Measurement Solutions Blog

Investing in better mining equipment is one way to improve productivity in the industry.

Making more for less is the essential factor which will improve the prosperity of Australian society. Productivity is the economic buzzword economists and politicians see as the way to keep industries in Australia growing and contributing to the wellbeing of the nation.

As the mining industry experiences a transition in new minerals and markets, improving the productivity of the sector is one way it can continue to remain profitable. Already companies are beginning to change the way they operate.

Many are investing in new business models and mining equipment to boost productivity and revitalise the industry in anticipation of a new boom in demand.

Productivity in the mining industry

According to the Office of the Chief Economist of Australia (OCE), the overall productivity of the country deteriorated in the 2000s relative to the decade prior. Most of this slowdown in the productivity rate is attributed to two industries: mining and electricity generation.

In fact, productivity in the mining sector declined by more than 4 per cent in the 2000-10 decade after making significant gains in the two previous decades, according to from the OCE.

A variety of factors have been responsible for this dramatic decrease in productivity growth in the mining sector. Many are specific to the industry, such as global commodity price unpredictability. Others are the transition to extraction of deeper ores and lower-yielding resources and problems with the nature of investment in the industry.

According to an innovation report from the OCE, mining companies were already looking to invest in new equipment to improve their productivity as the forecast for the industry that supplies mining with tools and instruments was strong.

How the industry is already making improvements

During the height of the mining boom, many companies struggled to get enough equipment to meet their demand. Now with more companies able to offer standard tools, many in the mining industry are looking for more custom engineered mining equipment that can improve the productivity of their operations. 

Ben Gibson, director of asset disposition firm Tiger Asset Group, has told Business Insider on May 1 that mining companies or investment firms with an interest in the industry are already making equipment purchases in anticipation future growth in the industry. This time, companies will be prepared for the boom and not have productivity held back by a lack of necessary tools, instruments and heavy equipment.

Mr Gibson explained he was seeing an increase in the numbers of companies and individuals looking to purchase more mining equipment.

"We are, however, seeing buyers looking for quality mining services assets. Often the buyers are parties who have cashed in during the mining boom and are now looking to position themselves for the inevitable improvement in the market," he said.

What can mining companies do to improve their productivity?

Many mining companies, such as Rio Tinto, are already pegging their hopes of productivity gains on technology and innovation. Though greater investment in the way information is shared across the company, the most attractive projects can get the go ahead and the non-economic ones can be reworked.

Sharing information through clear communication between interested parties means everyone is on the same page. This will optimise the mining supply chain from the mine plan all the way through to delivery of the commodity to the customer.

Investment in better, custom engineered instruments is the future of increasing productivity in the mining industry going into a period of slowdown. The way mining operates is going to have to change the types of skilled workers it employers and areas it chooses to mine.

This would also mean the industry will need to invest in more efficient mining equipment, including drill rigs, belt scales, tilt probs and other essential instruments for the job.

To learn more about mining equipment that can improve the efficiency of you business, contact the experts at SRO Technology today on 61 2 9525 3077 (New South Wales) or 61 7 3395 6136 (Queensland).