September 102019

Digital Mining – Future of India

It is becoming imperative for Indian mining companies to leverage technologies to improve process aligned to value. Lack of visibility, Lack of efficiency, Equipment performance i.e. TPH, Fuel consumption, availability & utilization, Scheduling & Blending, Operational planning, Fleet Management & Optimization Mine Data & Geological Data Management System, Equipment Maintenance and tracking, Cost Reduction of Production/Development forcing them to look for continuous improvement supported by digitization.

What if the original data was captured incorrectly, inconsistently or if that data had a very low confidence? Would you want to spend large sums of money trying to find patterns? The old adage of rubbish-in-rubbish-out hold as true today as ever. Capture data as automatically as you can in a process and add as much validation to that data to help it become Information.

Digital technologies allow mining companies to reach new levels of performance from mine to market, across whole mining chain.

Mining & ISA-95 –Framework for Digitalization:

ISA-95 is a standard technology architecture encompassing 4 levels from sensors to Business planning/ERP. Digital technology sits across the production chain at level-3 (Operation Management).

Data management remains critical in digitalization. As an operation moves toward Digitalization, there are many factors that need to be additionally considered.
  • Where are all the sources of information required for the business located, (Cloud, on-site).
  • How is information going to get from one system to the next (Push, pull of data)?
  • When is the information going to be shared between systems (Scheduled? /On Insert/Update/Delete?)
Companies Like Wenco helps to manage data and help mining companies to operate with wisdom.

Immediate Direct Benefit of Digital Mine:
  • Time Saving: Much quicker data checking, trends analysis, reports generation, giving business users time to do more valuable work than compiling data in excel.
  • Decision Making: Business to make their decisions based on reliable data, with less typing/interpretation/human error.
  • Traceability: Any data can now be traced back to its source, straight from the systems.
  • Reactivity: Daily data checks (facilitated by the use of the systems), allows business to react to a specific situation in a very short time, and thus avoid to find out a problem several days after it happened.
Future Indirect Benefits

Future Proof: Upgrading the systems for future expansion, new plant, new sites etc. will consist of a reconfiguration, and some tweaking, that is, limited costs, and minimum additional time and training from the users.

Additional reports (operations or management): may be built, as the data is now there and it is built on a robust, reliable, and already populated database.

Big Data – Not all data is required:

With the introduction of Big Data and concepts like IIOT, some companies are collecting data without a plan. Doing so creates digital noise.

When you want to move to Digital Mining, start with a plan of how information is going to be used. What decisions are to be made from this and how can this data: fix, accomplish or avoid a problem in your business. Capture data as automatically as you can in a process and add as much validation to that data to help it become Information.

How Indian Mining Companies looking at Digital Mine:

Slow, but definitely few trend setting companies like Tata Steel are following above concept and utilizing data to change their process. These companies will soon be integrating blast drill hole module with blast design module using High Precision Drill Systems. At the same time to get best ore quality will be using High Precision Excavator module. New custom software will be used to get desired ore data. Public Sector mining companies are lagging behind in adopting such technologies as their challenges are bigger. Few reasons are explained below:

Misunderstanding about the need for change/when the reason for the change is unclear — If staff do not understand the need for change you can expect resistance. Especially from those who strongly believe the current way of doing things works well…and has done for twenty years!

Fear of the unknown — One of the most common reasons for resistance is fear of the unknown. People will only take active steps toward the unknown if they genuinely believe – and perhaps more importantly, feel – that the risks of standing still are greater than those of moving forward in a new direction

Lack of competence — This is a fear people will seldom admit. But sometimes, change in organizations necessitates changes in skills, and some people will feel that they won’t be able to make the transition very well

Connected to the old way — If you ask people in an organization to do things in a new way, as rational as that new way may seem to you, you will be setting yourself up against all that hard wiring, all those emotional connections to those who taught your audience the old way – and that’s not trivial

Low trust — When people don’t believe that they, or the company, can competently manage the change there is likely to be resistance.

Ultimate goal of a mining company should be integrating plan into digitization strategy, measure automated digital information, compare plan to actual and make changes to plan to make improvements.