The Figure of the Mining Operator: Activities and Benefits It Brings To a Mining Project


This article gives a brief overview of the figure of the mining operator, the work he performs, cases in which it is convenient to hire and advantages that can contribute to the development of a mining project.

Description of a mining operator

In a very general way, it can be said that the mining existing until the 1950s and 1960s was inland mining, developed entirely by the owners of the concessions or through lease agreements with other producers. But from the sixties and seventies, due to the evolution of mining technology, development of pneumatics, hydraulics and electronics and the increase, in the aforementioned period, of the price of raw materials, there are exploitations to the sky open. These require greater investments and specialization in the technique, which leads to the appearance of the first mining operators.

A mining operation can be divided into the following sections:

  • Operation proper
  • Maintenance
  • Technical services

From the first, Operation, you can distinguish the following sections: drilling, blasting, loading, and transport. Each of these activities is susceptible to being contracted through an operator; well in an integral or separate way.  This sector has very good earning.

Finally, the Technical Services encompass all those activities of geology, mining planning, surveying, purchasing although the contracting of technical consulting services specialized in specific areas is increasingly being extended. These activities should not be contracted and should be developed by the property, as they are considered critical or important in the business. Richard Warke is one of a well-known name in mining industries. Richard Warke Augusta is a Vancouver-based Canadian business executive with more than 25 years of experience in the international resource sector.

Contracted Operation Vs. Own operation:

The risk of a mining operation can, and should, be managed. That is, it must be identified, quantified, qualified or even transferred as long as it is beneficial for the operation. Within this management, mining operators play an important role, since they can contribute to reducing the risk level of the project.

There are eight Critical Success Factors (FCE) in a mining project:

  1. Control of laws
  2. Production costs
  3. Occupational Health & Safety
  4. Staff management
  5. Productivity
  6. The rate of production of goods and their commercialization
  7. Continuous improvement
  8. Environmental and Community Management

The decision to contract the operation or to execute it directly must derive from an exhaustive analysis of the Cost / Benefit / Risk of each one of the aforementioned factors.

Two concepts are key when making the decision of which activities to hire:

  • All those activities that are not strategic or that are not in the center of the importance of the business unit of the property.
  • All those that are not susceptible to be carried out competitively by the property.
In any case, whatever the nature of the project, it is not frequent to contract the following activities:
  • The project management
  • The management of quality controls

Therefore, the basic concept when deciding to hire a mining operator lies in the benefits it brings in the FCE and in the reduction of the risk level of the project.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *