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Mining People Magazine

The 21st Century: A

by Debra McCown

o, there’s a global pandemic, and you

have to work from home. That’s fine.

You’re an equipment operator, so you

don’t have to go to the mine anyway. You

can do like you always do: Log in from a

comfy chair with your virtual reality headset and

drive a piece of equipment that’s located on the

other side of the continent.

It’s kind of like a video game; in a way, you’ve

been training for this kind of job your whole life.

You aren’t exposed to any dangers – and the only

real risk of germs is from the leftover pizza you

forgot to put away in the fridge last night and are

thinking about eating anyway.

Don’t eat it; that’s a bad plan. A drone can be at

your door with something fresh in like 20 minutes.

So, maybe we’re not quite there yet. If you hate

your commute, you’re still stuck with it if you work

in a hands-on job. And if you love the rollercoaster

of emotion that comes with working in day-to-day

operations, you can still be present to experience

the collective satisfaction that comes with a job

well done. But with the technologies that are now

coming into play, all of that could change.

From real-life robots to virtual-reality modeling

and real-time data analysis to round-the-clock

autonomous fleets of haul trucks, software-based

technology is changing the face of mining – and

it will totally shift the way things are done in the


We’ve all heard a lot in the last few years about

new, data- and computer-based technologies