In my previous blogs I talked about two of the key trends driving the future of mining, The Impact of China and Sustainability Driving Competitive Advantage. These are two key trends factoring change for the Mining Industry – you can read the rest of the trends in The Future of Mining presented at the 2013 Perumin Mining Convention which covered topics from commodity business volatility to globalization. While these external factors are shaping and contributing to future change, and proving a challenge for operators…mining companies need to take hold and create programs which ensure their profitability and longevity.
I see three key programs which mining operators are identifying:
A Sustainable Mine:
- Safe and environmentally friendly
- With a license to operate
- Where shared value is created for communities, governments and customers
Productive, Efficient and Flexible:
- Being the best rather than biggest
- Supply chain optimization to deliver the right volume at the right quality and cost
- Optimization of the production resources (capital, people, assets, raw material, energy, etc.)
- Flexibility to adapt to the volatile business environment
Where Value is Created:
- Business value creation for shareholders
- Move beyond a “just dig” philosophy
- Extended value chain
Supporting and achieving these three programs requires significant shifts in business fundamentals, such as increased adaption of technology, investment in R&D and partnerships with suppliers and research organizations.
In a recent report, McKinsey Global Institute predicts that technology could transform access to both resources and its productivity, open up improvements for discovering new deposits and cost-effective extraction of metals.
Technologies and innovation will drive enhancements in exploration, mining, mineral processing, metal production, safety, environment and tailings and with collaboration with suppliers we should see some significant steps towards the mine of the future.
In future blogs I will spend time exploring, in more detail, how technological fundamentals are shaping a sustainable mine, driven by value creation and productive, efficient and flexible production.
In the meantime, are these challenges and shifts represented in your mine? Are you working towards a mine of the future, and utilizing technology to advocate change?