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Dundee Precious Metals and its commitment to innovation sets it apart from an industry known for being old-fashioned.
There is a lot of opportunity in the mining industry and related markets to introduce new technology. Only recently has mining began adapting and innovating to envelop new resources, and changes in demand, driving a plethora of products, procedures, and platforms for a safer environment for workers. Dundee Precious Metals is a perfect example of a mining company taking advantage of the direction technology is moving to make their projects safer for employees and more efficient for the bottom line. More often than not, you’ll see this company setting the standard for technology in the industry.
“Mining tends to lag in the use of new technology. But we see a lot of new opportunities with the Internet of Things, and specifically the Industrial Internet of things, and smart, connected devices,” shared President and CEO Rick Howes. “From driverless vehicles to virtual reality, we have the ability to significantly improve the safety and efficiency of our mines.”
The Canadian-based international mining company participates in the acquisition, exploration, development, mining, and processing of precious metal properties. The gold marketplace has not been an easy one to navigate for the past few years, but the even-keeled leadership at Dundee has kept the brand on track by staying focused on running the business effectively.
Dundee Precious Metals leads the field with its application of innovative technology. Although the company wasn’t the first to utilize wireless communications in an underground mine, it is believed to be the only organization that has utilized the tech across its whole underground mine.
“It’s like taking the lid off of the mine,” Howes said. “In that dark environment, we want to have the ability to see where equipment is working and where our people are located within the mine. It’s real-time visualization that has helped us double our production and cut our costs in half. Not all of that benefit is attributed just to this technology of course, but it has played a major role.”
This tech, which Dundee has installed since 2011, has allowed for voice, data, and video communication to be done wirelessly underground. Installing the 350 wireless access points—routers—create a web of interconnectivity and continuous linkage that, as Howes said, gives the company a literal overview of production and the company’s people hard at work.
Dundee has had so much success with its own technology, and has so much interest from others in the industry, that the company founded Terrative Digital Solutions. While Dundee is not a tech company, its leadership decided to capitalize on a very marketable product. The company sells underground wireless communication devices specifically developed for underground mining.
But it’s not just about the bottom line for Dundee: these technological advances help the company make its operations as safe as possible for its employees. All of the procedures, systems, and tech in place were designed to make it safer to work underground.
“The industry has experienced significant gains and improvements in safety compared to what it was like to work in a mine 20 years ago,” Howes said. “For us it’s attributed to a number of things, but the crux of it is that both management and workers treat safety as a priority—it’s one of our fundamental values. The most important thing for us day in and day out is making sure no one is injured.”
Howes further commented that while technology has greatly improved the company’s safety capabilities, Dundee’s leadership is responsible for making it the priority it is today. With respect to safety, the organization performs much higher than the average safety statistics in the industry. No matter the regulations of the country Dundee is operating in, safety is held to the highest global standards.
These company pillars create a chain reaction: technology drives safety, and safety drives employee empowerment and retention, retention drives the strength of the company pillars. The key to satisfied employees, according to Howes, is understanding where to look for talent.
“We operate in several different countries and cultures. When you’re a global company you realize very quickly that there are talented people everywhere,” he shared. “We respect the cultures each place we have a project. We pay people well. We treat them well. We provide education and development programs. And if employees are interested in moving around within the company, or trying out a position in another country, we consider that too.”
“If people show us that they are capable and want to be developed, we will do everything we can to broaden their experiences.”
Tsumeb Smelter Upgrades
Dundee bought a run-down, small facility called the Tsumeb Smelter in 2010. The company recently just finished upgrades that have brought the facility into the 21st century.
“It was barely surviving when we purchased it. We had to invest and upgrade it to make it profitable. Our five-year, $350 million investment program was completed this year. We brought it up to international regulatory standards. It’s a totally modern facility and has a great future ahead of it producing for Dundee and as the economic foundation of the local community.”
DPM is a Canadian-based, international mining company engaged in the acquisition, exploration, development and mining and processing of precious metal properties. DPM’s business objectives are to identify, acquire, finance, develop and operate low-cost, long-life mining properties.
Dundee Precious Metals HQ
1 Adelaide Street East
Suite 500, P.O. Box 195
Toronto, Ontario, M5C 2V9
Website http: www.dundeeprecious.com