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From shortage to success: how to use technology to combat the labor shortage in the mining industry

Nov 3, 2023 | Insights

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How technology contributes toward labor shortage in mining solutions

As the mining industry grapples with a significant labor shortage, it is increasingly clear that innovative technological solutions are the key to overcoming this challenge. From automation to artificial intelligence, we’re leveraging advanced technologies to optimize operations, enhance productivity, and address the labor shortage in the sector. These technologies are not merely mitigating current workforce challenges, but also shaping a future-ready mining industry that attracts a diverse pool of talent, bolstering the resilience of this sector.

While these advancements are transforming the landscape of the mining industry, their adoption must be strategic, ensuring we optimally harness their potential while promoting the wellbeing and satisfaction of our workforce. This article will delve into several emerging technologies and their application in the mining industry. Each of them offers unique benefits, and their collective use presents a holistic approach to addressing the labor shortage in mining, enhancing operational efficiency, and paving the way for a sustainable future in the resources sector.

 

 

Why is it important to use technology to combat labor shortages?

The integration of technology in the mining sector is paramount, especially when labor shortages are threatening the vitality and sustainability of the industry. Labor is the backbone of mining operations, and any shortage can lead to significant disruptions, escalating operational costs, and diminishing productivity. Implementing innovative technological solutions serves as a pivotal strategy to maintain uninterrupted operations, enabling the industry to sustain output and adhere to delivery commitments, which is essential in fostering robust relationships with stakeholders and maintaining a competitive edge in the global market.

Moreover, the infusion of technology in mining operations not only addresses immediate labor challenges but also plays a critical role in reshaping the perception of the mining industry. By fostering an environment of innovation and advanced learning, the industry becomes an attractive career destination for a diverse and tech-savvy workforce. This transformation is crucial in ensuring the longevity of the mining sector, as it paves the way for the infusion of fresh perspectives and novel approaches, enhancing adaptability and resilience in facing future industry challenges and fluctuations.

Additionally, strategic adoption of technology underscores a commitment to the well-being and development of the mining workforce. It creates an ecosystem where routine and hazardous tasks are automated, reducing the risk to human life and allowing workers to focus on more value-driven roles, fostering job satisfaction and employee growth. This holistic approach not only addresses immediate labor concerns but also contributes to building a more sustainable, efficient, and inclusive mining industry, thus securing the future of the resources sector across the globe.

 

How technology can be used

 

Automation

In addressing labor shortage solutions for the mining sector, automation presents an attractive strategy. Autonomous machinery and robotic systems, such as automated drilling systems and self-driving trucks, can perform tasks traditionally handled by workers, effectively easing labor shortages. With advancements in technology, we see automation not just replacing manual labor, but also improving the precision and efficiency of tasks, which in turn increases overall productivity.

Furthermore, we’re already observing some degree of automation within existing mining companies, demonstrating the sector’s receptiveness to these solutions. The potential for more widespread use, however, remains vast. As these technologies become more sophisticated and affordable, we can expect a broader adoption across the sector. Expanding the use of these autonomous solutions will not only meet the immediate needs of mining workers but also enhance the long-term productivity and sustainability of the sector.

DINGO’s Remote Asset Health Center complements automation efforts by providing a centralized hub of specialized maintenance professionals who can remotely monitor and optimize automated machinery. As automation in the mining sector continues to increase, the integration of DINGO’s system ensures that assets are running efficiently, leading to maximized production.

 

Integrating software solutions

In the quest to address labor shortages and optimize operations, comprehensive software solutions like DINGO Trakka® are playing an increasingly vital role.

Integrated Software Solutions like Trakka are designed to manage, analyze, and act upon your asset’s health data. Our innovative tool not only offers a streamlined platform to implement a holistic condition management program in your business quickly and cost-effectively, but it also enhances visibility and collaboration across your company’s departments, thereby optimizing resource utilization. With Trakka, mining companies can increase availability, extend asset life, reduce maintenance and replacement costs, and track results effectively. It seamlessly connects to existing systems and infrastructure, and is an effortless addition to your technological arsenal, offering solutions that align with the evolving needs of the mining industry.

Software solutions such as this don’t just fill the gaps of labor shortages; they redefine the efficiency and resilience of mining operations, ensuring the sector’s continued growth and success.

DINGO’s Trakka® is an embodiment of the growing importance of integrated software solutions in the mining sector. By centralizing, analyzing, and acting upon asset health data, mining operations can become more proactive rather than reactive. This not only fills labor gaps but also increases overall operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

 

Remote operations and teleoperations

Remote operations centers, with their capacity to control a multitude of machines and operations, stand as a viable solution to the labor shortage in mining. By enabling a smaller number of skilled workers to manage extensive operations, mining companies can reduce labor demands, particularly in more remote areas. This not only solves the immediate challenge of worker shortage, but it also improves the overall efficiency and effectiveness of mining operations.

