The mining industry is forever evolving, and with it, the industry’s conduct should evolve too. On a recent episode of Full Production, I had the pleasure of chatting with the new GM at FACE Contracting, Dean Vallve. Dean is a mining engineer and geologist, with a wealth of knowledge relating to the mining industry.
With our fascinating conversation still echoing within my mind, I wanted to impart some key points he touched upon.
Communication is Essential
Miscommunication can often have detrimental effects, resulting in poor execution of tasks and projects, with the bottom lines often ‘copping the flak.’
“Even if one person doesn’t get the message, the shift can fall apart,” says Dean. It all comes down to comprehensive mine planning – ironing out the kinks, and ensuring that everyone knows their job from the top down.
Sometimes, an employee needs to be spoken to in regards to something like a health and safety issue. There is a risk that needs to be addressed, but in order to refrain from confrontation, explaining the consequences through real-life examples, and being personable is a better approach than showing hostility.
Having key people who are able to instigate change through positive conversations without being abrasive with staff, is one direction Dean wants to see the industry go in.
Efficiency Within Recruiting
We’ve all been there. The first day on the job, no idea what’s what – a complete newbie. If a new recruit ends up at a site with a feeling of uncertainty, and no one to support them, this level of inefficiency can certainly create a negative first impression.
However, the mining industry is ever evolving, and there seems to be more of an emphasis on the human element when it comes to recruitment. “For me, it’s all about efficiency,” Dean states, calling for recruiters to focus on treating people like people, and not just as a commodity. By taking effective initial steps, and keeping new recruits informed of procedures and processes, reduces the possibility of them gaining a damaged perception toward mining. Therefore, this will help to encourage the next generation to stay within the industry.
Let’s talk about sustainability and its role in mining. When we think about sustainability, generally the first thing that comes to mind is the environment. However, in this context, what it really relates to is the employees within the industry. Dean understands that “You can’t do this kind of work forever,” – meaning underground mining – and should put plans in place to safeguard your future.
Having a contingency plan in place, and considering financial planning is a positive step forward. If the industry can provide such services, not only will it help guide the newer workers into making better long-term financial decisions, but also benefit veteran workers as well.
Considering alternative opportunities within mining is also a great way to maintain your sustainability within the industry. Branch out and invest your skills elsewhere, “You’re not just a cog in the machine. You’re not pigeonholed into a certain role or certain field,” there are multiple progressive employment options within mining.
If there’s going to be a positive future in mining, there needs to be a proactive movement in mining recruitment, and compassionate treatment of existing employees.
Listen to my entire conversation with Dean here.