Evolving Mining Technology and the Growing Need to Attract Talent to the Mining Industry

5 mins min read

By Olivia  Durrant

Recruitment Consultant

With advancements in technology, an influx of new competitors within the mining technology space and an increase in large acquisitions globally, undoubtedly, it’s an exciting time to work within the mining industry. Recent reports suggest a marked increase in the number of job postings within the mining sector, with significant growth predominantly in North America, Middle East and Africa. There have been rapid developments within mining and as a result, there’s a growing need to attract new talent and a variety of different skillsets to facilitate innovation and move towards a greener, safer, and more sustainable future in mining.

We spoke with Edward Bardo, Global Sales Director, Mining, Minerals and Metals – Aspen Technology who shared his thoughts on the impact of mining technology on the industry.

“The importance of sustainability in the mining industry is increasing. Mining isn’t something that is optional, it is something that must be done. If something is not farmed, it is mined, so driving a better image of sustainability in the industry is important and can be done through the implementation of digital technology across mining processes.”

Technology Developments within Mining

The mining industry has experienced huge developments contributing to increased efficiencies, production, and more sustainable processes predominantly down to the advancement of new mining technology. At CSG Talent we work with clients operating in the mining technology space with a wide range of automated and intelligent technologies readily available. The three predominant areas within mining technology with an increased need for talent are fleet management systems, mine planning software and drones.

Fleet Management Systems

Implementing fleet management software enables fleet managers within the mining sector to monitor their vehicles, equipment, and drivers, all from a remote location offsite. Utilising this type of software is hugely beneficial within mining as it allows businesses to locate and monitor the performance of vehicles, while also reducing the risk of accidents. With the opportunity for this software to be controlled remotely, it has a huge impact on productivity and safety due to less physical presence of staff on site. Leaders in fleet management systems include Modular and Hexagon, both of which are innovative and forward thinking organisations to work for.

Mine Planning Software

Mine planning software allows mining operators the opportunity to utilise fast, accurate and cost-effective tools in an efficient way. Mining software can be utilised remotely, allowing every element of mining to be managed and controlled from anywhere across the globe, making mining processes more efficient and allowing mining operators to add significantly more value. Some of the key players in this space are Datamine, Deswik, Micromine and Maptek who are leading the way with their mine planning software.

Drones

Large drones are used in mining for 3D terrain mapping, surveying, and inspection on site at mines. Drones have a great impact on increased safety on site, where previously, staff could be exposed to a potentially dangerous environment. The drones can carry out a risk assessment onsite, prior to any further action. Underground mines which historically had limitations with access and GPS are now being reached by drones which naturally expands materials available. A great example by Flyability, demonstrating the capability and effectiveness of utilising drones to inspect a high altitude mine is the Elios 2 inspecting a mine in the Andes Mountains

Talent attraction challenges in mining technology

The global skills shortage is impacting the mining technology industry with organisations experiencing challenge attracting talent. There is a significant lack of awareness of the opportunities available within mining technology and the career paths available. There are also added concerns and preconceptions around the nature and safety of the work which can impact talent attraction.

Perceptions of a traditional industry and lack of awareness of opportunities

Lack of awareness of technology focused roles available within the mining industry means candidates have little exposure to potential roles and are not actively seeking opportunities. There is huge competition from global companies such as Google, Amazon, Tesla where tech-savvy professionals are inclined to reach out to or apply for tech roles. The mining industry is predominantly thought of as a labour intensive, hands-on role working in the mines so many companies are having to focus on their branding, image as an employer and how they are perceived to potential candidates.

Henrique Silva is a Senior Consultant Mining Engineer at Datamine, he shared his thoughts with us on perceptions of the mining industry:

“The interest from younger generations is not strong in geology and mining. The stigma that the mining industry is a ‘dirty industry’ which is not environmentally friendly needs to be changed. As an industry, we need to communicate the technical advancements better to attract more talent to the industry”

Lack of training and development opportunities

Many mining technology companies fail to offer adequate and appealing training and development opportunities for both new and existing staff. By investing in the resources that will support ongoing development of staff and the key skills needed to drive new technology, businesses will see the results across their organisation.

