By Viv Preston | Director
The current talk at many of the conferences I’ve been to this year is all about digital transformation, automation, analytics, robotics, artificial intelligence and so forth, and how our industry is lagging behind industries such as the automotive industry.
We are warned that the mining industry needs to embrace this digital technology otherwise our industry is doomed. We, as an industry, are currently behind the production curve, and we need to increase investment in the digital age to improve productivity.
Most of this digital transformation conversation and development is happening within a handful of major mining companies, and isolated cases in specific areas. These bigger companies are embracing and implementing digital transformation strategies but the medium to small companies are slow to embrace this transformation.
Much of digital transformation is seen as big-ticket items such as fleet management, improvements in processing, etc. The challenge for our industry is to get digital transformation to happen across a wider audience, especially in the small to medium section. There are a number of small, low cost, easy to implement technologies that companies can make that will help embrace digital transformation.
As strange as it may sound, many mining companies still manually load assay file. On the exploration side, there may be a need to review files prior to loading. However, there are many instances, such as in a mining environment, where automated loading and quality control of assay file would beneficial.
On a slightly larger scale, and over the past couple of years, Maxwell has embraced the concept of digital transformation and has applied it to the Drilling and Sampling Solution. Whether it’s an exploration programme or grade control drill out, we have developed a solution that enables this digital transformation.
We have focused on 4 aspects to achieve this:
- Automation: We have automated as many processes as much as possible. Transfer of data from the data capture application to the source is automated. We’ve automated the capture of drilling parameters to be integrated with other datasets such as geology.
- Integration: We’ve developed a solution that seamlessly integrates the drilling, geology and sampling information, into a single source allowing for improved insights into the business of running a drilling programme.
- Digitally enabled workers: The solution that allows everyone across the organisation to have access to the data. The system provides transparency. Geologists can get insight into integrated information. Financial can review with drilling costs in real time.
- Analytics and decision making: With integrated data, available in real time, analysis and decisions can be done quickly. All of which will allow for better technical insights into the business, as well as save time and money.
Digital transformation of the drilling and sampling process is happening now. Superior business benefits are achieved through the breakdown of data silos and integration of multi datasets. And it’s not expensive or difficult to implement.
So I ask you, how are you embracing technology in your business workflow?
How can you streamline your operations and reduce costs?