Tag Archives: digitisation

OceanaGold to set GHG emission targets on its way to ‘net zero’ goal

OceanaGold has become the latest miner to make a climate change pledge, releasing a position statement on the subject that includes an emissions reduction goal to achieve net zero emissions from its operations by 2050.

Included within this position statement is a plan to decarbonise its electrical energy supply and mobile equipment fuel.

The goal is core to OceanaGold’s environmental management strategy to mitigate the risks associated with climate change, establish measures and targets to improve the efficiency of its energy use and to minimise its greenhouse gas (GHG) emission intensity, the company said.

Michael Holmes, President and CEO of OceanaGold said: “OceanaGold has been strongly committed to responsible mining for 30 years, and, with current emissions lower than global industry average, we are already on the journey to reduce our carbon footprint.

“OceanaGold fully supports the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. In line with this objective, we are setting a goal to achieve net zero GHG emissions from our operations by 2050, and we will establish milestone intensity targets (GHG emissions per ounce of gold produced) by 2022 to support this goal.”

Delivery of net zero carbon emissions production will rely on step changes from new and emerging technologies to decarbonise OceanaGold’s electricity supplies and mobile equipment use and incrementally improving energy use, efficiency and reducing energy consumption, the company said.

Since 2018, OceanaGold has been implementing a company-wide program of automation, digital and process transformation called ADaPT. This is helping define the company’s journey to operate the mines of the future, it said.

“Digital transformation presents an industry-wide opportunity to enhance performance and reduce impact,” Holmes said. “Successful implementation of the rapid advances in technology, innovation, automation, digitisation and electrification are central to achieving OceanaGold’s commitment to reduce our environmental impact.”

OceanaGold has established a roadmap of strategic actions to help reduce its carbon footprint and improve energy management, including:

  • Setting the goal to achieve net zero GHG emissions by 2050;
  • Establishing milestone interim emission targets by the end of 2021, linked to employment performance incentives;
  • Establishing a climate change Technical Coordinating Committee to identify opportunities to reduce GHG emission intensity and identify risks, opportunities, priorities and costs across OceanaGold; and
  • Undertaking climate change management and reporting to meet the requirements of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

Targets will be achieved through the implementation of four key strategic areas: improved energy efficiency and energy reduction; decarbonisation of electrical energy supply; decarbonisation of mobile equipment fuel; and carbon sequestration, the company said

eLearning on the up in South Africa mining sector, New Leaf Technologies says

A Johannesburg-headquartered learning software and solutions company that specialises in the mining sector has seen growing momentum among large miners in South Africa to move away from traditional facilitator-led, ‘classroom’-style training in favour of eLearning programs that reduce costs and increase productivity.

This evolution is coming at the same time as the country’s mining industry is facing pressure to cut costs, increase productivity and remain viable, “let alone operate profitably”, Mike Hanley, Managing Director of New Leaf Technologies, the company in question, says.

Figures for the country’s production released last week by Statistics South Africa paint a grim picture of the local mining industry, New Leaf said.

Production output for the June quarter shrank by 73.1%, the third most affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic, after construction at 76.6% and manufacturing at 74.91%. This was already coming off a relatively low base – six months ago, Statistics South Africa released data on the performance of mining for 2019, showing that production was 1.3% lower than the year before.

These pressures are one of the reasons for the upturn in demand for eLearning programs, which can reduce costs and increase productivity, according to the company.

One of South Africa’s largest and foremost black-empowered resource companies, and a leading coal producer, recently signed up as an eLearning client. The world’s second-largest metals and mining corporation, and an independent global organisation of engineers and scientists consulting to the natural-resource industries, have also gone down the eLearning route.

“Cost savings are a major benefit for mining companies embarking on eLearning for their employees, as it does away with having to fly in, accommodate and pay a daily rate for training facilitators, eliminates the need for other non-essential training personnel, and reduces the amount of off-the-job time employees need for training,” New Leaf says. “For companies with several operations scattered around the country (or the continent, or even the world), ongoing consistency is ensured, with entire workforces trained using the same content at the same level.”

