In driving the modernisation agenda for the South African mining industry, the Mandela Mining Precinct has identified a number of technologies to enhance safety, health and productivity in mines. However, the success of the modernisation process is, to a large extent, dependent on the people who will be affected and impacted by modernisation efforts. Thus, the Mandela Mining Precinct commission this research study to identify the people-related success and failure factors in trialing technologies utilized in the modernisation and mechanisation of mines.
Research and development
This study is linked to the trialing of the intelligent LHD, where the research team visited the mine site to observe how mine employees perceive the new technology. This, in conjunction with interviews and focus group discussions allowed the research team to determine successes and failures in introducing new technology to mine employees.
One of the key findings reported by the research team relates to the improvement in health, safety and productivity offered by new technologies, where its adoption is influenced by the ease and comfort of the transition from the old to the new. Furthermore, culture also influences the adoption of new technologies.
Modernisation could result in changes in the skills profiles required by industry, with the resultant loss in jobs, and the need for reskilling and training other employees. It is thus important to create a shared vision, build trust, and address resistance to change by improving the collaboration and involvement of all key stakeholders. The guidance offered by studies such as these, offer original equipment manufacturers guidance to support their competitiveness and capacity building.