Top tech trends set to disrupt global mining

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INNOVATION SHOWCASE IMARC provides a dedicated space for companies to share their knowledge and expertise with the broader industry to work towards a sustainable future for mining

28th January 2022


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Technology is shaping the mines of tomorrow, with software providers AspenTech and Dassault Systemès, and mining equipment manufacturer Epiroc, at the cutting-edge of the mining, engineering, technology and services (METS) sector, says the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) team.

The December press release notes that AspenTech exploits artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to deliver insights to enhance operational decision-making and accelerate digital transformation, while Dassault Systemès is creating digital ecosystems. Meanwhile, Epiroc is pioneering a suite of automotive and telematics solutions for exploration, surface and underground environments.

AspenTech, Dassault Systemès and Epiroc are part of a significant METS delegation at the IMARC event, which will be hosted from January 31 to February 2, 2022, at Melbourne Showgrounds, in Australia.

METS organisation Austmine CEO Christine Gibbs Stewart, a founding partner of IMARC, says that the trio of METS pioneers are also members of Austmine.

“Digital technologies have transformed the mining industry considerably in recent years, and this trend is only gaining pace.”

She adds that METS companies are discovering ways to be more agile and to disrupt the mining and resources sector for the better.

The Road Ahead for Driverless Trucks

Automation, digitalisation and electrification are shaping the ‘mine of tomorrow’, and METS companies are supporting the sector to do their jobs in a safe, sustainable and efficient way.

Epiroc automation and technology manager Rohan Anderson says, “t

he goal of automation is to increase mine productivity, and to improve mine safety, by increasing daily operational capacity and producing predictable data. Data management converts data into decision-making information, and signals deviations and opportunities to maximise the impact on process performance improvement area”.

Certiq, a sampling of the ground-breaking solutions offered by Epiroc, uses a global positioning system and on-board diagnostics to monitor cars, trucks and equipment. Miners BHP, Gold Fields and Roy Hill are some of the “big names” now deploying Epiroc’s solutions.

Rage Against Machine Learning?

Machine learning and predictive analytics are two disruptive technologies set to change the face of mining, according to AspenTech.

“Knowing your equipment really well means AspenTech’s predictive analytics enable clients to get early, accurate warnings of impending equipment failure. AspenTech’s predictive analytics increase throughput by decreasing unplanned downtime and improve safety by identifying potential risks well in advance,” says AspenTech senior sales account manager Tim Hopkins.

“AI and machine learning will continue to be a bigger part of the mining sector, but not at the expense of jobs. Some traditional roles may no longer be required, but AI and machine learning still require human input and will create a suite of new jobs,” explains Hopkins.

AspenTech’s Mtell is a prescriptive maintenance software, which deploys monitoring agents to pinpoint malfunctions early with precision, irrespective of the equipment or machinery.

It is powered by machine learning, which enables the monitoring agents to continuously learn about the performance of the equipment and its behaviour under different conditions.

Data is Power

The power of data and reviewing scenarios in real time means companies can assess how to manage waste reduction, mining plans, and tailing dams.

Consequently, Dassault Systemès is on a quest to discover the “holy grail of in situ leaching”, where mining operations extract the metal and leave the earth.

“Dassault Systemès uses real data to conduct simulations in real time. The data is collected to create a single source of truth, where the baseline assumptions mean something and simulations can run alongside real-time operations,” notes Dassault Systemès GEOVIA CEO Michelle Ash.

Dassault Systemès GEOVIA employs bespoke modelling and mining engineering software to produce a four-dimensional (4D) digital twin or simulated mine site. GEOVIA enables senior executives, survey teams and equipment operators, to see and touch the mine site.

“Platforms don’t need to be complicated or difficult to use to be useful. Creating a bespoke 4D twin enables our clients to really experience their site and to run different scenarios in real-time and see what the impact of that might be to the company.

Meeting of Mines

METS companies are designing solutions that continue to push the boundaries of the mining and resources sector. “The sector has always been an early adopter and METS companies are seeing their solutions embraced by a sector with a desire to become increasingly agile,” the IMARC team comments, with Dassault Systemès adding that “agility is king for the mining and resources sector”.

“The ability to look at what a company might do in a certain situation, whether it is deciding to mine based on the commodity prices going up or down, whether certain machinery is more efficient than others, or whether a certain acquisition makes sense, is incredibly valuable and means the company remains agile and won’t be left behind,” says Ash.

The IMARC team states that its event offers a sneak peek at the ‘mine of tomorrow’ and provides opportunities to share ideas essential to the mining sector.

“IMARC provides a dedicated space where the brightest and best can not only discuss their product, but how their innovation is changing the world,” adds Ash.

“It provides an excellent opportunity for companies to share their knowledge and expertise with the broader industry, as we work towards a sustainable future for mining,” Stewart says.

Automation, machine learning and simulated mines point to a “brave new world for the mining and resource sector”, the IMARC team concludes.

Edited by Nadine James
Features Deputy Editor



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