Achieving an Integrated Mining Operational Platform

According to an InfoBrief from IDC, successful enablement of the digital mine is only possible with an integrated mining operational platform. The InfoBrief, titled ‘Transforming the Core of Mining Operations,” understands that the challenges mining companies face are not new. Managing costs and variability, whilst optimizing resources, maximizing production and ensuring safety are all ongoing challenges for the mining industry. Today, technology and data can be used as an enabler to give companies a platform which will meet the demands of their operations in the next three to four years.

In terms of top business priorities, 62 percent of mining technology leaders want to streamline operations, 51 percent want to reduce operational risk and 57 percent want to improve operational excellence, according to the InfoBrief. To achieve these business priorities, companies need to focus on creating a platform that optimizes processes and most importantly, eliminates the rigid data silos that exist across the mining value chain. In the current environment, there are colossal amounts of data being produced every day that remain trapped within each department. To unlock the potential productivity and efficiency gains this data holds, requires it to be transfered across systems and departments seamlessly.

IDC predicts that “mining companies that focus on integrating silos, creating capabilities to enable data insights and instilling a culture that embraces change will deliver industry leading efficiency improvement of up to 20 percent by 2019.” Transforming these data silos into actionable insights hinges on leadership, information and operational changes. The first step requires the leadership team to prioritize a digital transformation. The ability to deliver on the promises of the digital mine, such as improved yield, equipment efficiency and safety then rests on how the data actually becomes actionable information.

This rests on the foundation of connected systems and information, which is achievable through the adoptions of industry automation standards, such as ISA-95. Once these standards are in place, a platform such as RPMGlobal’s Enterprise Planning Framework (EPF) can consume and exchange data from multiple sources across the mining value chain. This includes enterprise resource planning (ERP), business intelligence tools, mine planning, command and control fleet management systems (FMS).

Once the enterprise platform is in place, data can then transfer seamlessly, regardless of the vendor. This “plug and play” approach gives mining companies agility and flexibility as they can put a variety of solutions in place to best fit their mine’s needs.

IDC’s Infobrief states that “operating the mine as a system end to end is core to creating value at scale from digital mining operations. To achieve this data visibility, broad-based automation of equipment and processes and collaboration within the system are needed. A critical part of succeeding is to build operational metrics, culture and organizations that are collaborative and incentivized for the outcomes of the system as a whole.”

It is now clear that an integrated operational platform is key to taking advantage of all that the digital mining era has to offer. To find out more about what steps your company needs to take and what the term “digital mine” really means, check out IDC’s latest InfoBrief, available