Essen/Germany (Figure 1).
Mining Report Glückauf (MRG): Mr. Lux, this year’s DMT MiningForum was very well attend-ed. To what do you attribute the great interest?
Jens-Peter Lux: There are two main reasons: MiningForum, with its 360° perspective on all relevant aspects along the value chain in the natural resources sector, is an established event that has attracted an international audience for years. The visitors know: Not only the latest technologies, information and developments can be found here, but the Forum also offers an excellent opportunity to get into conversation with each other and exchange ideas in person with experts and decision-makers from all relevant sectors after the too long Covid break.
On the other hand, the crucial role of the natural resources sector is becoming more apparent today than ever before. Digitalisation, the energy and mobility transition as well as high-tech applications are not possible without the appropriate natural resources. If the current challenges are to be overcome, natural resources are at the centre.
MRG: What are the reasons for you to permanently commit to Berlin as a venue?
Lux: Berlin is an international, easily accessible capital with an international audience. But above all, Berlin is an important hub for European and international politics and stands for innovative strength, diversity and networking, which reflects the character of the event very well. We have therefore made a very conscious decision and actively developed it further in order to be able to guarantee the added value of specialist information in the years to come. It is about nothing less than working together on the big issues of our time.
MRG: Mr. Tiedemann, as you know, the DMT GROUP has its roots in mining. Today, under the umbrella of TÜV NORD GROUP, you are a globally active engineering and consulting company that also operates successfully in the energy sector, in plant construction or in the infrastructure sector. To what extent do the experience you gained in mining and the associated know-how help you in this?
Maik Tiedemann: Change is something that has shaped the natural resources sector for decades. It is almost part of everyday life for us to constantly find new answers to changing requirements and framework conditions. Of course, this has helped us a lot in opening up new markets.
In addition, the technologies used in mining must meet the highest standards in terms of safety, environment and functionality. This means that we often directly fulfil the requirements of other markets, which makes the transfer of know-how and technology correspondingly easy to implement.
Questions about greater efficiency and higher sustainability have always been very present in mining. As a mining community, as the DMT GROUP, we provide the answers, which can often be transferred very well to other fields of application. We have been doing this very consistently and successfully for many years. Today, with the great breadth and depth of offers and activities, our structures are clearly organised and functional. They offer the flexibility to adapt to new requirements in an agile manner, so that we can quickly offer our customers well thought-out, up-to-date and future-proof solutions across all markets.
MRG: The motto of this MiningForum is “For a Sustainable Future”. On the one hand, what is your definition of sustainable mining, what goals do you associate with it and what measures do you think will enable you to achieve them, and on the other hand, do you see these sustainability goals possibly endangered by the current upheavals in the (energy) natural resources supply as a result of the war in Ukraine?
Lux: From extraction to recycling: Our industry plays a key role in the transformation towards a climate-neutral economy. The natural resources sector makes an important contribution to a sustainable world. The importance of natural resources and the functioning of international supply chains have been clearly demonstrated by current geopolitical events, as well as previously by the pandemic. No economic model can do without natural resources – the question is which ones are in focus, what they are used for and under what conditions they are extracted.
Minerals, e. g., are urgently needed for decarbonisation and the energy and mobility transition. Raw materials are indispensable for progress in digitalisation, the high-tech environment and mobile communication. The development of sustainable energy resources – here geothermal energy – is not possible without wide-area exploration. Technologies for renewable energies such as wind power or photovoltaics require huge quantities of copper, iron or aluminium and also significant quantities of the so-called critical raw materials.
Mining itself is also becoming more sustainable in all aspects along the value chain. This begins with exploration and extends to extraction and processing, mine closures and the renaturation of former mining areas, and finally to the consistent development and exploitation of “secondary deposits” in the recycling cycle. For the industry, this definitely means a challenge. It is their task to develop and implement a sustainable vision.
Of course, there are other important aspects of sustainability, because it must be considered holistically – in strategies and communication as well as in processes and technologies. The term ESG, e. g., which is often used at the moment, includes “social” and “governance” in addition to environmental aspects. We also have a responsibility here, especially at the international level. With the leitmotif “For a Sustainable Future”, we want to help shape change: transparently, efficiently and as collaboratively as possible. We are working on new standards that will have an impact worldwide and can set an example beyond the industry.
Whether ESG – environmental, social, governance – or digitalisation, whether sustainable natural resoruces extraction or long-term strategies: There are numerous challenges to which MiningForum can make a significant contribution.
MRG: Final question: Where do you see your company in terms of sustainability in ten years’ time?
Lux: We can safely assume that the path we have taken will be consistently followed across all sectors and markets, and that our activities and portfolio will be characterised by sustainability. To this end, new concepts will be developped and new technologies will be used to shape all internal processes and customer developments in terms of social responsibility, environmental protection and good corporate governance. On this basis, we advise companies, institutions, authorities and ministries worldwide and implement engineering solutions – e. g., on topics such as hydrogen and geothermal energy as well as standards for assessing sustainability. We also support the relevant bodies in creating an adequate legislative framework. All these areas are about sustainability. If we want to achieve common goals, there is a lot to do within the next ten years.