• Tom Jordan

5 Practical Tips for Moving Your Mining Tech Resources Offsite

Updated: Oct 30, 2020

As the push for digital transformation in the mining industry rolls on, last month we outlined some compelling reasons why you should consider moving your mining tech resources off-site and into areas where it is easier to attract and retain a wider pool of talent and an enhanced support network.

In this month's MTS blog, we are going to offer some advice on how this can be practically accomplished.

MTS at Newmont's Global Asset Health Centre
Newmont Asset Health Centre - Remotely Monitoring Multiple Sites Globally

1. Digital Transformation in the Mining Industry Needs a Reliable Network

Network access and reliability to remote sites is often fraught with challenges. Mining digital transformation relies heavily on investing in a secure, reliable network connection. A fast, secure and reliable connection also pays dividends when IT support, contractors, system administrators and mining tech analysts can all be reliably hosted off-site.

This allows them to have full access to their own resources, work more productively, with fewer distractions, less associated travel expenses and favourable rotations that will attract the most talented candidates.

2. Start with Non-Front Line Mining Technology Roles

Does your FMS Administrator really need to attend daily production planning meetings? We don’t think so. The role of mining technology Administrators, System Analysts and other back-of-house mining tech specialists should be focused around;

  • Ensuring the FMS is running smoothly in preparation for each shift (such as archiving mining blocks, mine model configuration and data quality checks).

  • Ensuring servers and applications are running smoothly.

  • Undertaking scheduled system maintenance such as backups, patching and updates.

  • Extracting data from the system to help optimise the operation.

  • Providing support to front-line roles (such as dispatchers).

Giving the people filling mining tech roles space to perform vital duties without the constant interruptions of a bad network connection, power outages and/or unnecessary meetings will ultimately result in extracting maximum value from your FMS.

3. Use Pit Cameras

Consider installing pit cameras (such as Axis) for a much clearer context of what is happening in real-time on your site. FMS system monitors and mine models, as informative as they are, don’t fully provide the same visual context as camera imagery. Although pit cameras are not new technology in mining, they can still be invaluable in day-to-day operations.

4. Mining Technology Systems for Collaboration

Work productivity can be impacted when people break up into remote teams; with our global projects at MTS across multiple time zones, this is something we have had to work hard to overcome!

The importance of clear communication, task allocation, accountability and visible deadlines becomes even greater when working remotely as part of mining digital transformation.

At MTS we are fond of tools such as Google G-Suite for collaborative working documents, files etc., Trello for task tracking, TeamGantt for Project/Resource management, Zoom for screen-sharing/conferences, to name a few. Where appropriate and possible each is cross-integrated to minimise duplication of work. There are many other productivity tools available, but these are secure, easy to use and simple to administer.

5. Ensure Regular On-site Rotations for Your Mining Technology Team

Although this comes with an overhead, rotating your off-site mining tech team on-site every few weeks helps ensure they remain current with the operation. Most importantly, it helps ensure that a close working relationship with colleagues is maintained - after all, new mining technology has not yet totally replaced the importance of face-to-face time in the mining industry!

We hope you found this blog useful and informative. Over the past few years, we have found ourselves working on more and more projects in this area. For a demonstration of how we can help boost your site's dispatching effectiveness, drop us a line here