This study is aimed at understanding and gaining insights into the key people-related enablers and inhibiters in the process of modernisation. This is achieved through an in-depth case study of a modernised mine in South Africa.
Research and development
Data was collected from interviews with mine managers, coupled with site visits to the case mine to explore the practical implications of modernisation on the end-users. The case mine implemented three projects: autonomous drilling, advanced process control and the implementation of technology, and the implementation of a mine information system. These were used as examples of how the project implementation strategy is implemented. As such, the research team studied both the organizational implementation of technology strategy; and the actual projects that were implemented under this strategy. This enabled the research team to ascertain any common people-related factors for incorporation in the decision framework.
The study provided significant insights into technology-driven modernisation initiatives that were mostly successful in yielding improvements in productivity, health and safety. Moreover, the technology strategy in place at the case mine provides a basis from which organisational development for ongoing modernisation could take place.
Recommendations from the research team point to the need for technology to be supported by appropriate research and development, maintenance, and supply chains. From an enterprise perspective, the strategy, structure, processes, and practice must be conducive to modernisation; and from a people perspective, education, skills, mindsets, and networks need to be appropriate to the demands of a modernised environment.
Furthermore, for the modernisation process to work, consultation must take place in a timely manner, be inclusive, and integrative to ensure successful integration after the design period.