Building a Local Technology Team

Building a Local Technology Team

Mining companies can take you to some distant places on the world, and once I joined OceanaGold in 2013, the corporate had just instructed the Didipio operation, a gold and copper asset on the island of Luzon, approximately 270 kilometers north of Manila within the state of Philippines. Didipio is an open-pit mine with an underground development recently underway and with a mine life beyond 2030. The mine is surrounded by lush tropical vegetation and experiences high rainfall with a mean of ten typhoons a year. Getting communications services into the location may be a particular challenge.

OceanaGold commits to use locally and one of our early challenges was to create the capabilities to take over full responsibility for the IT function to Filipino nationals, to try to do this, we developed an idea to spot local talent, implement technical and leadership training, and end ex-pat staff. OceanaGold runs a dispersed performing model to drive accountability, so it had been important to urge the consolidation right of local site control and central IT group support and governance.

"OceanaGold runs a decentralized operating model to drive accountability, so it had been important to urge the combination right of local site control and central it group support and governance"

I have worked in many locations over my career—Australia, South Africa, Europe, and North America—and Filipino talent is top-notch, with an incredibly positive attitude to their work, plus a robust interest in learning. The commitment of the local team and careful planning enabled us to successfully make the transition from an ex-pat driven leadership to an entirely Filipino run IT team at the mine within a year.

Fast forward to this, Didipio mine is currently within the process of changing to an entirely underground movement. OceanaGold - like most mining companies today - is looking to enhance its products wherever possible and it's pleasing to ascertain the Didipio IT function delivering innovations and technical advancements to the operation of the new underground mine. Specifically, we are digitally enabling the underground environment with communications infrastructure, deployed throughout the complex, to trace and manage equipment and enable real-time data on vehicle and operator activities. Besides, with device manufacturers’ software, we are seeking to enhance the vehicle fleet and manage difficult resource scheduling to enable attachment to the mine plan also because of the productivity benefits. These innovations will help improve safety by tracking people and monitoring equipment underground. We see this digital enablement as a platform to manage more aspects of the underground environment and, in time, allow us to create additional capabilities for proximity management, remote equipment control, and automation.

With the locally based team at Didipio now at the forefront of mining technology innovation for our company, shows that building an idea and investing in employee development pays strong dividends.

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