Increased competition attracting talent

With new mining technology organisations continually coming to market and companies looking to expand the spectrum of technology they offer, there is increased competition to attract talent with the right level of skills and experience. Historically, there would be one candidate with one potential job opportunity in the pipeline. In today’s candidate driven market there is now one candidate with on average six potential job opportunities available to them. This allows candidates the luxury of deciding which company is right for them and supporting their career goals.

Eddie Geisel, Founder of Prana Global Sales shared his thoughts on the impact of mining technology and the challenges this poses with talent attraction:

“Mining technology has allowed miners to have access to data in real time they previously didn't have had access to, which empowers them to make data-driven decisions almost immediately.  This leads to higher operating efficiency, less mistakes, and lower operating costs. 

One of the biggest challenges is finding people who understand the mining domain and the specific problems that miners experience between different phases of the mining value chain, and how technology can help them solve these problems. 

The industry is gearing towards automation; however, this transition will take time. A fundamental change in the industry is mining technology companies consulting with mines to decide where to start on their journey towards automation.  Technology companies will need to position their sales teams to effectively define the mining challenges of their clients to ensure new mining technology can truly add value to the mining operation."

Companies are crying out for a new type of skill set in the mining industry, candidates who can operate, understand, and interpret the advanced technology available. At CSG Talent we are working with clients to adapt and enhance their approach to hiring.

Attracting new talent to mining technology

Widen the pool of candidates

Organisations need to ensure they are proactive in sourcing and attracting technology skilled candidates who have little exposure to the industry. Many roles within mining technology can operate remotely; for example, a truck digging in a mine in Chile, can be operated by staff based in Canada. The scope for remote operation continues as mining technology advances and this is hugely exciting for candidates in this field. Geography constraints and small candidate pools can be eradicated as an issue for many mining technology roles, with the possibility of expanding the talent pool globally for roles that can be carried out remotely. This allows organisations access to more skilled candidates than might be possible in a commutable distance to a mine.

Employer branding and appeal

Focus on the development of employer brand and raise awareness of the types of career options available within mining and mining technology. Evaluate your culture, benefits packages and your full hiring and attraction processes. Consider alternative means to attract the skilled talent within technology to appeal more than the competition. At CSG Talent we work closely with clients for talent and market mapping to allow them to build knowledge of the competition, brand perceptions and explore ways to enhance their employer brand.

Working with an expert recruiter in mining technology

At CSG Talent we are focused on building strong, long-lasting relationships with both our clients and candidates within mining technology. We have regular communications, a huge network of experts in this field and keep abreast of latest developments and market insights. This enables us to effectively guide, advise and support clients with their business growth and talent attraction strategies. We focus on latest trends, overcoming challenge, and ensuring clients appeal to candidate needs and motivations. In today’s market, facilitating a positive candidate experience is essential. CSG Talent work in partnership with our clients to ensure a seamless and effective hiring process, managing the expectations of all parties and ultimately acting as a brand ambassador and extension of the business.

Christina Theoklitou-Panagiotou, Managing Consultant and Expert Recruiter in OEMs, Mining Technology and Processing shares her thoughts:

“Now more than ever we need to focus our efforts on attracting talent to the industry, and the use of specialist head-hunters is going to be vital to that. Here at CSG Talent, partnered with our specialist consultants we work collaboratively with our mining dedicated research team who not only support our headhunting offering but also lead our Talent Strategy Service. This includes talent mapping & pipelining, salary benchmarking, and branding, this improves our service offering to both clients and candidates which will result in meeting recruitment plans, both long and short term. “

If you would like to have a conversation about the latest trends within mining technology, looking to recruit key roles for your company or, looking to take on a new challenge within mining, please get in touch.