Towards autonomous operations in the mining industry: the role of human factors.
In the past 30 years, Latin American mining industry passed under the sign of technological advances; first with the incorporation of mechanized equipment and then teleoperation and automation in many aspects of the excavation process. In that respect, Chile is the leading country, although lately Peru, Mexico and Brazil are showing a growing interest in introducing new technologies in their mining operations. Positive aspects of these changes can be seen in continuous improvements of operations and processes, increased in innovation and improvements in safety. However, with few exceptions, the involvement of top management in enabling innovation and rapid technological implementation has often been insufficient. This, however, is changing dramatically as mining companies look towards automatization to maximize productivity and profitability, remove mining personnel from dangerous environments as well as bypass human limitations to meet new challenges, which would allow the humans to make strategic decisions while being supported by the machines and the connected environment. This paper examines the human factors issues related to the implementation of automated system in general with some examples from Chilean open pit and underground mines.
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