SOPs for Mining Industry

Mining, Quarrying, and Hydrocarbon Exploration

  Before getting into the operational technicalities, it is always worthwhile to revisit the basics once. Mining, quarrying, and hydrocarbon (oil and gas) exploration are three different sectors. Mining is the process by which naturally-formed materials are extracted from the earth. These materials include gold, iron ore, coal, lead, silver, lithium (also from salt deserts), etc. Quarrying involves extracting materials from the surface of the earth. Hydrocarbon exploration is associated with oil and gas reserves.

Global Concerns around Mining

Minerals and metals play an indispensable role in the world. Coal mining enables thermal-powered plants to generate electricity. Thermal energy is still the most-used technology to produce electricity. The batteries in mobile phones and EVs or the chipsets in any electronic device are made out of minerals extracted through mining. If the world runs out of these input metals and minerals, one after another every electronic device/chipset in the world will eventually go off. The amounts of natural resources are limited. The reserves are rapidly dwindling with rising consumption every year.

Much of today’s global geopolitical tensions have roots with access to natural resources. This is making countries take hard stances with damaging international relations. Situations like these take no time to translate into rising oil prices. If oil is too easy to pass the buck at, take a look at the availability of graphics cards used in computers and laptops. The prices of graphics cards have skyrocketed and the basic versions have disappeared from the markets.

Before the dependencies on mining could be drastically reduced, prudence in consumption of the natural resources has become a dire necessity for the inhabitants of the planet. Until such a stage is reached, efficient mining operation is the next best strategy at mankind’s disposal that could prevent the wastage of precious metals and minerals during their extraction, storage, and transportation. Preventing adverse impacts on the environment is another important prerogative in conducting mining operations.

Why SOPs for Mining Industry

Massive and Complex Projects

Mining is a long process comprising a series of complex operations. It is not another type of run-of-the-mill project. There are large investments involved going into wages and salaries, payment to contractors, purchase of heavy machinery and industrial automation solutions, CSR activities for relocation and rehabilitation, construction of roads and sometimes also railway lines, transportation, etc. Another sophisticated aspect of mining is that it involves significant regulatory control starting from land acquisition to addressing environmental concerns. Sometimes multiple government departments are simultaneously involved. There can also be a conflict of interest between them. Sometimes it can appear very late that certain activities cannot be carried out because there are laws prohibiting the same. Without the application of project and operations management, it is simply impossible to carry out any major mining project. And it is with SOPs that massive and complex project operations can be mapped and defined for smooth and guided execution.
Massive-and-Complex-Projects-( SOPs for Mining Industry )
Exploration-( SOPs for Mining Industry )


The first activity in a mining project is exploring and assessing the geological characteristics of the target locations with the aim of finding irrefutable evidence for the presence of the targeted mineral deposits. Prominent activities involved include geological surface mapping, collecting and testing samples, conducting geophysical and geochemical measurements and examinations, stating the environmental impacts of mining, etc. Essentially, this stage involves logistical movements, physical surveys, diggings and drillings, the use of scientific tools and technologies, etc. First of all, there is a scientific flow of work that cannot be dodged. At every step, there are pre-established standards and criteria. The team involved is assigned tasks based on their expertise. Timing is yet another crucial element. For example, the tools and technologies must reach the site on time where the samples are to be examined. The entire stage can be treated as a project in itself. By developing SOPs for every process and operation, the following are a few important objectives to be achieved:

  • The entire exploration stage gets carried out in a planned and systematic manner
  • Surface mappings, sample collections, surveys and measurements, analysis and examinations, and other activities are executed as per the established methodologies
  • Functional coordination is flawless
  • KRAs and KPIs are well-understood by the teams and individual members
  • Timely availability of resources on the sites and offices
  • Unhindered logical movements of tools and machinery
  • Safety and security protocols are sternly followed
  • Adherence to timelines


The word ‘discovery’ sounds similar in meaning to ‘exploration’. In the context of mining, discovery is figuring out how to reach out to and mine the identified mineral reserves. Discovery takes place when the reserves are actually accessed. Exploration is only the process of making the geological assessments. This stage involves -site design and planning, identifying/defining the suitable mining strategies, tools and technologies to be used, project viability and timelines, safety parameters, manpower requirements, legal permissions, social-economic impact, etc.

