Digitalization Set to Shake Up Mining Industry: DatamineWed, 02/12/2020 - 13:54
Mining has long been at the back of the line when it comes to industries welcoming new technologies. This is set to change, Jaime Gabarró and Paolo Martins, Senior Business Development Consultant and Regional Director South America at the world’s leading mining software provider, Datamine, told the Mexico Mining Forum 2020 audience at the Sheraton Maria Isabel hotel in Mexico City on Wednesday.
Jaime Gabarró opened his presentation by explaining that how most mining companies perceive technology and digitalization in business is not how it plays out in practice. While the idea of technology commonly conjures up ideas of applications like Waze and Uber, there is little understanding of the process behind building such insightful platforms. “These are technologies that we can interact immediately with, and which display data in real time,” explained Gabarró. “But to achieve this, a base of data needs to be built.”
Companies in Latin America have traditionally built databases and solutions for their use in-house. But this solution is unsustainable as only few people have the specialist knowledge required and employees come and go. Additionally, this route poses a problem of simple exchange of data throughout the company to deliver integrated, wide-view data insights, Gaborró explained.
The problems that mining’s existing digital landscape poses are the laboriousness of data collection, the disjointed connection of information across multiple systems – sometimes within one company – and the reduced value that extracting that data therefore offers.
Digitalization, and the use of digital twins, can help resolve this issue. Digitalization integrates separate data strands to help identify themes from historical trends, to offer real-time sensor data to drive short interval control in execution of plans, and to derive future insights with AI tools to predict outcomes across a mine’s supply chain, among other benefits.
But data must be converted into information before it can result in added value, said Gabarró. Digital twins, which can map the real landscape of a mining company’s inventory and tracking processes, provide this conversion. Financial and accounting processes, among many others, can be automated with clarity, and are fully auditable.
Digital twins can also be put to use in the mine itself, especially in the exploration stage. Datamine’s DataBlast software offers informational insights on the blast layout, charging and initiation design of a mine, can be integrated with Drill Navigational Systems and offers real-time field measurement, among other features. The company’s WipFrag software package, meanwhile, processes fragmentation analysis, can capture information from drones and offers on-stream analysis of truck tips and conveyors.
“The new technological platforms allow us to optimize and achieve greater control, stabilizing the operation that through the systems we can use and generate greater added value,” he said.
Datamine’s world-leading ability was outlined by Paolo Martins who explained that the company is part of the Canadian Constellation Group that includes 450 software companies among its members. “We are the only supplier that covers the entire mining chain. We are part of a group interested in investing in acquisitions of new products and solutions for the entire mining process in Mexico,” he said.