Tag Archives: Accenture

Accenture expands operational technology expertise with True North Solutions buy

Accenture has acquired True North Solutions, a provider of industrial engineering solutions headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, in a deal that provides it further exposure to the oil and gas and mining industries.

True North Solutions expands Accenture’s expertise in operational technology (OT) in these sectors. OT is the hardware and software systems with which companies run and control physical equipment and facilities, such as pipelines, refineries, plants and mines.

Accenture will help clients better connect their OT to their enterprise IT systems, for example, to optimise the output and safety of existing equipment and facilities through real-time data analytics, it says. Accenture says it will also work with the True North Solutions team to engineer and commission new field operations and facilities where OT and IT are seamlessly integrated and processes are digitized from the start.

“True North Solutions brings boots-on-the-ground understanding of how to design, build and commission our clients’ critical assets and infrastructure,” Adam Foster, Accenture Canada’s Energy Portfolio leader, said. “We are combining True North Solutions’ unique expertise with our advanced digital capabilities, such as digital thread, predictive maintenance and intelligent asset management, to improve the performance and safety of our clients’ field operations.”

David Morgenstern, President of Accenture in Canada, said: “In welcoming True North Solutions to our Industry X and Resources team at Accenture, we will help our clients benefit from transformative technologies such as generative and predictive AI through digitally enabled field operations. Smart operations means greater productivity and predictability, helping clients operate with increased efficiency and safety, and we’re pleased to be advancing these capabilities in the industry and in Canada.”

Blair Hanel, CEO of True North Solutions, added: “By joining Accenture, we’re giving our clients in North America access to Accenture’s digital leadership in areas such as cloud, data and AI, and global scale, which will help them advance their businesses. Our teams will benefit from the opportunity to grow and deepen their careers in one of the world’s most innovative, inclusive and global organisations.”

True North Solutions’ services encompass engineering and commissioning, industrial automation solutions, enterprise asset management, OT cybersecurity and digital infrastructure for industrial telecommunications. It brings a team of 95 experts in automation, instrumentation and electrical engineering to Accenture, who will join the company’s digital engineering and manufacturing service, Industry X.

AIMEX 2023 conference to highlight tech innovation and decarbonisation importance

The conference program for Asia Pacific’s International Mining Exhibition (AIMEX), taking place at the Sydney Showgrounds from September 5-7, has just been released, with over 25 leaders from resources, minerals processing, METS and policy sectors set to feature at Australia’s longest-running mining event.

Each day of the three-day conference will address a specific theme. Day one covers decarbonisation in mining, one of the biggest topics for the industry currently. The opening day will have panel discussions featuring leaders from METS Ignited, Australian Hydrogen Council, ISN and the International Copper Association Australia.

John Fennell, CEO of the International Copper Association Australia, says the conference comes at a critical time for the resources sector.

He said: “The world’s move to electrification has compounded supply and demand issues across industry. There are key technologies that will help us to move forward with higher operational efficiency and lower emissions, but in order to implement these technologies industry-wide we need to talk about them as an industry first.”

Day two will cover technical innovation, with a keynote from Nathan Kirchner of Robotics Australia Group, plus panel discussions with academic experts from the University of Newcastle and UQ’s Sustainable Minerals Institute, and contributions from Accenture, CR Powered by Epiroc and Fleet Space Technologies.

The final day of the conference will focus on the hot-button topic of ESG, with speakers discussing renewable integration, the circular economy and leveraging technology.

Associate Professor, Liza Forbes, from UQ’s Sustainable Minerals Institute is speaking as part of two panels at the conference, and notes the importance of industry collaboration and conversation.

Dr Forbes said: “One of the biggest barriers to industry collaboration is that systemic incentives for academic work are often not in step with industry needs, resulting in siloed operations. It is vital for academic research to build and maintain industry relevance by staying abreast of the common problems that industry encounters and the solutions that are sought for such problems.

“By coming together at events like AIMEX, we open important channels for discussion and collaboration that work towards removing those knowledge silos.”

The conference runs alongside the AIMEX exhibition, where over 250 national and international exhibitors will be present. New features of the exhibition this year include the Transformative Technology Pavilion and the Decarbonisation Zone, further emphasising the importance of technology innovation and decarbonisation to the industry’s future.

AIMEX Exhibition Director, Samantha Martin, says this is no coincidence, and the focus reflects industry trends and attendee feedback across multiple events.

She said: “We aim to make our events both a gathering place for the industry at all points of the supply and value chain, and a launching pad to move industry discussions forward into a sustainable future. I’m excited about the conference program at this year’s AIMEX, with plenty of content for attendees from engineers to management, consultants, decision makers and suppliers.”

International Mining is a media sponsor of AIMEX. More information here.

GMG publishes new short interval control guideline

The Global Mining Guidelines Group (GMG) says it has published the Guideline for Implementing Short Interval Control (SIC) in Underground Mining Operations.

SIC is a structured system in which data from mining processes are periodically reviewed and action is taken in response to them, GMG explained. “This guideline provides a roadmap to increase the speed and likelihood of success during SIC implementation while avoiding common pitfalls.”

