Challenges in moving from ad-hoc to planned mine technology innovation
Many mining companies today rely on their major OEM’s to deliver new, cost-efficient technology such as larger mining vehicles, GPS positioning and surveying systems, or fleet management products. Ad-hoc evaluation and/or development of technology is common but usually suffers from lack of funding and management support, operational constraints, availability of manpower, no, or limited, integration, and “it wasn’t invented here” syndrome. Innovation may also be stifled by these constraints, or it becomes the unique asset of the mine site because the developer and resident expert is the local champion. Consolidation of the mining industry has encouraged many mining companies to look for “best practices” at their mine sites and roll these out to their other properties. Phelps Dodge Mining Company created a dedicated Mine Technology team to identify, evaluate, justify, and implement technology and innovative processes across their mine sites in North and South America. Many challenges have remained the same, but having dedicated resources working on technology has improved the innovative process and adoption of new safety, productivity, and environmental systems across the company.
Technology, Best practices, Innovation