The mining industry has some catching up to do, according to Rick Howes, CEO of Dundee Precious Metals. He says that compared to other industries, mining is decades behind in technology adoption. But he thinks mining companies can take control of their operations with a better set of tools and processes.
The days of simply increasing mine production to raise revenues are quickly drawing to a close, said Rick Howes, CEO of Canada-based Dundee Precious Metals. Howes believes mining’s credibility in delivering the business results stakeholders expect is suffering, and technology may be integral to the industry achieving future success.
With costs climbing and the industry hit by a downturn in cyclical metal prices, Howes said mining companies must focus on operational performance and project delivery through attention to detail. “We have to deliver the kind of value our stakeholders – from stockholders to employees to the communities in which we operate – expect,” he said. “Mining has an image and credibility problem that requires new and innovative thinking on how we manage the entire mining asset lifecycle.”
When the 33-year industry veteran became COO and Executive VP at Dundee, one of his first challenges was to revitalize the company’s Chelopech mine in Bulgaria. Under Howes’ direction, Dundee undertook a transformation, called “Taking the Lid Off” to operational performance excellence.
“We coined the phrase ‘Taking the Lid Off’ because an underground mine is a dark hole,” Howes explained. “No one really knows what’s happening in real time because you can’t see it. We need to be able to ‘visualize’ the mine all the time.”
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