Global Mining Summit 2017

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  • Driving Mining Productivity through Technology


    Fred Banfield of Mintec, Inc., a solution provider company at the marcus evans Global Mining Summit 2012, on boosting productivity and efficiency in mining organizations.

    Interview with: Fred Banfield, Chairman, Mintec, Inc.


    More automation is the answer to boosting efficiency and overcoming the labor shortage in the mining sector, says Fred Banfield, Chairman, Mintec, Inc. “Product purchasing decisions need to be more organized and centralized. Corporations would not allow their accounting or HR departments to implement ad hoc processes, yet it is a pattern that is repeated in the technical side of mining,” Banfield adds. “Poorly integrated software and processes are the result.”

    From a solution provider company at the upcoming marcus evans Global Mining Summit 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada, December 6-7, Banfield discusses the role that new technologies can play in the mining sector.

    How could mining companies become more efficient?

    Many mining processes are labor-intensive, with old habits dictating how tasks and workflows are completed. The current labor shortage is forecast to worsen, which will further challenge mining companies. More automation is the answer, and more mines are recognizing the need for efficiency. Technical solutions are no longer dismissed as high tech in a low tech industry. A comprehensive and integrated mining management software solution, such as MineSight’s, offers companies a significant competitive edge.

    Why should they focus more on productivity?

    New technology drives productivity improvements. Mining is highly cyclical. If you jump on the gravy train when times are good, but do not drive your productivity up, you will be off the train on the next downturn. Improving productivity requires investment in new technology. It is best to do that when the company is profitable. Managing this when times are good is the key to surviving the next downturn.

    What mine evaluation, design and operation issues do companies overlook, that you consider critical to success?

    We continually see at least four issues when we visit mines. Firstly, inadequate definition of workflows and repetitive practices, making mines vulnerable to data loss, inefficient practices and constant firefighting. Secondly, many sites still use practices created by a knowledgeable engineer at the start of the mine operation. Software is constantly improving, so users need to stay on the curve of technology to develop best practices.

    Thirdly, we see them relying on standalone spreadsheets and accessing databases to maintain mission critical data, instead of centralized data stores which can save them time. And lastly, staff trust results instead of thinking critically. They need to spend more time reviewing results and engineering, instead of preparing results for analysis (and not doing the analysis).

    Any final words of advice?

    Train your staff in technology. Implement processes that maximize the use of repeatable technology and minimize staff requirements. Mining companies are already short staffed and the situation will not improve. With some regions of the world offering very attractive salaries, staff mobility will continue to be a problem. Repeatedly training staff through a revolving door is not easy if processes are ad hoc and locally built.

    Contact: Sarin Kouyoumdjian-Gurunlian, Press Manager, marcus evans, Summits Division

    Tel: + 357 22 849 313

    About the Global Mining Summit 2012

    This unique forum will take place at the Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa, Las Vegas, Nevada, December 6-7, 2012. Offering much more than any conference, exhibition or trade show, this exclusive meeting will bring together esteemed industry thought leaders and solution providers to a highly focused and interactive networking event.

    For more information please send an email to or visit the event website at

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    Please note that the Summit is a closed business event and the number of participants strictly limited.

    About Mintec, Inc.

    Mintec, Inc. is a software developer and service provider for the mining industry. Founded in 1970, Mintec has grown into a global network of mining professionals providing technology, service, and support in the most complex mining operations in the world. MineSight, the company’s comprehensive modeling and mine planning software platform, offers integrated solutions for exploration, modeling, design, scheduling and production. Headquartered in Tucson, AZ, we deliver efficiency and reliability that improves productivity at every stage of your mine’s life.

    About marcus evans Summits

    marcus evans Summits are high level business forums for the world’s leading decision-makers to meet, learn and discuss strategies and solutions. Held at exclusive locations around the world, these events provide attendees with a unique opportunity to individually tailor their schedules of keynote presentations, think tanks, seminars and one-on-one business meetings. For more information, please visit

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