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The Importance of Standards and Procedures in Mining Technical Services Departments

Mining Standards & Procedures

The Importance of Standards and Procedures in Mining Technical Services Departments

Most mining operations use standards and procedures to safely complete daily operational tasks. However, many neglect to provide and develop them for the design and completion of tasks by the technical services department.

To maintain a high quality and consistent output throughout the Life of Mine, it is imperative that simple and practical standards and procedures are integrated into the operation.

The mining industry has historically been slow at adopting change, but companies now have an increased awareness that failing to act on adopting standards and procedures, has become a significant business risk.

Previous site-specific experience and mining history of staff is often heavily relied upon at mining operations. When those experienced staff members leave, so does their knowledge, experience, and skills. New employees are typically the most affected by this; as they are often unrealistically expected to replace the lost site-specific knowledge and step into the vacated roles prematurely. 

When a new employee is replacing someone in their role, they may be fortunate enough to spend some time with the departing person, allowing the transfer of relevant knowledge. However, this is often not the case. If a transition is possible, the new employee can ask questions and gather information; though, everything is not always obtained during the transition typically due to the short overlap time.

If the new employee does not have the luxury of overlapping with the previous employee, then they may be left to make key decisions without the knowledge of previously discovered findings. This highlights the importance of documentation to ensure site-specific knowledge can be easily retained and passed on.

There are often many different ways of performing tasks or creating plans, and individuals will typically all have their own method or process. To have consistency and transparency for these tasks, standards need to be developed, documented and implemented.

Standards and Procedures can be time-consuming and challenging to complete, but they provide an enormous benefit to the company or mine site. They allow personnel to read them and understand how to be able to continue work in a manner acceptable to the site. These are some general points to address, develop and document when striving for consistency:

  • Organisational structure
  • Process flow chart
  • Standards and procedures
  • Quality control task/project completion inspections


In short, the effective use of standards and procedures can: 

  • Reduce errors and accidents
  • Maintain high standards and consistent outputs
  • Create great teaching material for training new staff or a great assessment tool for current staff
  • Ensure that underground personnel are familiar with the same plans and/or instructions layout
  • Give existing and new employees a standard to follow
  • Establish a culture that encourages all to work to a set standard
  • Drive productivity, communication and collaboration
  • Maximise the safety of all staff & assets