Embrace disruption in mining, bring on Uberisation

Barrick Gold's Michelle Ash

Digital disruption must be embraced rather than avoided if miners are to remain competitive, according to Barrick Gold chief innovation officer Michelle Ash.

In an interview ahead of her speaking engagement at Austmine 2017: Mining’s Innovation Imperative, Ash said the Uberisation of mining would become ever more important for miners, helping them to remain nimble and efficient to better respond to fluctuating markets.

“When I talk about Uberisation I mean a number of things: creating a common platform for the industry to share knowledge, data and practices; the use of capital in new ways to rethink the current models of mining; and increasing the rate at which we innovate in the industry,” she said.

“Uber creates thousands of innovations in their business every week, some are successful some fail but they keep trying new things to add value.”

Ash said innovation should be part of the everyday business of mining, and to do that, companies need to have excellent processes and tools to foster innovation, including placing the right people in the right teams.

“I think innovation works best with cross functional teams, who are using diverse thinking and structured approaches,” she said.

“Barrick likes to run workshops to stimulate new ideas for future possibilities, we give people space and time to come up with interesting ideas and develop them, and create action plans around how to achieve those bold goals.

“I also get people to focus not only on the viability and feasibility of the idea, but also the desirability. We have to ask the question: how do we make the idea or innovation desirable for people to use or want to use?”

Ash’s presentation, The Digital Reinvention of the Mine will be part of Austmine 2017’s The Digital Mine session, her presentation will focus on Barrick Gold’s ground-up embrace of digitisation, big data, sensor technology, and battery innovation.

Other speakers in The Digital Mine session will include: Peter Cunningham, director of operational technology for Teck Resources with The Pillars of Digital Operations at Teck; Luke Davey, project director of MiningIoT.com with Mining and the Internet of Things; and Dr Penny Stewart, managing director and founder of PETRA Data Science with Silent Music: Mining Case Studies in Machine Learning.

The Austmine 2017: Mining’s Innovation Imperative conference will be held from May 22-24 at the Perth Conference and Exhibition Centre. It is Australia’s premier conference for showcasing the best technological innovations in the resource industries.

For further information and to purchase conference passes, visit austmineconference.com.au.

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