Lunch Breaks With Robots – The Rise Of Automation In The Resources Industry
May 27th, 2019
Automation technology is becoming increasingly crucial to the Australian resources industry.
As more companies invest in this technology for the future, concern amongst workers for the security of their jobs is rising. This uncertainty of what the future of work will look like left us asking the question: will robots really take our jobs in the next decade? The answer is yes.
Bradley Suiter is a Procurement Specialist at TEAK Industrial Supplies in Malaga, WA. TEAK specialise in supply and procurement to the mining, industrial and civil engineering Industries. Bradley believes that automation will change mining as we know it but people don’t have to lose their jobs as a result.
“The overall workforce may be thinner on the ground but jobs will evolve from heavy, hands-on work, to maintenance and repair. Computers require programming, sensors fail, machines break down, plants and equipment will need maintenance”, he said.
Bradley also says that, “Unless there is a ‘Terminator’ style scenario where machines become as dexterous as humans, there will always be a place for people in the industry either directly on site or operating remotely off site.”
An Ernst & Young report, Skills Map for the Future of Work , supported his perspective, predicting 77 per cent of jobs in Australian mining will be enhanced or redesigned due to technology within the next five years
Bradley started out as an automotive electrician and then progressed into automotive sales in the late nineties. He then got involved with procurement in the industrial sectors, whilst running a family-owned online business & project managing various property projects. Working with goods and services, Bradley see’s on a daily basis the areas of the industry that would benefit from automation.
“My job is acquiring goods, services, or works from multiple external sources. We then pack and ship to site as a single consignment, this is often time consuming depending on the volume of items required to site.”
He understands the stigma that many workers have of automation, acknowledging people’s need for work stability and a decent income. He sees the fear coming from that stability being undermined and people struggling to find work elsewhere. He says, “The stigma out there is that mining and industrial companies are installing robots at the expense of the Australian worker.”
EY’s report also found that 35 per cent of mining occupations will be redesigned and upskilled leading to more valuable employment opportunities. Bradley sees an opportunity in this for Australian workers to get a head start on what will inevitably become an industry fully immersed in automation.
“Automation opens up opportunities for those who are willing to be upskilled, trained in other areas of the business and for those who…can see themselves as an external service provider to the industry.”
An example of this can be seen with Rio Tinto, one of Australia’s largest metals and mining corporations. They launched the autonomous Mine of the Future program in 2008 and now boast a fleet of eighty autonomous trucks, expected to increase to around 140 by the end of 2019. They have eleven autonomous drills in use and 60% of their train powered transport is operated autonomously, with a driver on board to supervise.
The mining industry now have the resources and technology to make mining increasingly safer, faster, more accurate and productive. There’s no reason why workers need to be left behind as Australian mining evolves moving forward. To get a head start on up-skilling for the future, create a free MyPass profile today.
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