Small Mine Development implements ThoroughTec’s high fidelity simulators to address challenges

As the labour market evolves, mining contractor Small Mine Development has encountered increased staff turnover rates and a corresponding shortage of skilled personnel for critical mining positions. Tackling these challenges head-on, the company has turned to technology, introducing simulator training as a proactive means to both speed up and improve the quality of operator training.

“Faced with these challenges, we have had to perform a lot more training, particularly in our truck driving positions,” stated Keith Jones, General Manager at Small Mine Development. “However, this additional utilisation by less skilled operators has led to increased equipment damage.”

The decision to integrate simulator training stemmed from a desire to provide new hires with a comprehensive understanding of the underground environment before their on-site deployment. “By offering a consistent and comprehensive training program utilising simulators, we aim to equip our employees with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their roles,” added Jones.

Key features of the simulator highlighted by Jones include its ability to replicate various underground scenarios, such as navigating uneven terrain and responding to emergencies situations, which are virtually impossible to train for using traditional methods. Additionally, the simulator enables trainees to practice develop machine sympathy and gain insight into the way their operating behaviour directly affects mine costs and profitability.

Small Mine Development partnered with ThoroughTec Simulation, a market leader in underground mining simulators, and known for its extensive range of realistic simulators. “We are pleased with the ThoroughTec simulator. Feedback from experienced operators is that it is quite realistic,” noted Jones. When asked about the choice of ThoroughTec as the simulator provider, Keith emphasised the company’s reputation and the versatility of its offerings. “We have a mixed fleet and did not want a brand specific simulator. Being able to switch cabs easily and the fact that ThoroughTec had many of the specific machines we operate, it was an easy decision.”

Thoroughtec stated that Small Mine Development is excited about the launch of its new training centre, with the simulator playing a pivotal role in enhancing the company’s training initiatives.