Digital mining technology is the name of the game as the African mining industry moves toward ever greater efficiency to optimise production within deep and narrow reefs, according to digital mining technology provider Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology. The mining industry and visitors to this year’s Investing in African Mining Indaba can get first-hand information by speaking to Sandvik experts at the event.
Sandvik states that it views the event as an important interface between suppliers and customers.
The company highlights that driving digital mining technology is automation. Southern Africa sales VP Simon Andrews says, access to real-time data allows mining companies to detect trends, improve performance and enhance maintenance of mining machinery. Working machines efficiently will also enhance profitability helping mines to save on costs.
The company holds that mine automation leads to improved productivity and safety for miners, not only for the company’s employees but especially customers’ employees. Sandvik has researched the use of automation and digital technology with its clients across Africa and found that digitalisation and technology are not difficult to implement and maintain. Andrews stressed that automation results in upskilling of jobs and new skills being learnt.
Further, he states that automation can be looked at as a form of job creation as it allows mining to go into areas that were previously regarded as unsafe, uneconomic or both. Sandvik Mining and Construction Zambia Central Africa sales VP Daniel Banister agrees, adding that people are a company’s greatest asset.
“Automation and digitalisation will improve safety of the operators at the mine face as the aim is to remove people from the face and to improve safety and eliminate operator exposure to the tough underground environment,” Banister says.
The company’s automation services are an important part of its offering on show at this year’s event. The company’s stall will be at exhibitor Stand 104 near the venue’s Entrance 2 and will demonstrate all product divisions within Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology. Its offerings include AutoMine equipment automation and tele-operations
systems as well as the OptiMine information management systems for surface and underground mining applications.
AutoMine offers solutions to companies that want to automate parts of, or entire mining operations. An example would be the tele-remote or autonomous operation of a single piece of equipment such as a loader or the underground autonomous operation of entire fleets of trucks. AutoMine even extends to drill rig surface operations.
Information systems such as Sandvik’s proprietary OptiMine provide miners with tools to more effectively manage their operations. Customers can choose from several digital modules, including a module providing a three-dimensional model of an entire mine, a module representing the visualisation of long hole drilling and rock support, a graphic scheduling and resource allocation tool, a module giving real time location data for machines and equipment and a module which updates equipment information automatically in real-time.
“Sandvik has seen digitalisation and automation with existing customers as ‘business critical’. A new generation of mining engineers and managers are comfortable with new technology, having been brought up with smartphones and other related technology,” says Sandvik Mining and Construction Ghana West Africa VP Nuhu Salifu.
The company concludes that it has a wealth of mining experience that allows it to add value to the operations of its clients and to partner with them to serve the mining industry going forward.