4IR progressing in African mining

26th January 2024 By: Sabrina Jardim - Creamer Media Online Writer

4IR progressing  in African mining

SHAPING MINDS Immersive Technologies will share its experiences in implementing simulation and digital training in African mining, as well as the latest developments in blended learning and application of data analytics in creating targeted, personalised training curricula

With Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies and systems becoming more prevalent in African mining, mining equipment simulator provider Immersive Technologies is focusing on digitisation and 4IR at this year’s Investing in African Mining Indaba.

The company aims to share its latest developments regarding blended learning and the application of data analytics in creating targeted, personalised training curricula at the event.

The company will also provide updates regarding advancements made on its Operator Performance Analytics solutions, showcasing the intersection of operator training with machine reliability and performance data in pursuit of “real results”.

Operator Performance Analytics provides site stakeholders with data about operator performance variability, and also provides a training needs analysis, explains Immersive Technologies Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Commonwealth of Independent States regional VP Johan Stemmet.

Meanwhile, “real results” – measurable in relation to safety, performance and productivity – provide a demonstrable impact of such analytics on mining operations.

Stemmet says that Immersive Technologies’ simulators and digital media solutions are “inherently disruptive” – thereby aligning with this year’s Mining Indaba theme of 'Embracing the power of positive disruption: A bold new future for African mining' – and can be integrated into a mine’s training activities.

“We have multiple focal points for the Mining Indaba, including environmental, social and corporate governance, with a particular focus on community impact, as well as the attainment of net-zero emissions, health and safety, digitalisation and 4IR, in addition to diversity, equity and inclusion.

“Immersive Technologies’ digital solutions have helped mining organisations share the activities that occur at their mine sites in a safe, engaging and immersive manner.”

He adds that through virtual reality (VR) and touchscreen technology, for example, community members can experience the different activities taking place at a mine from up close, and at any time of the day.

This helps to build knowledge and a shared understanding of the value contributions that a mine adds to a community, while showcasing different employment roles available for future talent.

“These digital tools, together with our simulator solutions, support the identification and development of populations historically excluded from the mining value chain.”

Stemmet cites the company’s mobile simulator, in the Northern Cape, as an example of its having connected companies with female operators, “thereby supporting diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Immersive Technologies’ simulator solutions thus also play a key role in training mine equipment operators.

Skills developed for operating practices and optimisation in a simulator translate into measurable real-world results, such as increasing equipment’s tyre life by up to 20%, reducing fuel use by 7% and improving maintenance metrics.

Health and Safety

While the attainment of measurable results is critical, Stemmet points out that pursuing them has to be undertaken without compromising health and safety.

Hence, the Mining Indaba will provide Immersive Technologies an opportunity to share its focus on developing digital solutions in VR, simulators and electronic learning that ensure equipment operators can practice safe work behaviours in a controlled environment.

This includes solutions that train appropriate responses to emergency alarms in machines and dangerous working conditions, working at heights, identifying and correcting workplace hazards, and correct personal protective equipment use.

The company will have VR and touchscreen technology on display at the Indaba for visitors to experience its work in relation to community engagement.

The company will also showcase its work regarding sustainability and maintenance, and in helping mines to adopt new technology.

“Our relentless focus on generating ‘real results’ means that we have had to develop deep skills in data analytics and integration, as well as performance reporting.

“Importantly, while we have a solution – Operator Performance Analytics – that plays a key role here, together with an impressive advisory team, our role is to empower our customers to use their digital reporting tools more effectively and efficiently,” says Stemmet.