Driving sustainable productivity & innovation
An interview with Manfred Schaffer, Mining President, FLSmidth
FLSmidth is today far more than just a supplier of mineral processing equipment, it is a life of mine full flowsheet partner, combining its project experience and breadth of solutions with its global services offering. This means both at an early stage and through the project lifetime. The company recently announced a five year Global Framework Agreement for fixed equipment with Rio Tinto; and discussions on various types of other partnerships are also ongoing with other Tier 1 miners. Miners are also realising to a greater extent that using the most capable OEMs to service and maintain their equipment translates to higher availability and higher uptime, and therefore higher productivity. Learnings can be better applied across a whole mining company portfolio.
These types of close collaborations also open the door to other benefits through even closer technology development and testing with the customer. Working direct with a major user can help speed up the process of bringing solutions to the wider market as they have been proven already. These in-depth partnerships also come with certain expectations in terms of KPIs but having big customers engaged with the development process also serves to reduce risk, as things are done in a staged manner meaning there are no suprises at the end of a project.
There is also greater openness today in mining to trying new innovations in what was a traditionally very conservative industry. A big part of this is a realisation that to address the big challenges that are already with us today, especially achieving real mining industry sustainability, then it is not enough to make mines and mineral process plants bigger and faster, the fundamentals have to also be looked at again.