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Human Talent: The Core of all Mining
SMS Equipment is helping to create and diversify jobs in the mining industry.
But reputations can change, and quickly too. As Autonomous Haulage Systems (AHS) become more established in Canadian mining, everything we know about this age-old industry is shifting. And not in the “robots are taking all our jobs” way. We’re talking about a wave of human talent.
In fact, at this moment, brand new job roles are being created, and existing ones are broadening in more ways than we could’ve ever predicted. After trying to get a glimpse of mining’s future for so long, we finally see AHS staring right back.
Automation is a human invention made by us for us.
It’s been advanced to make our jobs wildly safer while rocketing productivity and slashing costs. Over the last five years, SMS Equipment has integrated AHS to introduce discoverable pathways for skilled tradespeople and industry experts, while pushing existing roles to branch out into new responsibilities. All of it is critically important. And while jobs are here to stay—they will change. Many are an organic progression from traditional trades; others are further stepping stones away but can readily adapt using similar transferable skills and experience.
For instance, the longstanding role of Heavy Equipment Technician (HET) who maintains, repairs, and rebuilds heavy equipment. Developing an “AHS version” requires familiarization with the autonomous interface and how to work around this equipment—a matter of supplemental education.
Another is an AHS Technical Specialist—ideal for someone who gets excited about working with technologies such as GNSS, WIFI and advanced vehicle controls. This person works with factory experts, dealer technicians and customers to ensure they get the most out of AHS technical support services. It’s for progressive thinkers who thrive on challenges, adapt to uncharted approaches, and are driven to progress alongside AHS advancements. Think of this position as having its own autonomy: as people gain experience and an intimate understanding of AHS’s possibilities and limitations, they become an integral part of the System.
Trucks may drive themselves, but equipment fleet selection, installing, training, servicing, maintaining, monitoring and managing customer relations and contracts need people.
Considering that AHS-related roles offer job security since more and more companies are looking to emerge from traditional mining methods and adopt AHS, the right people need to be ready.
On the flip side, some companies believe that just one more piece of autonomous equipment will solve all their problems. The reality? Humans connect the dots. Someone can have all the AHS technology they want, but if they don’t understand the whole chain and optimize it for human interaction, advances will be made but not maximized. That’s why SMS Equipment is proud to continue to lead the “people push” by diversifying the skilled job market.
So how can we make the most of an evolving industry?
With AHS technology, miners need to lean into human relationships more than ever before. Most of all, getting the work culture right is major—building more constructive, precise and effective systems that encourage collaboration. It’s also essential to ensure the next generation of workers is educated on what skills will be in high demand and continue to develop programs that allow those working in mining to refocus or refine talents.
Technology is boosting the mining sector in a much-needed way, but it isn’t without defined effort. There’s no place for complacency if we want to see the industry and its workers prosper. What man and machine can do together is much bigger and more impactful than anything we could each do alone.