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OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT


A digital transformation could revolutionise operations


OPPORTUNITY A


NETWORKING James Trevelyan explores the huge potential of the connected mine of the future


s the global mining industry navigates a period of huge uncertainty due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many companies


are turning to technology. With 75 %, according to McKinsey and Company, admitting there has been a signifi cant impact on their operations, it is no wonder almost half of all budgets were slashed in 2020 and that productivity worldwide fell by around 42%. T is relentless pressure has put an increased emphasis on the need for digital transformation capable of delivering reduced downtime, greater effi ciency and improved safety. T is is where the concept of the Connected Mine could revolutionise operations and put the power back into the hands of managers. T e mining sector


Virtual reality meets mining


has long been known for its volatile nature, but with the aid of innovation, it has been made possible to provide some form of predictability.


A DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION When it comes to the Connected Mine, it is the connections that provide the best value through a range of Internet of T ings (IoT) devices, which can produce an in-depth insight of workers, equipment and processes. Linking together people on the ground with managers at global or regional control centres, physical devices and software, the Connected Mine means sites can be run with less highly qualifi ed personnel and yield a greater return on investment in the long-term.


From automated vehicles to sensors


providing real-time information from the fi eld, the Connected Mine works by using several diff erent solutions such as IoT, radio local area networks (LANs), on-site wide-area networks (WANs) and VSAT connectivity. Not only is quality of life improved for workers with access to the outside world for entertainment and catch- up time with their family and friends, but the Connected Mine also provides essential online support and a deep insight for managers with data gathered from every application. As the pressure to maintain productivity and minimise operating costs grow, some businesses are already turning to technology, with the global mining automation market expected to grow by 7.3% CAGR by 2025. With economic benefi ts of US$370


billion over the next fi ve years, it is critical that enterprises adopt new technology in their operations to avoid being left behind. T ose that fail to embrace it will face continued ineffi ciencies and high costs, whilst the price of ore and yields continues to fall. T erefore, the Connected Mine has become vitally important; providing the breakthrough needed to launch operators forward for success.


SMART NETWORKING However, this concept relies on the ability to have reliable, high-performance connectivity, which is not always possible in the remote locations where mines are often located. Without this requirement,


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