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Technology change in underground mining – things to consider


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Author A G L Pratt


Change and its relationship with the introduction of new technology is a constant of human history. The mining industry has many examples of this relationship. This record contrasts with its present day struggles to move beyond a public perception of being just ‘dirty, dumb and dangerous’. The drivers for the introduction of new technology are frequently listed as the occupational health and safety of people working in the mines, reductions in direct operating costs, and increases in productivity.

This paper discusses the issues that a mining business needs to deal with to implement new technology with the best possible conditions for success. It comments on how the strategic and tactical components of technology planning relate to and interact with change management. The central discussion is directed at the role that people play in the successful implementation of new technology. The introduction of autonomous underground haulage equipment provides a background for the discussion of this topic.

The paper uses case study references, equipment supplier information and research findings. The aim is to offer a high-level view of the issues a mine operator needs to consider when approaching the introduction of new technologies for underground mining.


Pratt, A G L, 2017. Technology change in underground mining – things to consider, in Proceedings 13th AusIMM Underground Operators’ Conference 2017, pp 103–114 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).