Another common question: “Will digitalization and automation create new mining jobs that do not exist today?” In fact, this is already happening. Who would have thought, for instance, that data scientists with solutions architecture, coding and technology experience would one day be in demand at remote mine sites to carry out dashboarding, visualization and technology integration?
Some companies are choosing to create in-house digital teams, while others outsource to providers like ABB to take advantage of software and coding expertise, on top of the knowledge of mechanical systems, and platforms such as ABB Ability™ Genix Industrial Analytics and AI Suite
, Operations Management System
and Stockyard Management System
In the future, mine operations managers, rather than focusing solely on throughput and process KPIs, will oversee the use of analytics tools and dashboarding that allow them to holistically consider the sites performance with consideration to safety and sustainability. This will require a new skillset to enable them to connect disparate systems, and make sense of, and augment, the algorithms being used. That role doesn’t exist right now.
Across the entire value chain of a mining operation, from truck drivers to shift managers, every worker must adapt to the new technologies and processes that continue to be introduced. They should be prepared to improve their literacy in digital solutions from wearables to autonomous haulage and be open and able to work harmoniously with their new colleagues, whether it is with robots or perhaps data scientists.
It is up to the chief operations officer, the head of mine operations and the management team to change the culture of the organisation to attract and retain a new generation of qualified, digitally literate talent.
The technology transition must therefore be supported by the transformation of processes and people. How well a specific solution solves a use case must go hand in hand with how it fits within the overall operational business culture. Successful change management is key but is often overlooked.