Robots, Red Dust, and the Future of Mining Towns

Automation and the use of remotes are going to change the mining industry. Automation can help sort out shortages in labor as the mining industry expands, and at the same time bring down costs as well as boost productivity, health, and safety. The mining industry often faces risks, but getting the services of global resourse solutions consultants can help mitigate these risks. With a looming transformation in the mining industry, so far no discussions have been held about how such changes can affect regional communities and society in general. There has been an improvement in the current mining technology, a recent one being the use of driverless haul trucks and underground loaders. What will be some of the potential societal effects of these changes?

Potential implications

The effects are certainly far-reaching. They will go well past a transformation of some jobs in the mining industry. This is an industry with a withstanding regional presence. The mining companies’ workforce management practices and the kind of people they conduct their business with have some crucial implications on the local communities. Their decisions can have massive effects on the future population, as well as on the availability of services, infrastructure, and economic opportunities.

  1. Potential changes in workforce management approach

While mining communities in the past have lived in purposely built mining towns with almost the entire population working in the mines, the trend has changed. Today we have a commuter workforce driving in and out, while meeting the labor demands of the industry. Industries are now thinking of ways to manage the above approach to workforce management and how it will affect regional communities. It will be a change that will indeed have massive implications for the communities from where they operate.

  1. Redefining of mining communities

The automation of mines and the use of remote controls will redefine not only the mining communities but also employment, business development, and any investment opportunities a mine brings. Mines are going to be automated, which implies that we will have a skeletal on-site workforce. Functions like driving trucks and loading can be carried out from remote operation centers located in capital cities. The only people who will be visiting the mines will be specialist teams who will be conducting some maintenance on the remote-controlled trucks.

  1. Community benefits

With automation, it means that more women or even older individuals can participate in mining. The mining communities might not depend on the life of a resource within where they reside, but can stabilize in regions that have a diverse economy, additional opportunities, and a large population that can help share all the social services and infrastructure costs.

However, the number of jobs and business development opportunities found in the regional and remote areas might decrease, or will at least change. If the right incentives and restrictions are not put in place, it will be quite challenging to obtain the benefits for regions involved and to guard against likely problems. Therefore, all those who have a stake in such changes should be fully engaged in the transition to make it go smoothly. This will help avoid cases in which new technologies have failed to deliver anticipated benefits to the people in that particular region.