Autonomous Mining: The Skills Migration needed for the Future

As mining companies are evolving with new technologies, there’s a greater need to understand how it will impact their workforce and what is needed to ensure a smooth transition. On March 25th, GMG held an Autonomous Mining online interactive event to discuss the emerging trends and understand the needs and concerns of the industry. GMG is developing a case study library for Autonomous Mining Skills Migration, join the upcoming workshops on May 6 and June 3.


Change Perception

Effective and transparent communication was repeatedly discussed during the breakout session – as it is key during a change-management process to discuss the benefits associated with automation and clear misconceptions. Automation champions can ease the process by advocating for the change, addressing any workforce concerns and building a culture. Transitioning into an autonomous or semi-autonomous operation usually requires the business to invest in training local workforce and holding workshops for operations. There is a call to action for major mining companies to share their experiences across platforms like GMG, and those beginning with the autonomous journey to begin investing in levels 0-3 of automation.

Key Challenges

While there are a vast amount of benefits related to autonomous mining, it comes with multiple challenges that need to be tackled before and during implementation. Mine operations will experience an important change in the way they operate and will require process change in regards to new equipment, including new safety measures. The change needs to be discussed with the appropriate labor unions regarding the process change and reskilling needed for the new workforce. At the same time, it brings up concerns about cybersecurity threats, data ownership and human-machine integration. In the early stages of implementation, the proper decision-making governance needs to be defined.

Examples of Migrations

There will be some changes to roles such as truck drivers, fleet operators, field workers, office workers, control room operators – among others – to take into consideration. It is critical to conduct screening on the current skills and skills gap of operators to build an effective training plan.

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