The Future Miner: How Technology has Changed the Mining Skillset

The Future Miner: How Technology has Changed the Mining Skillset

How technology is changing the skills required for the modern mining workforce…

The mining industry is undergoing a technological revolution, and the skills required of its workforce are changing rapidly. In the future, miners will need to be highly skilled in a wide range of areas, including data analysis, robotics, and automation.

Traditionally, mining has been quite a physically demanding job. However, as mines become more automated, the skillset for miners is evolving to be able to operate and maintain complex machinery and systems while analysing large amounts of data to make better informed decisions.

The modern miner will likely be skilled in the following topics:

1. Data analysis

Mines collect a massive amount of data with, up until recently, very little being done with it. Many operations are waking up to this underutilised resource and are now looking to convert their data into value. Modern miners will be able to analyse, and interpret data in order to improve efficiency and productivity.

2. Robotics and automation

As more and more robotics and automation is used underground, miners will need to become skilled in advanced engineering and maintenance in order to keep these advanced systems and machines working.

3. Software

Modern mining equipment is a hybrid of machine and computer, miners will need the skills to not only work with and fix the hardware of the equipment but software as well.

4. Planning/project management

Mine planning has become a lot more advanced in recent years and companies like to stick to the mining plan as much as possible. The high grades of the past are gone in many operations and with it alot of flexibility. Having good planning and project management skills to be able to stick to a plan as much as possible while thinking dynamically and coming up with solutions to problems in order to stay on plan is becoming invaluable in the modern operation.

One of the biggest challenges facing the mining industry is the lack of young people interested in pursuing a career in mining. This is due to a number of factors, including the perception that mining is a dangerous and dirty job, the lack of awareness of the opportunities available in the industry, and the competition from other industries for talent.

In reality, safety has massively increased in the last 20 years and continues to improve. Opportunities in the industry have never been better, but there seems to be a real disconnect between the industry and educational institutions where highly skilled talent could be recruited from. For an industry now competing for highly sought after skills in IT and engineering, the approach of people passively “falling into mining” is gone. In order to secure the supply of skills the industry will need for the future, a more energetic approach is needed.

The new skills required in the mining industry open up the possibility of mining careers to individuals who previously wouldn’t consider it. For example, individuals with strong data analysis or software development skills could have successful careers in the mining industry, even if they don’t have a traditional mining background. The case needs to be made for these people to swap industries and bring their expertise into mining. The creation of re-skilling and job transition courses widely found in the likes of the financial services industry would be a good place to start.

Mining companies can also address the skill shortage by investing in their existing workforce to develop these new skills. This can be done by providing training and development opportunities, and by creating career paths for workers to move into new roles.

The future of mining will undoubtedly be technology driven and the modern miner will need the skillset to utilise these systems in order to add value to their operations.

Have we missed anything out? We look forward to hearing from you!

Author: Subhrata Sinha

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