"We will have the chance to move into the acceleration phase soon but only if we acknowledge, understand and can show we can successfully execute application of the range of technologies now available and those that are on their way," he told Mining Journal's Global Leadership Report.
"We cannot just introduce a new technology because it's fancy.
"We must demonstrate and communicate the benefit. To do that is not easy.
"You can have very new, advanced equipment but that is not necessarily a recipe for higher production and a modern workplace."
He said there needed to be closer collaboration within the industry and with external partners and said it was always easier to introduce new concepts to a new operation, rather than retrofit.
"Leaders also need to become more comfortable with risk as we move the industry forward," he added.
"There are plenty of examples of investment for little or no immediate return.
"Leaders must be able to assess the risk and also make sure all stakeholders understand the risk/reward scenario.
"As an industry, we need to carry on innovating and applying new concepts to our businesses, otherwise we will limit the value from transforming."
MMG expects to produce about 450,000-455,000 tonnes of copper and 250,000-270,000t of zinc this year from its operations in Australia, Peru and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
This article was based on the answer to one of four questions MMG CEO Geoffrey Gao was asked as part of his interview for Mining Journal's Global Leadership Report. The report focus this year was ‘The Workplace of the Future'. The research included open interviews with some 20 major mining executives and a survey of more than 500 industry professionals. The results will be released in late August.