4th August 2020

Why mining companies need Digital Transformation, and how they can do it

Image: Author
Image: Author

Why

There are few industries in the world readier or more in need of Digital Transformation than the minerals and mining companies. Challenging markets and volatile conditions, fluctuating commodity prices and uncertainty, there is little a mining company can do to control every factor that may impact it. However, there is one thing they can control, their IT, business intelligence and the optimization of their digital footprint.

Taking 24 hours to generate a daily operation and/or production report means the company is losing 24 hours before making a decision. In a situation of Health, Safety and Environment (HSE), it might already be too late to make a decision that could save a life and/or avoiding Lost Time Injuries (LTI).

In fact, the need for Digital Transformation has become such an important issue to these companies that it might be classified as a business imperative. That is to mean, a necessity to survive the worsening conditions our world faces.

By making use of digital tools, mining companies will be better placed to seize potential opportunities moving forward. The ability to leverage the business intelligence presented by these tools will allow any IT savvy operator to act quickly and concisely with the most up-to-date and accurate information available.

How

By embracing digital transformation, they open new doorways to increased levels of performance and optimization of value and costs. A variety of factors play into this topic, and the management of such is not an easy one. But using the latest IT solutions, there stands a chance to truly understand every aspect of a minerals company, right down to the smallest detail.

One of the greatest and most ground-breaking advancements of recent years that are intricately important to mining companies is the invention of the Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine Learning platforms. By making use of these platforms, a mining company may feed data from every aspect of its operations directly back to the board room. With all information, able to be fed back to central hubs for processing, reporting and analysis, mining companies will never have to worry about missing an opportunity of increased value nor improved business models, due to lack of accurate information.

This kind of IoT and Machine Learning integration will affect every aspect of the industry. From fuel and electricity consumption, fleet management, dispatch, sensors on the ground, supply chain optimization or reporting all the way up to the executive level. Dynamic planning, scheduling, dynamic dispatch, productivity improvements, blending, inventory orders and market economics. Every aspect of the data being fed into or out of the company’s primary IoT servers can be logged, accounted for, understood and analyzed with the help of machine learning. This is the truth of business intelligence gathering.

Never has such an unprecedented level of access to information and accurate reporting services been available. By making the connections and understanding the data presented by this intricate web of IoT applications, there is no longer an excuse for not fully optimizing a company’s operations, finances or administration. This will reduce wasted spend, lost time, miscommunication and more. This is the true value investment for any mining business that takes its costs seriously.

In conclusion

The continued Digital Transformation in the mining industry will occur. There is little that stands in the way of this overwhelming value and progressive return on investment that will go into improving processes and business models by applying technology to them. Mining companies that do not embrace the Digital transformation will be left behind. It is only those who take full advantage of what is on offer who will remain sustainable, survive and thrive in future market conditions, with added competitive advantage, no matter how volatile the markets.

Therefore, I strongly believe that now is the right time to embrace #DigitalTransformation.

 

By Christopher Simusokwe