Urbanisation. The development of transport and energy infrastructure. The digitalisation of the economy. The introduction of alternative energy sources. The electrification of transport. These and other global trends will be the main drivers of growth in the consumption of metals, minerals and energy for the foreseeable future.  The resource base of most developed and developing countries largely determines their potential for economic growth, wellbeing and security. The mineral resource base is an important competitive advantage for Russia, both with regards to internal factors, and in the creation of international alliances. Through 2050, the mineral resource base and mineral complex of the Russian Federation will continue to make an important contribution to the gross domestic product of the country, and to the national budget.

One of the global trends in the mining industry is the depletion of the mineral resources and the rise in the cost of extraction of raw materials. According to the Fraser Institute, Russia ranks 17th among 120 countries in terms of geological potential.  More than 70% of reserves in Russia come from traditional and easily recoverable sources.  But not all of them can be economically extracted. In order to ensure the sustainable development of the industry, mining companies and the state are faced with the task of stimulating the growth of the mineral resource base and developing new technologies that reduce the cost of extracting minerals and metals.

Mining and Exploration today are the strategic sectors on which the economic development of Russia depends. Ensuring the growth of reserves is associated both with the development of new territories in the Arctic and the far East, and with the industry digitalisation. According to the Russian Economic Forum, the potential effect of digitalization on the Russian economy is an increase in the country’s GDP by 4.1–8.9 trillion roubles by 2025, which represents between 19% and 34% of the total expected GDP growth. Even greater gains may be encountered in the subsoil use sector, as large-scale digitalisation will significantly reduce the cost of the most expensive components – exploration, drilling and transportation – and will ensure rational subsoil use. The creation of a single geo platform that incorporates research data will give a new impetus to the regional geological exploration. Another promising tool for ensuring quality improvement in the industry is the transition to more efficient energy-saving technologies.

Unpredictability and rapid changes in the markets determine the success or failure of mining companies. Manual and reactive control is becoming less effective.  Ensuring sustainable development of modern mining business is now largely dependent on the introduction of a culture of constant renewal and business agility, as well as the creation of new models that anticipate the future needs of consumers.

The 16th MINEX Russia Mining and Exploration Forum, organised in Moscow, will offer a platform for discussion of the challenges and prospects for subsoil use development in the era of digitalisation of the economy, growth of demand for strategic metals and minerals, and the transformation of the mining industry.