Mining has been typified of late as a boom and bust, cyclical industry operating against a steady decline in the size and quality of mineral deposits. Decreasing deposit grades and increasing costs of traditional mining techniques, all in the face of another commodity downturn, are forcing mining companies more than ever before to seek out new and innovative ways to operate. New technologies are emerging to model, control and track resources through the mining value chain, to move material about mines more efficiently, and to identify and separate ore from gangue early in the extraction process.
Discovering such technologies however is only the first challenge for mining companies. Actually implementing technological change successfully has proved to be an even bigger challenge. Like for many industries, fulfilling the promised benefits for the expense and timing envisioned, has not been easy when innovative technologies are introduced.
Citing the author’s insights and experiences in a number of emerging technologies, this paper explores barriers to implementing technological change in the mining context. Key elements of a change management framework, first developed for implementing mine management systems, are described to give mining executives insight into how they and their organisations can succeed through technology-driven change.
McCarthy, B, 2016. Successfully implementing technology-driven change in the mining environment, in Proceedings International Mine Management Conference, pp 89-104 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).