The planning and decision-making involved in the discovery stage follow a pattern of systematic thinking. For example, in determining the suitable form of mining, many considerations are taken into account. These include safety, the viability of extraction, environmental impact, etc. Assessment of each factor further has a systematic evaluation process. Even in obtaining legal permissions, the entire operation could be streamlined and mapped in the form of SOPs. Or the process of procuring the requirements of the safety department could be timed to perfection using SOPs. Likewise, every operation involved in the discovery stage could be planned and arranged in a more systematic and organised manner using SOPs.

Discovery-( SOPs for Mining Industry )
Development-or-Construction-( SOPs for Mining Industry )

Development or Construction

In this phase, the infrastructure and facilities required for the mining operations are developed or constructed. This involves building/construction of site offices, warehouses, residential accommodations, garages, roads/railway lines, medical care facilities, mining sites, etc. This is the second most time-consuming and capital-intensive stage after production. It also involves the development/construction of infrastructure emanating from CSR related to relocation and rehabilitation of the dislocated population. Every activity in this stage is massive and a project organisation by itself. For example, building and managing warehouses where mined resources could be temporarily stored before transporting them out cannot be treated as a process. It is a mini organisation in itself with standard processes and operations like any other warehousing service provider company. Or the site medical care facilities are operated with the same standards of hospital administration applied elsewhere. This segmented approach for better management brings in process management and implementation of SOPs. Whether it is securing the safety of the miners, housekeeping for the residential accommodations or determining how leaves are granted to project employees, every operation could be defined and executed via SOPs.


Once the infrastructure is ready, resources are on standby, and the teams have arrived, the mining operations are set to be rolled out as per planning. Like manufacturing, production in mining also undergoes a series of sequential and interrelated processes and operations. SOPs play a vital role in mapping these processes and operations. For example, before a piece of equipment could be used, a checklist is prepared and verified. Sometimes the condition of the ground has to be checked to see if heavy machinery could move over it. The required teams have to be present on the site. The flow of work has to be maintained. For instance, it is the duty of the warehouse manager to inform the production manager about the status of storage capacities in the warehouses. If there is no space, production has to be halted. These inter-functional coordination activities become easier when SOPs are in place.
SOPs for Mining Industry

Reclamation or Closure

Closure and reclamation is the final stage of mining operations. The objective of this stage is to wrap up the mining operations in an environmentally friendly manner. The mining sites could also be for productive purposes like forestation, vegetation, development of natural parks, converting an open site into a water reserve, etc. Both private and government mining departments are subject to rules and regulations laid down by the appropriate authorities regarding reclamation and closure of mines. The idea behind proper closure is to protect public health and safety, eliminate negative environmental effects, remove wastes, explosives, and hazardous materials, preserve water quality, prevent land erosion, etc. Certain facilities like medical infrastructure, buildings and warehouses could be retained and developed for the local population.

This whole exercise of closure is a humongous process. It is not dismantling everything but a careful process in reverse. It cannot be done haphazardly. For example, an underground site cannot be filled with earth before every single piece of alien material is removed from it. Where will these no-longer materials go? How will it be checked if any undetonated explosive is there? Every department has a responsibility and role to play in the closure exercise. Closure processes and operations are defined and mapped like it was done for the opening activities at the beginning of the show. Now, it is not difficult to see how useful SOPs are in defining and mapping the entire closure exercise.


BPX is a management consulting brand specialising in professional SOP writing services. We have worked with 500+ clients from diversified industries. With over 12 years of experience in delivering SOP writing services, we are now expanding our presence across the globe. Qualified business process consultants and SOP writing consultants with pertinent experience and project exposure are engaged with us. BPX’s remote functionalities and flexible working systems enable access to the services of highly-skilled talents from all over the world. Supported by our robust feedback and reporting mechanism, we work in close coordination with our clients to deliver precise solutions.

To know more about our SOP writing services for mining projects, drop us a message and we shall reach out to you at the earliest.

Enquire Now