Mining People Magazinewww.miningpeople.org
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