In their quest to extract ever-larger volumes, many mining companies have put enormous pressure on their capital equipment and geological assets, which have thus experienced excessive wear and tear. This ‘sweating of assets’ means that mining equipment needs constant repair and maintenance to remain productive and avoid accidents.
Ageing workforce and knowledge gap
High-level, engineering skills are required to keep this equipment running, yet the demand for such resources coincides with the departure through retirement of an ageing workforce. Newer, younger recruits do not possess sufficient understanding, experience or judgment to bring assets back into use quickly or to predict future technical problems. This leaves mines with a significant knowledge gap that could impair its ability to achieve planned output quotas.
In addition, many workforces have not received sufficient technical and health and safety training to work in these more difficult conditions, yet they are expected to be proficient. This skills gap can lead to dissatisfaction and, potentially, to industrial action.
“By placing a higher priority on capital equipment and geological assets, mining company Boards can help shift the culture from pure volume to longer-term value.”
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