For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Automation and robotics in mining: Jobs, income and inequality implications"

by Paredes, Dusan; Fleming-Muñoz, David (2021)


Although mining is a capital-intensive industry, its contribution to employment creation is generally praised as a leading local benefit to justify new or expanding extraction projects. However, labour substitution from automation and robotics is increasing in a wide range of modern mining processes. Such labour replacement is likely to intensify in the coming years due to advances and cost reductions in technology. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic also adds to the impetus of relying less on human interaction for critical operational processes. In this paper, we provide some insights on the global trends of automation/robotics in mining and discuss the main economic impacts that increasing human labour substitution could bring to mining communities, regions, and nations. We focus on mining automation/robotics impacts on jobs, income (including taxes), and regional inequality. We conclude by discussing policy options that governments could consider for mitigating these impacts, including the reskilling of miners and tax transfers.


Mining, Local Economy, Economic Impacts, Resource Economics, Covid-19



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