• Tom Jordan

MTS and SRK Consulting Discuss Shared Vision of Intelligent Mining at MINEX 2018

MTS are delighted to be in Moscow attending MINEX 2018 - the largest mining industry platform in the CIS region.

This year and in partnership with SRK Consulting we were invited to outline our shared vision of Intelligent Mining.

What is Intelligent Mining?

This is more than just an empty slogan. Our vision of Intelligent Mining means understanding the difference between exactly what is happening on your mine, and exactly what should be happening on your mine.

To achieve this vision, your data needs to be translated into actionable information.

The Data Conundrum

Owing to improvements in uptake of mining technology, mines are now generating vast volumes of data at an exponentially increasing rate. This is not a challenge unique to our sector.

“Over the last two years alone 90 percent of the data in the world was generated”

Forbes, 2018

We’ve all heard the hype around Big Data, Cloud Analytics and the Digital Transformation. So this is pretty simple, right?

Not Exactly..

In our experience, most mines are still only using a small percentage of this huge resource to inform decision making.

To begin turning your data into knowledge, you must first understand what data you need, who needs it, when they need it and in what format.

This means that, broadly, you must understand your key drivers and associated timescales;

  • Which drivers impact your revenue, costs and production?

  • Which drivers are within your control now and who is responsible?

  • i.e., “real-time” drivers - controlled by operators and supervisors

  • Which drivers are longer term and who controls them?

  • i.e., systemic or procedural - driven by management.

  • What data do you need, when do you need it and how should it be presented?

  • For decision-making

  • For analysis of operational strategies.

You must understand and account for the potentially very different needs of each group of people who will be receiving the data;

  • Line personnel; Operators, Controllers, Supervisors and Managers

  • Technicians and Maintenance Planners

  • Systems Analysts, Engineers, Superintendents

An operator may need to see their individual performance versus a specific target or versus the other operators on their crew. A supervisor may need to see overall progress of everybody versus all targets on a shift. A maintenance planner doesn’t need to know that Crew A moved more tonnes to the mill than Crew C.

Similarly, the mine manager does not need to be bogged down in details, and may only look at high-level performance in a “Year to Date” format, with KPI’s averaged throughout the year against budget and forecast targets.

How do you present your data?

Data only becomes information if people can understand it.

There are many different options and you must decide upon the best way to communicate the knowledge contained within the data in a timely manner, without the risk of overload.

  • Tables or charts?

  • Totals and averages vs. trend charts and histograms?

  • Comparison of Plan vs. Actual or Theoretical vs. Actual?

  • Comparison vs. other units?

  • Ability to drill down into how much detail?

  • Timescales: rolling hour, current shift, previous shift, month to date or year to date?

Then you must access the data

There are a myriad of different systems involved in the day-to-day running of a mine, and these systems are not designed to talk to each other. Where do you start?

The solution: Unified data warehousing and Business Intelligence

An elegant, practical and robust solution is to use a combination of data warehousing and business intelligence to develop automatic scheduled reports, interactive dashboards, productivity and analysis tools.

We should stress that all of this can be accomplished using “off the shelf” tools such as SAP Business Objects, Tableau or MS Power BI.

To Summarise:

  1. Identify your priority areas of focus (including benchmarking!)

  2. Identify your data sources.

  3. Identify who needs to receive what and when.

  4. Implement a robust technical solution.

  5. Continuously re-evaluate and adjust as site priorities and challenges change.

One final bit of advice: Start small and grow in realistic steps!

Enjoy the journey!

#MiningTechnology #miningdigitalstrategy #mining40 #digitalroadmap #businessintelligence #miningefficiency

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