In the lead up to the long-awaited AusIMM Underground Operators Conference in March, Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) immediate past president and Underground Operators keynote speaker, Roy Slack, shares his insights on the future of underground mining and the positive impact technology can have on safety.
With 35 years of global experience in mine construction, design and development, Slack is passionate about securing the mining industry’s place as a global leader for change.
“Our industry is on a journey from compliance to commitment. From a state where we strive to just meet regulatory requirements, to a place where we meet and far surpass those requirements – not because we are legally required to do so, but because it is a moral imperative,” Slack said.
Slack discusses how young professionals have an exciting opportunity to build the future of underground mining.
“Today’s youth are entering the industry, or have the opportunity to enter our industry, at a time of great change. Change in technology, change in how we deal with people, change in the overall business model that is mining,” he said.
As the mining industry rapidly transforms with new technologies and exciting innovations, Slack believes the whole sector needs to get on board with a fresh way of thinking.
He said: “We need people that thrive on change, that embrace and know what to do with it.”
After such a challenging year, Slack is confident in how resilient the mining industry is.
“What we continue to see during this pandemic is our industry recognised as an essential service, and mining companies taking the lead when it comes to establishing protocols to protect their people from the virus,” Slack said.
The industry’s reaction to COVID-19 displayed its agility in adjusting to circumstances, according to Slack.
“Productivity did not suffer, and employees were able to better deal with work and home needs,” he said.
Slack has been active in numerous safety initiatives over the years, as well as being appointed to the province of Ontario’s first Prevention Council, advising the government on workplace safety. He also chairs the CIM Safety Committee.
Slack said new technologies would create a real sense of support and safety in the workplace for all professionals.
“I am excited about the huge potential of emerging technologies to make our workplaces not just safer, but safe. Technology has always been an important part of safety, but the more recent applications of the technology available to us add a whole new perspective on our journey to zero injuries,” he said.
Slack looks forward to the positive and safer benefits technology can create for onsite workers, with the pandemic in some cases speeding up the implementation of automation, remote operations and more.
Ultimately, Slack sees best practice in safety as a three-part equation: “Process, culture and technology; together protecting our people and ultimately achieving a safe workplace.”
AusIMM’s Underground Operators Conference will be held from March 15-17 2021 via AusIMM’s hybrid format, which offers an opportunity for delegates to attend face-to-face in Perth, Australia or online.
For in-person delegates, AusIMM will be managing and monitoring all COVID-19-safe measures to ensure the safety of all attendees.
Find out more at https://www.ausimm.com/conferences-and-events/underground-operators/