When looking at the pros and cons of automated mining, it seems that the pro’s take the cake. According to this article from mining.com wherein they not only discuss the pros and cons of automated mining, they also touch on the concern regarding whether or not it is a threat to the industry and a threat to recruitment.
Lucy Donald, the Director of the Mining division for WRS, doesn’t think so. “I do not think this will necessarily be the case, I just think operators will have to move with the times and companies will have to invest more in training on various high tech simulation programmes such as CyberMINE.”
The introduction of virtual training for heavy machinery operators and learning how to use different types of machinery from within a control room will no doubt be a large change from what todays typical miner may be used to, however one cannot scoff at the benefits.
While there seems to be a bit of a stale mate when considering costs (automated mining could raise costs in some areas, while decreasing costs in others), the two things that are certain are that automated mining would bring forth increased performance as well as improved safety.
Since mining operators would be working from outside of the mine and in a control room, the likelihood of injuries and death would go down drastically, and when considering performance we must take into account that less direct control would introduce a variance in speed, travel and downtime, improving mine productivity.
What are your thoughts on the topic? Do you think that automated mining would help or hinder our industry? We would love to hear from you!