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Change needed to improve productivity

Published: 20 March 2017 | Mining Africa Online














A change in attitudes — from boardroom to pit — will be the only way for mines to escape low productivity levels and find a path back to long-term sustainability. This is according to SRK Consulting corporate consultant, Roger Dixon.

“With productivity levels today 25–30% lower than they were a decade ago, it is not enough for mines to focus on isolated areas of operation for a magic bullet,” says Dixon. “Neither would the gradual process of continuous improvement break us out of the current untenable situation.

”Most of the gold mines, for example, are still running on infrastructure that is more than 60 years old but was designed for a 40-year life-of-mine,” says Dixon. “There also has not been enough forward ore-reserve development, due to capital constraints, and this links directly to productivity,” he adds.

Dixon blames the poor performance on the use of ‘1950s technology’, like compressed air driven rock-drills. Compressed air is one of the most inefficient power sources.

“Perhaps more importantly, however, is our dated management model that holds back real productivity gains,” he says. “The industry has been through many drastic changes in recent decades — from trade union recognition to violent strikes — but we have not formally reviewed management competencies to perform optimally in this new and challenging environment.”


SRK Africa