Successfully Implementing Technology-Driven Change in the Mining Environment

Bob McCarthy
Monday, August 22, 2016
First presented: 
International Mine Management
Published paper

Best Paper winner at the AusIMM 2016 International Mine Management Conference.

Mining has been typified of late as a boom and bust, cyclical industry operating against a steady decline in the size and quality of mineral deposits. Decreasing deposit grades and increasing costs of traditional mining techniques, all in the face of another commodity downturn, are forcing mining companies more than ever before to seek out new and innovative ways to operate. New technologies are emerging to model, control and track resources though the mining value chain, to move material about mines more efficiently, and to identify and separate ore from gangue early in the extraction process.

Discovering such technologies however is only this first challenge for mining companies. Actually implementing technological change successfully has proved to be an even bigger challenge. Like for many industries, fulfilling the promised benefits for the expense and timing envisioned, has not been easy when innovative technologies are introduced.

Citing the author's insights and experiences in a number of emerging technologies, this paper explores barriers to implementing technological change in the mining context. Key elements of a change management framework, first developed for implementing mine management systems, are described to give mining executives insight into how they and their organisations can succeed though technology-driven change.

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Feature Author

Bob McCarthy

Bob McCarthy is a professional mining engineer with 30 years of experience in mine operations and engineering, asset management, technology design and implementation, and consulting. He has worked at numerous mines in western Canada, gaining experience in roles across the spectrum of mine functions and to the level of department manager.

Bob’s technical strengths lie in mine design and planning, due diligence and technical reviews, technology selection and implementation, project and change management, and mine financial analysis. Bob is particularly knowledgeable about In-Pit Crushing and Conveying (IPCC) and ore sorting, having completed multiple studies on the subject and presented at several international conferences.

Principal Mining Engineer
SRK Vancouver
SRK North America