Mental health has been identified as the number-one health and safety issue in the international resources sector, according to a recent survey of global mining executives.
According to the State of Play: Ecosystem report, given the choice of two responses, 70 per cent of those surveyed recognised mental health as the number-one concern for miners, with airborne particulates (50 per cent), accidents (40 per cent) and working underground (30 per cent) the next highest.
The biennial mining industry survey is the world’s largest mining industry survey and includes the analysis of data gathered from more than 800 global mining leaders, as well as interviews with some of the world’s leading mining executives and strategic thinkers.
According to the report, health is undergoing a quiet revolution in the mining industry.
“Long known for being a risky occupation, mining workforces are set to personally reap the health benefits of the industry’s rapid adoption of improving digital and energy technologies,” the report states.
“A shift towards electric equipment promises the eradication of harmful diesel airborne particulates.
“Greater penetration of digital sensors and analytics is improving the transparency of how exactly operating mines impact the health of their workers.
“Rapid diagnostic equipment enables testing of exposure, potential illness and in the case of companies like MX3 Diagnostics, hydration of workforces.
“Automation removes workers from close proximity to high energy sources and emissions.”
Despite recent technological advances, the report states that mine sites can often expose people to neurotoxins, carcinogens and respiratory damage.
“Working underground, in remote areas or just being proximate to safety incidents places mental strain on workers,” the report stated.
“Some of these risks are endemic to certain mined substances, such as lead, alumina, zinc and manganese.
“Some are due to the methods required to process other metals and minerals such as arsenic, cyanide and mercury to separate gold, while others still are due to operational choices, such as underground diesel equipment and fly-in-fly-out rosters.”