The research work herein details the findings in the investigation of factors that determine the success of implementing third-party recommendations in the South African mining industry context. The South African mining industry is characterised by a unique combination of challenges such as increasing production costs, sustainability pressures, aging mines, low adaption of new technologies, reverting to the old tried and tested methods and deteriorating productivity. This paper discusses these success factors by addressing three main areas namely, the role of consultants in formulating recommendations for process improvement, the context in which implementation is carried out, and the drivers for successful implementation of the consultant recommendations.
The research was conducted by carrying out an empirical study of the perspectives and experiences of mining industry professionals by means of semi-structured interviews with 15 respondents, identified using purposive and convenience sampling, who participated in the study. The respondents were drawn from two groups, consultants and mining company middle to senior management, and their perspectives, were consolidated into one set of findings. The survey instrument was an interview questioning guide developed by literature review and pilot interviews with industry experts. The interviews were followed by a qualitative analysis of the data using the MERIL-DE model and interactive systems framework (ISF).
An eight-component factors model, a guideline for developing key factors for successful implementation of consultant recommendations in different operations in the South African mining industry was developed by adapting the MERIL-DE model and ISF frameworks. The factor components are organisational structure, management, project leadership, performance management, stakeholder alignment, expected outcomes, client-consultant dynamics and risk management. The research has also given factors that enables business to make considerations of the far-reaching implications of decisions on sustainable mining, sustainable communities and sustainable resource depletion. This knowledge will enhance implementation of business solutions leading to business improvement and systems optimisation. It will also promote improved adaption of technological solutions and the evolution of innovative, self-improving mining operations in the South African mining industry.