The ‘digital mine’ looks at how organisations can leverage digital technologies to positively impact operations and create added value.
According to Deloitte, there are five key features in the core operational processes of the “digital mine”:
1. Automation and remote operation
The majors have shown how autonomous mining equipment (including drills, trucks and trains) and remote operations can improve safety, productivity, and reduce cost in large scale operations. Whilst automation may not be feasible for smaller players’ existing operations, they should consider it as an option for new mines, leveraging the capability and investment being made by many of the equipment manufacturers and service providers.
2. Real-time data capture
Advances in Internet of Things (IoT) technology are enabling a connected network of low cost, highly capable sensors to capture data in real time, to enable integrated planning, control and decision support. These capabilitiesdo not require major investment, and are increasingly being bundled into the offerings of the equipment manufacturers and service providers.
3. Digital twins – Digitised geological, engineering and asset data
A digital model of the physical environment, constructed using geological, engineering and asset information, can be continuously updated with data from sensors and location-aware mobile devices. This enables better planning, prediction, and simulation of future outcomes.This doesn’t have to cover all operations and assets, it can be focused where the potential value is greatest, and should be considered in the planning and design of new operations.
As the capability of un-manned drones improves and their cost continues to reduce, they can be used for data collection, inspection, stock control, condition and safety monitoring.
Similar advances in wearable technologies make them worthy of consideration for field maintenance and real-time machine inspection instructions, improving operator-based care and safety.
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