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How to capture value in mining for the coming years

Several complex scenarios have had to face the mining companies along with the higher level of economic and social uncertainty in recent times. Faced with this, the great challenge is to continue adapting and, at the same time, generate value. A good way to move forward, if not the most reliable, is to increase the productivity levels of current operations, which will allow generating the necessary resources to respond to new demands. This capture of value must be fostered in a sustained and long-term manner, especially in an industry that involves large investments, such as mining, both at the state level and in the private sector, where US$68,925 million are projected for the next decade. And even more so, when investments are 7% lower than what was seen a year ago, according to figures provided by the Chilean Copper Commission.

To do this, there are common factors and adaptations that companies in the sector must make in order to increase productivity in this new normality that we will be facing during 2022 and in the next five years.

1.   It can be achieved with the catalyst of an external entity that reviews the company's processes, incorporating a fresh look and without the organization's own biases. In addition, incorporate new disciplines to decision making. The pandemic we are currently facing has forced us to incorporate health perspectives into processes that previously did not have it professionalized. Many organizations have realized that these fresh eyes not only help solve health problems, but also optimize processes. It's time to add value to daily operations with other disciplines. These two paths work best in a complementary way.


two.   Being part of the production: Reviewing the daily operations in the field, whenever possible, is a powerful tool that had been displaced in some organizations. Whether it is a process room, a mine or another place of operations, it allows you to be part of the generation of value, and leads to best practices, generates continuous improvements and encourages the raising of early warnings, together with the different teams of the company. organization.

3.   Review salary and incentive structures: Since capacity has currently been reduced and there must be a distance between people, the processes must be reviewed and modified accordingly. This new scenario can lead to shifts with a smaller number of collaborators, in relation to those projected in the process design.  Those who work each shift must be more productive to achieve the expected outputs. This goal is achieved through incentive systems, where many times they are not aligned with the primary objective of production, so it is highly recommended to periodically review them together with remuneration, in order to keep people satisfied and consistent. with what is being searched for at that minute.


4. Greater flexibility: In previous years, rigid processes were generated in order to achieve greater production. Currently, mining must have greater flexibility, even when sacrificing part of the maximum production. Given the new conditions, where the shift systems suffer forced casualties, due to capacity, quarantine or close contacts, which can reduce the potential of attendees to a shift, in the long term, a more flexible operation allows a more stable and predictable production over time, reducing the productive variation that can be generated by factors external to the process itself.


5.  Generate a cultural change, which, while recognizing the culture of the organization, adopts an inclusive methodology with workers, generating cross-cutting and multidisciplinary work groups, incorporating changes that are sustainable over time, and not vertically and downwardly, and fostering a model of experiences, which adapts to the new economic and social scenario that the industry is experiencing in the country context.

Francisco Ortuzar

John Francis Ortiz

Orca Business Consulting

Original Text in Mining Portal

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