Modern Mining Services Industry “” More Than Just the Mines
The mining services industry includes the mines and a variety of different companies that provide mine-related products or services. Operations that drill for petroleum and natural gas are also a part of the industry.
Explosives, equipment, hoses and pumps are examples of mine-related products. Some companies design and manufacture specialised equipment for new mines. Replacement products are also needed as the mine ages.
Mine operators must be careful to ensure that equipment is inspected regularly and replaced when necessary. Faulty equipment can delay or reduce production and may also be a safety hazard.
Services to mine operations are often provided by contractors. A mine might not need a fulltime mechanic but a mechanic will be needed on a fairly regular basis to maintain and repair equipment.
Some remote mines are fly-in-fly-out locations. Services needed at those locations include cooking and cleaning. Some mines hire employees directly to provide those things. Others use contract labour.
Geologists and engineers are employed by the industry to locate new reserves and determine whether extraction is feasible. When a new mineral, petroleum or natural gas reserve is found, construction crews are needed to build accommodation, processing plants, offices and pipelines.
While the majority of people directly employed by the mining services industry are machine operators, there are many other people and businesses indirectly supported by the industry. According to one estimate, for every single person employed in the mines, there are three others who are employed because of the mines.
Mines are often located near small towns. When the operations open, new businesses come to town. There are rarely enough workers in the town to fill all of the available positions. New people move to the area and those people need homes. So a mine can be an economic boon to a community.
Some of the latest mining services providers focus on safety and environmental concerns. Miner safety is important to all companies and also to all service providers. Some companies specialise in providing safety equipment for underground operations. Others specialise in enhancing the safety of workers at above-ground mines.
In the past, mine owners had often been criticised over environmental concerns. Today, mine engineers take additional classes concerning how best to protect the environment. Equipment has been designed to be more energy-efficient and produce fewer emissions.
The industry understands its obligations to employees, communities and the environment. In terms of self-regulation, the modern mining services industry is among the best.