The African mining sector is in the early stages of innovation, and it’s now time to move forward and create the mine of tomorrow.
Mining globally has come under pressure to gear down following a period in which commodity prices plunged to historical lows. Add to that the fact that mines are now deeper and more dangerous, geology is more difficult to navigate and continuous improvement is no longer sufficient to survive. In times of threat there is a flipside that requires interrogation, as the industry gains the opportunity to reconsider the status quo and activate innovation.
The tide for taking innovation seriously as a business imperative has come in. While talk of this has drummed on for years, often constrained to boardroom discussions, now is when mining houses will succeed or falter based on whether innovation strategy is brought to life and whether it is integrated across departments. It is now critical for companies to push beyond what this report terms Core innovation.
The findings in this survey underpin some key questions for the industry. Are we as an industry future proofing our collective prospects through innovation? If not, how can this impact the success stakes for each and every one of our operations? Are we integrating our innovation strategies throughout our organisations? If we are failing to respond to the rapid pace of industry change, how quickly can we apply innovation effectively?
The sector understands the innovation concept, but has been slow to realise the benefits. Significant research has been undertaken to date; however it is now imperative to join the dots and capitalise on the groundwork. Innovation on the continent has also been rooted in a laboratory mindset, remaining limited to a focus on technology. The sector is starting to understand that there is scope to do things differently, and to innovate across the organisation and stakeholder set.
Definitively, now is the perfect time to take African mining into an age where technological and organisational sophistication meet social conscience.
Africa Energy & Resources Leader