In the first of a six-part series of articles, George Hemingway and Jeff Loehr of the Stratalis Group outline Futurecasting: a tool to drive change within the mining industry
Donkeys are a good way to transport material in an underground mine. They are reliable, obedient and can stay underground for up to three months at a time without complaint. Even so, no reputable mining company today would use them as a primary means of conveyance. Donkey usage exists only on the fringes, along with tin hard hats and canaries.
In hindsight, the move to machines was an obvious one. Machines are more reliable, stronger and can stay underground forever. At the time, however, the choice to shift away from donkeys was risky and uncharted.
Today’s technology has enabled concepts such as remote mining, automated operations, predictive management and modular machine configurations. Any one of these concepts represents a new approach that could revolutionize mining operations. Combined, they could revolutionize the industry.