The Asia Miner

OCT-DEC 2017

The ASIA Miner - Reporting Important Issues to Mining Companies in the Asia Pacific Region

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10 | ASIA Miner | Volume 14 • Issue 4 | 2017 He says the concept is about providing solutions for each oper- ation as every mine is different. "However it is not about rebuilding it from scratch - it is all about having a big bunch of building blocks that can be assembled to suit different applications. "We have an 'ecosystem' and various bits can be plugged in. For example, a data science team might come along and say they have an algorithm for optimising conveyors. We can just plug this into our ecosystem rather than it being another technology that sits outside everything else. "This enables us to partner with other METS community mem- bers. We have signed up a few already and are negotiating globally with about 15 others." He says the process of getting technology to market can be time consuming as well as costly, particularly where collaboration is nec- essary, and it usually is. "If the cost of collaborating is $50,000 for each party, with three parties the cost is $100,000 for each party for a total of $300,000, but if you add a fourth party, the total to work together becomes $600,000. "Rather than costly mini-to-mini relationships, the GE ecosystem provides a large model with a common framework and common set of standards that smaller METS companies can simply plug into with their innovation." Protecting IP is another benefit of GE's system. "METS companies can put their IP into our 'ecosystem box' – we can't see it and the customer can't see it, so the algorithms, the 'special secret sauce', are completely protected. "We are big enough to be able to control that ecosystem and the benefits are productivity, safety and security. You need someone big enough to control the ecosystem and set the rules for how ev- eryone plays together in the sandpit." Safer outcomes This shift to digital enablement also has significant impacts on safe- ty. The safety culture being enabled includes: • Asset performance management - moving maintenance from unplanned in the field to planned outage or workshop activity reduces the potential for safety incidents. • Agile planning and precision execution - well planned work ex- ecuted precisely results in people being where they are sup- posed to be and doing what they are supposed to be in a safe manner. • Operational technology (OT) cyber security protects assets, process and people from accidental and intentional sabotage. • Operations optimisation - Optimised operations eliminate non-value add work in operations and reduces the number of people exposed to safety risks. A step-change Ian Larsen says the digital transformation has potential to take min- ing out of the dark ages and into the new millennium. "There has been very little innovation in the industry for 50 years. If you look at a mine truck today - it may have more sensors and a little more so- phistication but it is the same shape as 40 years ago with six wheels and a dump truck body that looks the same - nothing substantial has changed except the size. " By collaborating and partnering through digitalisation, we can en- sure that mining and METS continue to innovate and grow – and that, in turn, will help secure the industry's economic prosperity into the future. "Advancements in these areas are changing at such a rap- id rate that companies are constantly looking at what will give them the edge. Suppliers in consultation with their customers are striving to better integrate these technologies and there is truly limitless possibilities of where these advancements will take the sector," he adds. Existing mining models combined with economic realities are largely unsustainable.

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