Leadership Insights:
Innovation, Technology and Automation

“Innovation will change the way we organize and work together.”

DEAN GEHRING, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer





Rob Atkinson, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, and Dean Gehring, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, provide insights into the role that technology, innovation and automation will play in making Newmont, and mining, more sustainable.

Mining is an industry that is generally considered slow to change and risk averse. Companies have been working in the existing framework for decades. Why change? What is the benefit? What is the risk?

Dean Gehring: First, mining is a heavy industry, very capital intensive, which means it’s very expensive. So when you have implemented technology, typically it can be very expensive to transition to a new technology, even if it’s better. Consequently, we always have to go through a lengthy process of being able to justify the investment in new technology.

Rob Atkinson: I think there’s an imperative to change the mining industry. Whether it’s societal change around emissions, whether it is attracting the new generation who want to do different types of jobs, whether it’s the awareness of mining’s impact on water and land. In the past, we’ve been allowed to go slowly, but expectations are higher now.

How are innovation and technology going to change mining over the next five to 10 years?

Dean Gehring: Automation. We’re already seeing a rapid increase in automation in all aspects of our business, whether it’s within haul trucks or the way we do mine planning and process purchase orders. We’re also going to see innovation impacting how you go about doing the work — how our teams collaborate, how we work with vendors. Innovation will change the way we organize and work together.

Rob Atkinson: We’re also going to see important advances in the way we leverage data to make decisions, whether they are operational or strategic.

When you think about the Newmont of 2050, 2060, what does it look like? How does technology play a role in getting you there? And what do you need to do today to support that future?

Dean Gehring: Technology is going to continue to reduce the variability in what we do — in extracting, in processing, in all aspects of mining. High variability is one of the biggest challenges we have in how it impacts our productivity and performance, whether that’s operational or environmental. And by continuing to leverage the huge amounts of data generated through autonomous systems and being able to fine tune systems so they operate incredibly smoothly with very low variability means you’re starting to eliminate waste. You’re starting to eliminate excess energy.

Rob Atkinson: Water and energy. We cannot use water at the rate we do now. We’ve got to use technology so we can recycle, reutilize and repurpose water. We’re going to make our operational footprints smaller, doing more, while we use less water, less energy and have less impact on the environment.

How does Newmont look to the future in which they are both automating the mine while also creating shared value for the community that relies upon those jobs?

Rob Atkinson: Historically, the relationship that mining companies have with communities has been based on jobs, but we need to reexamine that relationship. We can’t just use the same old traditional model. We’ve got to be more engaged, to be better partners. And that’s quite exciting for me, in terms of what a mining company can truly do for a community not just whilst it’s operating, but in the legacy it leaves. And instead of being a negative legacy, how can we make it an incredibly positive one?

Dean Gehring: Thirty years ago an IT department was a couple people keeping the accounting systems running. Today, IT departments are much larger because the technology we’re using requires more people than it did before, because we’re using technology in new ways. We’re seeing at our operations that other positions are created as a result of the technicians and engineers and other experts that are needed to continue to maintain and monitor those systems.

Climate change is an existential threat to the planet, how can Newmont use its ESG leadership to help transform the industry and support our stakeholders and communities as they adapt?

Rob Atkinson: We’ve got a leadership position, and we’ve got to tell our story. For so long, mining companies have tried to go unnoted for fear of being criticized but it often led to us not being thought of as leaders. Well, now’s the time to take the risk and lead, so we can all lead. But it’s not about preaching to people. It’s about showing — backed by examples and evidence — what we’re doing to improve our climate performance. We need to use our story — of setbacks and successes — to help build a coalition of the willing that includes the investment community, other miners, communities and government.

Leadership in Action:
Newmont and Caterpillar Form Alliance to Achieve Zero Emissions Mining

On November 10, 2021, Newmont Corporation and Caterpillar Inc., both leaders in their fields, announced a strategic alliance focused on creating a fully connected, automated, zero carbon-emitting, end-to-end mining system. This collaboration will help make our mines safer and more productive while also supporting Newmont in reaching our greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets for 2030 and 2050.

By leveraging our combined expertise and scale, Newmont and Caterpillar will develop electric mining solutions, from concept to completion, that will fundamentally change our industry by showing the practicality and potential of zero emissions mining.

The alliance is a powerful demonstration of how industry can — and must — be a catalyst in creating solutions to meet the challenge of climate change. Newmont has committed an initial investment of $100 million to have this transformational technology in both our open pit and underground mines. The first goal is to introduce an automated haulage fleet of up to 16 vehicles at our Cripple Creek and Victor mine in Colorado; later, vehicles in the fleet will be fully electrified. Caterpillar will introduce its first battery-electric zero-emissions underground truck at our Tanami mine in Northern Territory, Australia.