Managing rapid change indispensable for tomorrow’s miners

Newmont's Lara Bruhns

Change management skills will be in high demand in the coming decade, according to general manager of operations services at Newmont Asia Pacific Lara Bruhns.

Speaking ahead of her presentation at Austmine 2017: Mining’s Innovation Imperative, Bruhns said turning invention into innovation was a specialised skill in itself.

“We need people with pragmatism in process development as well as change management skills to ensure innovations gain acceptance,” Bruhns said.

“There are lots of innovations that can be applied to our processes, but it’s the people who can find a way to successfully get innovations into the company’s systems – both human and technological – that are going to have a place in the mines of the future.”

Bruhns also said Newmont was dedicated to leveraging innovation in ways that enhance its performance in safety, profitability and responsibility.

“Newmont is interested in innovating to create value for the company, not necessarily for the sake of innovation,” she said.

Bruhns calls it a ‘targeted’ approach to mining innovation.

“It comes from an acknowledgement that Newmont can’t look at everything that’s being invented all the time,” she said.

“We look at bottlenecks in our processes and lever points to target where innovations can be implemented that will have the most leverage for our business.

“It’s an acknowledgement that having focus matters, and accepting that you will often have more opportunities for innovation than resources to implement them, and you therefore need to prioritise them.”

Bruhns’ presentation, Using Targeted Innovations to Achieve Operational Excellence, is part of Austmine 2017’s The Productive Mine: Striving for Operational Excellence session.

Other mining executives speaking in the session will be: Peter Bradford, Managing Director and CEO of Independence Group with Shaping World Class Mines through a Focus on Productivity; and Peter Johnson, Managing Director of Maptek with The Well Connected Mine.

Bruhns said she was impressed by advances in 3D visualisation technology that make it easier to explain complex data, allowing Newmont’s investment arm to make better informed decisions.

“We can take highly detailed information about complex geological structures and visualise them relatively easily, making it much easier to understand for people who don’t necessarily hold advanced degrees in geological sciences,” she said.

The Austmine 2017: Mining’s Innovation Imperative conference will be held from May 22-24 at the Perth Conference and Exhibition Centre.

The event is Australia’s premier conference for showcasing the best technological innovations in the resource industries.

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