Specifically, the publication presents a conceptual model of what SIC could look like that includes an operational framework, detailed workflows, and an outline of data enablement at various levels of maturity, according to GMG.

SIC has only recently begun to be used in underground mining, although it has a long history in the manufacturing industry.

GMG said: “One challenge in implementing SIC is tailoring it to the operation at hand because underground mining conditions can be unpredictable, but the guideline offers mining stakeholders a base of knowledge of how it can be applied.”

Greg Sandblom, Operation and Business Technology Lead at Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations, a Glencore Company, says the guideline “can provide a valuable reference to mining companies during all phases of SIC deployments at existing mines or new mine projects”.

He continued: “It can effectively act as a checkpoint to validate that lessons learned and experience from leaders across the mining industry are applied to their implementations.”

Lisa Önnerlov, Development Engineer – Industrial Design at Boliden, said there was potential for the application of the guideline for those already using a SIC system.

“Even though we have been working with SIC for many years, we still have a lot to improve,” she said. “We face challenges like refining the overall coordination and to take advantage of new technological possibilities and make it useful in reality. We hope that this guideline will be a tool for both benchmarking and as a common reference in collaboration with other mining companies working with SIC.”

SIC has the potential to increase productivity and lower costs, according to GMG. As the practice becomes more common, it will, in turn, become increasingly accessible, according to Gordon Fellows, President of Fellows Mining and Digital Solutions.

“Achieving the greatest benefit from SIC comes from monitoring and controlling the shortest interval, but results are possible even at lower levels of maturity and at lower cost,” he said. “As technology evolves, it will make it simpler and less expensive to reach higher levels of maturity.”

One highlight of the process of developing the guideline, according to Liv Carroll, Senior Principal, Mining Transformation and Applied Intelligence at Accenture, has been the input from and cooperation between various stakeholders in the mining industry.

Carroll said there had been “effective collaboration between operators, service providers, consultants and technology specialists alongside the GMG team; our industry working as one for the benefit of all”.

She added: “In working together, we have drawn on a breadth of global and diverse experience to amalgamate leading practices into the guideline considering all levels of maturity and allowing for future evolution.”

Looking ahead, implementing SIC offers great potential for positive change in the industry because it facilitates better planning, quicker decisions, increased production, lower costs and creates a safer working environment, according to GMG.

GMG Chair, Michelle Ash, says: “I am very excited to see the publication of the SIC guideline because it is not only the culmination of a lot of work from many people, but also a fundamental building block for the transformation of our industry. I am looking forward to visiting mines post implementation and seeing the case studies that arise from their efforts.”

Future mining workforce set for substantial change by 2024, Accenture says

Miners must prepare their workforce today to meet the demands of tomorrow’s digital age, or risk future growth and innovation, according to Gaston Carrion, Talent and Organisation Lead for Accenture’s resources practice in Australia and New Zealand.

Carrion told delegates at the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) in Melbourne, Australia that, as the use of autonomous vehicles and other advanced technologies increases, the profile of the future mining workforce could change by up to 80% by 2024.

“The very concept of work is being redefined due to changing workforce demographics and rapid advancements in technology, and the Australian mining industry is no exception,” Carrion said.

He believes the future mining workforce will be highly connected, as people work in tandem with artificial intelligence (AI) to improve safety, productivity and profitability.

“Based on the current rate of technology adoption, the digital mine is no longer a pipe dream, so it’s crucial that miners review their attraction, development and retention talent approaches,” he said.

“Now, more than ever, mining and metals companies need to look at their future talent needs and establish workforce and technology strategies to ensure they have a robust and appropriately skilled supply of employees.”

Accenture’s recent Reworking the Revolution research further highlights the need for human-machine collaboration and reskilling, according to the company. It found 66% of Australian workers thought the share of roles requiring collaboration with AI would rise in the next three years and only 3% of CEOs planned to significantly increase investment in reskilling their workforce in the next three years.

Carrion outlined three key ways for mining companies to get ahead of the curve to foster this future workforce, centred around attraction, development and retention.

He explained that mining will need new skills in the future, from technologists and data scientists, to partnership managers and improvement specialists.

“Miners must reimagine talent attraction in a battle for the best and brightest. New talent pools should be established, both internal and external, with proactive sourcing key,” he said.

“Diversity should also be a priority for miners, and many companies have committed to fostering a more gender-balanced workforce. Ultimately, a diverse workforce is more engaged and productive, and will allow miners to navigate industry disruption far more effectively.”

Development will also be vital as a workforce strategy, in terms of reskilling programmes, career advancement and organisational culture.

Carrion said reskilling on digital, analytics, process improvement, remote operations and applications of AI is imperative, extending beyond employees and into contractors.

He also detailed the area of retention and stressed its importance, explaining that retention of high performers shouldn’t be an afterthought, and that new leadership can help refresh and empower the existing workforce to embrace innovation quickly.

The IMARC conference and exhibition, taking place this week in Melbourne, Victoria, is developed in collaboration with its founding partners the Victorian State Government of Australia, Austmine, AusIMM and Mines and Money.