Boosting production tops exec priorities

MINING industry executives believe increasing production is more of a challenge than ensuring workplace safety, according to a new survey.
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Lauren Barrett

Software provider Mincom said it had surveyed high-level executives at 256 mining companies in North America, Latin America and the Asia Pacific region.

The Mining Executive Insights survey found 73% of respondents said maximising production effectiveness was their number one priority, while ensuring workplace safety followed, with 53% voting it as an important concern.

Ensuring equipment operated reliably and predictably was the lowest concern for the respondents, scoring 32%.

Mincom executive vice president Jennifer Tejada said she was not surprised by the results.

“Not surprisingly, given the growing global demand for mining products and high commodity prices, maximising production is by far the number-one priority for global mining executives,” Tejada said.

Some 40% of those surveyed said the main obstacle to achieving organic growth was complying with government regulations while 32% said delays in getting new mines operational was a difficulty.

22% of those surveyed identified the difficulty in standardising business processes as an obstacle.

Tejada said the high number of people identifying regulatory compliance as their primary obstacle to organic growth showed that mining companies were facing additional regulatory scrutiny as they looked to increase production and develop new sites.

“We also noted the number of executives who identified difficulty in standardising business processes as their primary growth obstacle has nearly doubled from last year,” she said.

“This spike may indicate a paradigm shift taking place within the industry, in which more companies view the ability to operate predictably across all enterprise operations as a principal driver of value.”

The study also found that lessons learned from the economic downturn were continuing, with 65% of respondents adopting aggressive cost-control strategies to maintain or improve profitability.

“Based on this year’s research, we find the overall outlook for the mining industry is conservative, but increasingly positive,” Tejada said.