Reengineering Surface and Underground Mining Processes to Enable the Benefits of Information Technology

CIM Vancouver 2002
Malcolm Scoble, Michael Lipsett,
Abstract Information technology (IT) initiatives in the past have tended to be sold on their ability to maximise resource output and return on capital by using assets more effectively and efficiently. Many IT projects fail, not delivering return on their investment. This is known in the IT industry as the “productivity paradox,” where increasing investments in IT do not result in comparable increases in productivity. Experiences and studies of most business sectors reveals that this paradox is rooted in the false assumption that more IT spending automatically results in financial benefit, whereas the true source of benefits is in how effectively IT is used. Most business sectors have accepted that the reengineering of processes is required to gain the full benefits promised of IT.

A mining operation has bureaucratic processes similar to most business sectors but unique operational processes. Reengineering lessons of these more common business processes such as inventory control and customer-supplier relationships can be adequately transposed into a mine. The unique operational processes in mines, however, would require reengineering efforts that are unique. Several information technology opportunities have recently or soon will become available, such as integrated mine production management systems or training simulators. This paper reviews the latest IT and outlines the processes and form of reengineering that will be required in order to benefit from these new investment options.
Keywords: reengineering, Information technology
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