Determining who will run your future mine

By |  October 31, 2018
Accenture’s Gaston Carrion

Accenture’s Gaston Carrion addresses the International Mining & Resources Conference. Photo courtesy of the International Mining & Resources Conference.

Miners must prepare their workforce today, to meet the demands of tomorrow’s digital age, or risk future growth and innovation.

Gaston Carrion, talent and organization lead for Accenture’s resources practice in Australia and New Zealand, told delegates at the 2018 International Mining & Resources Conference that as the use of autonomous vehicles and other advanced technologies increases, the profile of the future mining workforce could change by up to 80 percent in six years.

Carrion believes the future mining workforce will be highly connected, as people work in tandem with artificial intelligence (AI) to improve safety, productivity and profitability.

“Based on the current rate of technology adoption, the digital mine is no longer a pipe dream, so it’s crucial that miners review their attraction, development and retention talent approaches,” Carrion says.

“Now more than ever, mining and metals companies need to look at their future talent needs and establish workforce and technology strategies to ensure they have a robust and appropriately skilled supply of employees,” he adds.

Carrion outlined three key ways mining companies can get ahead of the curve to foster this future workforce: attraction, development and retention. He argues that mining will require new skills in the future, from technologists and data scientists, to partnership managers and improvement specialists.

“Miners must reimagine talent attraction in a battle for the best and brightest,” Carrion says. “New talent pools should be established, both internal and external, with proactive sourcing key.

“Diversity should also be a priority for miners, and many companies have committed to fostering a more gender-balanced workforce,” he adds. “Ultimately, a diverse workforce is more engaged and productive, and will allow miners to navigate industry disruption far more effectively.”

Development will also be vital as a workforce strategy, in terms of reskilling programs, career advancement and organizational culture. Reskilling on digital, analytics, process improvement, remote operations and applications of AI is imperative, Carrion says. This will extend beyond employees and into contractors.

Carrion also touched on employee retention and stressed its importance at the conference. He believes retention of high performers shouldn’t be an afterthought, and that new leadership can help refresh and empower the existing workforce to embrace innovation quickly.

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Kevin Yanik is editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry. He can be reached at 216-706-3724 or

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