Automation|DIGITALISATION|Gold|Indaba|Industrial|Joburg Indaba|Mining|Underground
Automation|DIGITALISATION|Gold|Indaba|Industrial|Joburg Indaba|Mining|Underground

4IR set to change mining jobs profile

12th March 2021

By: Donna Slater

Features Deputy Editor and Chief Photographer


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Along with the adoption of technologies needed forthe Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) could potentially come a change in the type of jobs being created in the mining industry, gold miner Gold Fields technical executive VP Richard Butcherhas said.

Speaking during the Joburg Indaba’s Modernisation in Mining event on February 24, he said that, globally, those employed in industries that would be most impacted by 4IR were concernedaboutlosing their jobs to machines and automation.

However, Butcher said people had to look at the situation fairly, because, at the same time that 4IR was being embedded in industries, and especially mining, a lot of people were leaving their mining jobs because, for the most part, they were reaching retirement age. He stated that, although this meant some people would be replaced by robots, new vacancies would become available as the older generation exited their positions.

Butcher said another issue was that mining jobs, especially the dangerous underground type, were becoming less and less sought-after by the younger generation that was slowly filling vacancies left by the older generation. He said the younger generation shied away from labour-intensive jobs, alluding to them instead seeking other, potentially office-bound, jobs that employed some form of digitalisation.

In addition, people from demographics not historically associated with physical mining jobs were the ones currently vying for such positions, including women and what Butcher said were “other groups which never really wanted to work in the mining industry”.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online


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