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 Post subject: Employee Retention in Remote Mining Regions
PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 10:42 pm 
Hi guys, I'm Carla and obviously I am new here. I'm from Adelaide, Australia and I am currently doing a research on employee retention in mining regions for my Management class.

Currently, I've looked into a few aspects: leadership, environment and technology and I'm focused on the latter.

I had read how satellite communications are pivotal in the mining industry. What do you think are the opportunities for the technology. What are the downsides? If you can also share your experiences with communication solutions in the mining industry, it would be perfect.

Thanks! :D


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 6:40 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:04 pm
Posts: 18
Location: Southern Illinois
I'll give my best shot at trying to help you out.

Depending on the mine's location, technology can be your only link to the outside world. I worked for a little over a year at one of the more/most remote locations in the lower 48 states. It was literally in the middle of Nevada. The nearest "big" town (10,000 people+) was a three hour drive. Reno and Las Vegas were four hours and the closest public airport. A trip "home" took 10-12 hours. A four hour drive to one airport, four hour flight, another two hour drive, and whatever time I had to wait at the airports. You could get from New York City to LA (2500 miles) much faster than it took me to get from Nevada to Illinois (1800 miles).

I don't think I would have survived a year without an internet connection and satellite TV. Due to the towns location, in a valley at 6000ft elevation with 10,000 ft + mountains on either side, without assistance I think there were two radio stations and one or two TV stations available. That was manageable in the summer when you could go play around in the mountains. However, once the snows started in October, there wasn't much to do for months.

It did make for a closer community, I think it was around 900. Everyone, including myself, played in the summer softball league and I played volleyball and poker in the winter. You'd have movie nights at someones house because the nearest theater was four hours away.

Technology (email, internet, satellite TV), was your only easy/cheap link to something/someone different. I made many online purchases because of the remote location. The only real problem is that the mine sites internet link was far superior to anything available to the public. For work it was great, for private it worked most of the time.

Personally, I think this type of situation is more difficult than the fly-in fly-out mines in parts of Alaska and Canada. With those types of jobs you're typically working a two week on two week off rotation. I'm pretty sure I could handle remote locations two weeks at a time, but when you're stuck there for months on end, it can be a bit depressing.

Retention was/is difficult at that particular mine. Of the dozen or so friends I made, only two remained five years later and they were both born and raised close by.

Housing, or the lack of, was my biggest issue.

I've worked at five different coal mines and the one gold mine in Nevada. The gold mine was by far the most remote. I think technology, or a lack of it, becomes more of an issue the more remote the mining location becomes. Everything becomes harder and more expensive the further you are from civilization. The upside is the scenery tends to get much better, at least in the US.

Hope this is of some help.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 11:49 pm 
Thank you so much! This will certainly help in my research. Oh btw, I'm doing this in management-partnership with a real communications service provider so your insight will definitely be very very helpful.

"Personally, I think this type of situation is more difficult than the fly-in fly-out mines in parts of Alaska and Canada. With those types of jobs you're typically working a two week on two week off rotation. I'm pretty sure I could handle remote locations two weeks at a time, but when you're stuck there for months on end, it can be a bit depressing. "

This has been a common issue from the others I've interview as well. FIFO, though costly, is still much preferred.

"I've worked at five different coal mines and the one gold mine in Nevada. The gold mine was by far the most remote. I think technology, or a lack of it, becomes more of an issue the more remote the mining location becomes. Everything becomes harder and more expensive the further you are from civilization. The upside is the scenery tends to get much better, at least in the US."

It's nice to know nature is a reassuring friend in such remote locations


Do you know any other mining forums or discussion boards? Thank you so much again! :)


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