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There is no question that mining operations are big undertakings that require a lot of work from all involved. To increase productivity all parties need to be working together as a team in a cohesive manner. Sometimes though, it may seem that higher mining productivity is at odds with worker safety, so there is a constant struggle in keeping it safe, yet profitable. Shift managers for instance may be stressed about the target demands by higher-ups, whilst at the same time keeping the workers safe. Worker safety and efficiency don’t have to be playing a game of tug of war to make ends meet. Instead, there are a few ways to raise production levels and improve productivity in mining, all whilst keeping it safe.
Reducing workplace stress
We mentioned a little bit about workplace stress before, and this usually comes from an uneven production variation. A quota may not have been reached by what was planned by management, and the mining company may be scrabbling and sending workers into overtime to either reach the quota or make up for lost time. Yet, supervisors and shift managers want to create a working environment that is productive, and safe, but may feel an extra level of stress trying to reach what seems like an impossible goal. Essentially, not everyone is on the same page.
There are management strategies and new software technologies that work to make the workers more visible to management. This means that there needs to be a clear and open line of communication from the bottom, all the way to the top. Management can’t expect to know or even predict the production rate without knowing what is going on at the forefront of work. This open line of communication should mean that both trust and some authority is given to those who are actually doing the work. This is a proactive method of management that is forward-looking, and efficient as it can free up management from micromanaging the site, and save workers from overworking themselves.
Implementing new technology
Technology is essential to almost any industry for greater productivity, and this is especially true within the mining industry. Mine sites, as mentioned before need to be cohesive and run smoothly, with open-end communication. There are innovative technologies available to make this process easier.
There are numerous technologies that work to increase safety and increase production levels, such as remotely operated and autonomous machinery. This kind of machinery has AI built within it that has a machine learning process, which determines the most effective way to do its job by collecting data from cloud-based applications, sensors, and mapping technology. Such autonomous technology includes vehicles, drones and security equipment, such as boom gate control.
This mapping technology works to provide geologists and engineers with a reliable and easy-to-understand reading of what’s around them. The reading is then used by other smart technologies on the mine and available for analysis, so mining operations can target higher priority jobs.
Scheduling and maintenance
Plants and machinery are a large part of what keeps mine sites operational, and they’re due for repair often. Repairs should be around 30-50% of their operational costs, so that there is an almost equal priority between them running and having maintenance done.
Sites need to manage their scheduling and maintenance so that the mine can continue to run, and allow shift managers to design their schedule around the repairs. Sometimes though, there may be unexpected downtime due to unforeseen machinery malfunction, which can have a significant impact on the mining productivity as a whole. Mining companies should be on top of repairs and maintenance schedules to decrease the likelihood that unexpected repairs are needed, and have a backup plan in place if there is a breakdown. This open line of communication between the different roles in a major way to gain significant improvements in mining operation productivity.
Let us know if you require onsite mining maintenance and support for your mobile technology and communications!
Prepare for change
Mines are an evolving business; what may have seemed essential to the mining industry a few years ago may be redundant now. Sometimes mines must operate at a lower capacity as commodity prices rise and lower. It’s essential for mining companies to adapt and change with the times by adapting to new methods of mining, implementing smart mining technologies, and prioritising worker safety. Running an efficient and sustainable company that communicates to its workers will be able to survive and adapt to any future market changes.
Explore our range of communication and smart technologies
Here at Mining Technicians Group Australia we have a range of smart technologies available for any mine site to help your company adapt to the times and improve productivity. We know that every mine site is different, and there isn’t a perfect one-size-fits-all technology out there, but we have a dedicated team of expert engineers and technicians that will design the best available to best fit your needs.