As mining modernises, it is expected that mining stakeholders will increasingly be affected and impacted by mining modernisation systems, processes and technologies. SATCAP seeks to identify and understand those impacts. Thus, this study was commissioned to support a people-centric approach to mining modernisation, through the development of a guideline for the inclusion of stakeholders in the design and development of equipment.
This study is linked to the Mandela Mining Precinct’s Isidingo Drill Design challenge under its Longevity of Current Mining research programme.
Research and development
The research team aimed at understanding the benefits and shortcomings of stakeholder inclusion in equipment design and development; and consequently develop a suitable guideline for the inclusion of employees in the design and development of equipment, with specific applicability to mining modernisation.
The research methods comprised a literature review, expert interviews and focus group discussions. Further data were collected utilising digital questionnaires and online workshops.
Research points to a general agreement that the participation of employees in the design and development of equipment would aid in improving product quality, usability and acceptance. However, the research team learned that the levels of participation from employees is low, with the end-users only being involved in trialing the equipment once the prototype has already been developed.
Some of the barriers to inclusion include organisational culture and the lack of a systematic approach. It was evident that the approach to worker inclusion in equipment design and development needs to be customised based on the context of use, and would depend on factors such as the type of equipment, type of mine, company and manufacturer. The recommended guideline contains voluntary processes and examples of methods that can be used to support people-centric modernisation in equipment design and development.
The recommended guideline may potentially be used by OEMs and the industry for inclusion of workers in equipment design and development. The guideline may offer OEMs guidance for an inclusive process in design and development of equipment, towards meeting /addressing industry and employee needs.
To note that the guideline may be customised based on mining operations contexts.