The benefits of remote operations and teleoperations extend beyond addressing labor shortages, however. Offering better work conditions by eliminating the need for workers to be physically present at dangerous or remote sites, these technologies can attract a broader pool of talent to the sector. This approach underscores the sector’s commitment to prioritizing the health and safety of its workforce, and also serves to enhance the image of mining as a forward-thinking and worker-friendly industry.

DINGO’s system dovetails with remote operations by offering a digital platform where mining companies can have a centralized overview of their assets without the need for physical presence. By marrying teleoperation strategies with DINGO’s remote asset health management, companies can enhance both efficiency and safety. Furthermore, routine virtual meetings and performance reporting ensure that operations remain streamlined and focused.

 

Artificial intelligence and machine learning

AI and Machine Learning serve as transformative tools within the mining sector, offering valuable solutions to labor shortages. For instance, predictive maintenance, powered by AI, can streamline operations, leading to a more efficient mining process that requires less human intervention. These smart systems can analyze massive amounts of data to identify patterns and make predictions, thereby reducing the need for manual monitoring and analysis.

With the support of international governments, surveyed mining companies are increasingly leveraging these technologies, reducing downtime by predicting equipment failure and scheduling preventative maintenance. This not only solves the immediate labor shortage problem but also increases the lifespan of equipment and the profitability of mining operations. As the mining sector continues to face workforce challenges, the role of AI and Machine Learning in filling gaps and enhancing productivity is likely to increase, paving the way for a smarter and more resilient industry.

 

 

Drones and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)

As an innovation in labor shortage solutions, drones are quickly becoming indispensable in the resources industry. They assist in a wide variety of tasks such as surveying and mapping, monitoring mining sites, and inspecting equipment. These tasks, traditionally labor-intensive and time-consuming, can now be performed quickly and accurately by drones. The adoption of drones in the mining industry is not just a trend; it is becoming a standard.

By utilizing drones, mining companies can significantly reduce the need for manual labor and elevate safety standards. In particular, locations in the resources sector that have expansive or hard-to-reach locations stand to benefit immensely from this technology. Through drones, we can maintain a comprehensive and real-time overview of operations, directly addressing the worker shortage issues and ensuring the seamless continuation of mining activities.

 

Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT is a game-changer in handling labor shortages in the mining industry. IoT solutions provide real-time monitoring of machinery health and worker safety, equipping us with critical data to make swift and informed decisions. By using IoT technology, we can optimize our operations, enhance our response time to issues, and improve safety standards, addressing several challenges that the industry currently faces.

The benefits of IoT extend beyond monitoring, however. The ability to gather and analyze data from across operations allows us to predict potential issues, effectively minimizing downtime. With the continuous support of the energy employer association, we can work towards utilizing IoT to its full potential, ultimately reducing our dependence on a large workforce and addressing labor shortage problems sustainably.

With the advent of IoT in mining, DINGO’s Remote Asset Health Center can seamlessly integrate real-time monitoring data to offer centralized health insights of machinery. The center’s predictive maintenance capability, when paired with IoT’s vast data gathering, allows for the early identification and mitigation of potential machinery issues, ensuring minimal downtime. This combination, hence, addresses labor shortages by reducing the dependency on a large on-site workforce, as real-time data paired with DINGO’s expertise allows for swifter, more informed decision-making.

 

Embracing technological solutions for labor shortages

In a rapidly evolving technological landscape, staying at the forefront of innovation is critical to the success of the mining industry, especially in addressing labor shortages. Through a combination of cutting-edge technologies, we have a multitude of tools at our disposal to address workforce challenges and boost productivity. Each technology, while providing immediate solutions, also plays a pivotal role in the long-term sustainability of the sector, underlining the importance of strategic adoption and adaptation in this era of rapid advancement.

Seize the opportunity to make a difference in your operations and tackle the labor shortage issue effectively. Remember, DINGO software is your ally in this journey, providing you the necessary technological support to thrive in the current labor market scenario.

Let’s work together to build a resilient and innovative mining industry that stands the test of time.

Get in touch with us today

businessman

“Partnering with Dingo allows us to leverage remotely located condition intelligence experts from the get-go for a fraction of the normal cost to company. This allows our few reliability experts to focus on the top issues and make important decisions to ensure our fleet availability is where it needs to be instead of having them analyzing data and looking for the issues.

-Martin Pichette, Mine Operations and Maintenance Director at Lamaque Mine

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