CAPE TOWN – Technology companies Google and Apple could be players in the mining industry in the future, according to an industry expert. At a panel discussion on the future of mining, at the 2018 African Mining Indaba on Wednesday, chief innovation officer of mining company Barrick, Michelle Ash, spoke on the need for mining companies to innovate or risk closing down.
“There is a risk of staying where we are. If we stay where we are, we will not be able to mine anymore. Mining will still continue, but other companies will be mining, like Google or Apple,” said Ash.
Ash also explained how everyday-use technology such as smart-phones or tablets were being incorporated at Barrick to improve efficiencies. She also added that when it comes to incorporating technology it is also important to rethink the role that people play, adding that innovation had the benefit of moving people away from the coalface and allowing them to work remotely, in office spaces in a much safer environment.
Group head of technology at Anglo America, Donovan Waller shared views on the importance of making technology easy for people to use.
“The more sophisticated the technology, the less sophisticated the interface needs to be,” he said. This will address concerns of having to upskill the labour force.
President of the Chamber of Mines, Mxolisi Mgojo said that technology is required to be globally competitive, and it is becoming riskier to send people underground.
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