Human Factor Issues with Automated Mining Equipment

Danellie Lynas*, Tim Horberry
Minerals Industry Safety and Health Centre, University of Queensland, Australia

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Horberry et al.; Licensee Bentham Open

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Minerals Industry Safety and Health Centre, University of Queensland, Australia; Tel: +61 7 3346 3286; E-mail:


This paper presents an extended literature review of the human factors impacts of current and future automation in the minerals industry. It begins by defining what is automation and stating why it is being developed and deployed. It then outlines why it is important to consider operators and maintainers when designing and deploying mining automation. To put mining automation into context, lessons learnt from automation in other industries and past problems with automation from a human-element perspective is then presented before specific issues in mining automation are discussed; these include ‘degrees of automation’, automation trends and the deployment issues. Conclusions about the human-element impacts of mining automation are made; these include the likely problems and some potential ways of reducing such problems.

Keywords: Automation, new technologies, mining, minerals industry, operator-centred design, human systems integration, human factors.