The mining industry is constantly evolving, and it has to adapt to new conditions to remain competitive. One of the biggest challenges facing mining companies right now is capital productivity—or how well they can generate revenue from their existing assets. To maintain their competitiveness in an increasingly digital world, mining companies must implement better project management practices that enable them to use data analytics and innovate at the same time.
The role of a project manager requires companies to update their strategy in real-time, to meet the challenges of an ever-changing playing field, much like chess. This is frequently accomplished while managing various elements such as safety, procurement, cost, and risk, all of which must align in order for a project to be completed on time. While the job of a construction project manager can be difficult enough, the role of a mining project manager is even more complex.
Mining industry – Evolution so far and challenges ahead
The mining industry is a critical pillar of the global economy. Its products, like natural gas and minerals, contribute to approximately 35% of the world’s GDP. The industry has evolved and grown to become a highly sophisticated process that requires heavy capital investment in machinery, equipment, and personnel.
The mining sector is now facing a number of potential challenges, including:
- Increased pressure from environmental, social, and governmental organisations to respond to global challenges such as climate change and depletion of resources.
- Cost pressures resulting from technological advancements that have increased productivity, but reduced margins for miners.
- Increasing complexities related to project execution (due to factors like size and location-specific aspects) that can make it difficult for mining companies to streamline their operations.
Overcoming project barriers through digitisation
The mining industry has traditionally been driven by capital investments, and a large part of these have been physical assets such as vehicles, equipment, and buildings.Traditionally, mining project management has been a manual process involving lots of back-and-forth between different departments within an organisation – not only does this consume time and resources, but it can also lead to delays that may compromise quality or increase costs.
Finally, there are numerous digital technologies available today that can help overcome these barriers by improving project management processes. However, these need to be adopted, implemented and monitored correctly so they deliver on anticipated benefits, while reducing risks associated with adopting new technologies at scale (e.g., security breaches).
Mining project management software platforms like PlanRadar allow you to streamline and manage your mining projects while giving you enough controls to maintain data security and privacy. To learn more about how PlanRadar helps you with your mining project management, you can try the app for free or contact us here.
Streamlining mining project management
Project management offers multiple opportunities to improve productivity in the mining industry. These include:
- Improved scheduling, planning, and coordination.
- Increased efficiency through reduced costs for meeting project deadlines and budgets.
- Better use of human resources.
The use of digital innovations such as advanced software applications can help improve productivity returns by:
- Improved decision-making through enhanced visibility and accountability.
- Improved risk management and mitigation.
- Reduced operating costs through improved efficiency, productivity, and utilisation of assets.
4 key project management practices that boost productivity
- Define a clear project management methodology.
- Establish a central repository for all project information.
- Take advantage of data analytics and tools that connect stakeholders across multiple projects across the entire value chain.
- Strengthen project-team capabilities by using knowledge management and training tools.
1. Define a clear project management methodology
This is one of the most important steps in streamlining your mining operations.
- You need to define roles and responsibilities, as well as define the project life cycle, objectives, and goals for each stage of your project.
- You need to specify what deliverables will be produced at each stage of your projects (i.e., scope statements).
- In addition to being able to clearly define the project life cycle, objectives and goals for each stage of your project, you need to be able to specify what deliverables will be produced at each stage (i.e., scope statements).
- The next step is to create a project plan and schedule. This will help you keep track of the progress of your project and ensure that you’re on track to meet all deadlines.
- You should also include a budget in your project plan so that you can see how much money is being spent at each stage, as well as determine if there are any areas where costs could be reduced or cut altogether.
2. Establish a central repository for all project information
A central repository for all project information can help you improve productivity and achieve your goals.
- Central repositories are important because they hold all the information related to a company’s projects. They contain all the documents, data, and other materials that need to be kept up-to-date as your business grows and changes over time.
- A centralised database ensures that everyone in the organisation has access to current project information at any time. This makes it very easy for team members—and even external parties involved with specific projects—to find exactly what they need without having to waste precious hours searching through piles of paper.
3. Take advantage of data analytics and tools
Data analytics is a key tool to boost productivity at all stages of the mining operations lifecycle. Data analytics can be used to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and increase revenue. It helps companies make better decisions on which projects to invest in and where they should be located. When it comes to project management specifically, data analytics can help mine operators streamline their operations, by providing insight into what exactly is going wrong (or right) on the ground level. In addition, mining companies can use data analytics for advanced scheduling and time optimisation across an entire value chain—from development through production.
4. Strengthen project-team capabilities
To improve your project team’s capabilities, use knowledge management tools and training programs to help the team share best practices, learn from each other, and develop skills.
These steps can strengthen project-team capabilities:
- Sharing knowledge across the organisation allows mining organisations to scale up their production capacity faster than before by using existing resources more effectively.
- Training can help build stronger relationships between members within a project team by giving them opportunities to learn from one another during meetings or seminars held outside normal working hours (e.g., over lunch).
Historically, the mining industry has been one of the slowest to adopt to newer technological advances, but this appears to be changing. The fourth industrial revolution has introduced incredible new tools for developing a truly comprehensive and real-time digital model for achieving project objectives for projects of any size and scale. Big data, artificial intelligence, and cloud-based computing have all established a firm hold in the nature of the digital workplace, and brought with them a flood of new insights into every aspect of human, operator and businesses’ behaviour.
At the end of the day, no one can predict the future perfectly. However, with the right technology and tools, mining businesses can ensure that their strategies reap the greatest rewards, regardless of the changing industry landscape.
Streamlining mining project management can help mining companies achieve improved productivity. By implementing digital project management, miners can ensure that they are spending their time and money wisely. By streamlining your projects with a tool like PlanRadar, you can save time and money on every job. The result is more productive mines and higher stock prices for investors. Start your 30-day free PlanRadar trial here.