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Digitization in Mining: 'Mining v4'.

What does digital transformation, or ‘digitisation’ mean in mining? And how is it underpinned by the ‘Industry 4.0’ concepts?

A lot is currently written, discussed, and presented regarding these topics by mining advisors, consultants, tech-companies and the like. Companies like Deloitte, with their brilliant Feb ’17 publication “The digital revolution - Mining starts to reinvent the future”, EY with the 2017 “The digital disconnect: problem or pathway”, SAP with a publication in 2016, “Value Creation in the Digital Mine – inspire and shape”, PWC 2017 with “We need to talk about the future of mining”, and the very relevant study published in 2013, of more than 15 years of case studies by CRC-ORE “Understanding Mine to Mill” reflect on the discourse of how mining can-, and is being re-invented.

MineRP, as an independent software vendor, was steered by client problems of non-integrated mining systems over the last 20 years. We had some fun with a client recently to simplify the message to executives and board members of what will change in mining, and came up with ‘Mining digitization in the context of Industry 4.0’ or ‘Mining v4’, to explain the transformation busy happening in Mining, and where the MineRP and partners solutions play.

Our message to mining is that ‘Mining v4’ is enabled through firstly vertical integration of mine technical systems (MTS) using the relation through spatial reference of all data elements, and secondly the horizontal integration to enterprise asset management-, supply chain- and other solutions and ERP systems. The use of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) concepts can then enrich and enable a whole new class of applications, value, and business models.

This required domain-, systems-, process- and application ‘unification’ steers MineRP’s investment into our patents, products, and partner network. Our enterprise solutions with MTS, Equipment and ERP partners, are built under the premise that every actionon the ore body must translate to a transaction in the enterprise systems, which we grouped into:

  • Unified Business Planning;

  • Unified Resource Management;

  • Unified Production Management; and

  • Unified Digital Orchestration.

These concepts are embedded in this Mining v4 framework, where we show the ‘revolution’ in Planning, Execution, Action, and the changes driving all other requirements from Time. For instance, are you already using automated workflow to run the processes of mining – from Mine Technical Systems into the ERP, and are you preparing for ‘digital instruct’, or do you still use ‘radio’ to marshal people, machines and material to their work places?

What do you think of this model, and our bold statements that most mining operations are still stuck in Mining v2?

(MineRP has a ‘Mining Value Skunkworks’ team, headed up by John Megannon, EVP Strategy. This framework comes mostly from his pen.)

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