New mine technology should not lead to unemployment: Edmands

THE uptake of new technology and automation at mine sites does not necessarily mean loss of jobs. Instead it could mean more higher-end jobs, Rio Tinto managing director Phil Edmands told the Austmine conference in Brisbane yesterday.
New mine technology should not lead to unemployment: Edmands New mine technology should not lead to unemployment: Edmands New mine technology should not lead to unemployment: Edmands New mine technology should not lead to unemployment: Edmands New mine technology should not lead to unemployment: Edmands

Rio Tinto managing director Phil Edmands.

Lou Caruana

It was short-sighted to block the quick uptake of technologies by having slow and complicated workplace processes, he said.

“The decision to uptake new technology is a management decision. The true decision they have to take is that if new technologies are employed, that workers will be treated fairly.

“We’re in an environment where productivity increases are an imperative. Nimbleness is required. New technologies may reduce traditional jobs, but they also open up opportunities for higher end jobs.”

Technology and innovation would be needed in the mining equipment and technology sector (METS) sector to compensate for the high cost of Australian labour and other costs, Edmands said.

“Believing the government must fix everything is misconceived. I would suggest that the mining industry’s default position needs to change,” he said.

“The government can set the framework, but it’s the participants who need to do the heavy lifting. It is in the best interest of both mining and METS companies to do so.”

“The METS sector needs to continue to grow if it is not to wither.”

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