The training content, which can be designed and sent out through a central point, is “entertaining and captivating”, which leaves a memorable impression on the employee, according to New Leaf. “And eLearning systems have also helped mining companies to streamline their types of training and address skills gaps: eLearning is a great way of tracking employee training progress, as well as their experiences of what’s been taught, which in turn means that gaps can be quickly and efficiently addressed,” it said.

Hanly noted: “While mining is a highly mechanical process, it’s also been heavily impacted by global digitisation.”

New, sophisticated technology is transforming mining operations, which means that existing skill sets are continually needing to advance, with drill operators, blast hole engineers, etc being affected.

“For South Africa’s mining labour force to remain competitive internationally, the industry has to address these needs,” New Leaf said.

An additional complication is that only 14% of miners have a “post-matric qualification”, according to data released by the Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA) in South Africa. The education level among the 460,000 employed in the sector is also compromising its ability to mine more efficiently, compared with other key markets like Australia, Brazil, Canada and Chile, New Leaf claims. The MQA’s sector skills plan, released in 2018, revealed skills shortages and experience exist too, including those of mining managers, mining planners, and mining and rock engineers.

“The quality of courseware and how it’s shared through eLearning can address many of these skills gaps, and retain staff rather than lose them,” Hanly says.

New Leaf’s courseware is adapted to address specific challenges, with the imperative being on the eLearning provider to ensure the material is captivating and engaging, as well as meeting the educational needs of employees from a variety of demographics.

“Instructional design is important as a means of holding trainees’ attention while explaining sometimes difficult concepts,” Hanly says.

For this reason, the course material is normally multimedia in nature, combining words and graphics, ensuring it is engaging, memorable and stimulating. A combination of 3D modelling and animation, along with virtual reality and augmented reality material, is being increasingly integrated with course content.

Hanly added: “Courseware needs to grab attention, but also must be aligned with the company’s needs. It must stimulate prior knowledge and build on current skills levels. It needs to present information in a storytelling format, which may often involve gamification and interactive video. And it should be guiding in nature too, providing support to learners who may grapple with difficult concepts. To break the monotony, allowing learners to provide feedback is also a great way to retain their interest, and measure effectiveness.”

The courseware, which can be designed and scaled according to a company’s needs, can also be updated on an internet-based Learning Management System (LMS) licensed to a mining company and accessed by employees anywhere in the world, or an LMS system can be set up on a company’s premises and accessed remotely, provided the employee has a reasonable internet connection.

Hanly concluded: “We believe it’s only a matter of time before mining in South Africa becomes a champion for eLearning progression in this country.”

FLSmidth’s Lindholm says miner investment in remote operations centre paying off

In a wide-ranging talk on digitisation at the 2019 SME Annual Conference & Expo in Denver, Colorado, Mikael Lindholm, Chief Digital Officer of FLSmidth, said the use of remote operations centres was providing returns to those mining companies employing them.

Lindholm said FLSmidth had seen an influx of remote operations centres “popping up” across the industry, he told delegates during his keynote presentation.

“It is unhealthy to go up in the mountains or in the pits in the mines,” he said. “Being in a city is much safer. The less people you have in the mine, the less injuries you will see.”

He added: “Most mines, today, have a central control unit, but we now see to a greater extent remote control centres outside of the mines.”

Referencing a recent visit to Codelco and its remote operations centre in Santiago, Lindholm said the state-owned copper miner was running two operations remotely from this location.

The centre had allowed Codelco to attract personnel in the Chile capital, in addition to being able to coordinate all activities from one location, he said.

“From there, they manage everything happening in the pit, to the process plant to the logistics,” he said.

By coordinating these activities and having all the people in the same room, Codelco is making significant savings, Lindholm said. “They are making savings of around $50 million annually from this – purely from coordinating activities.”

This evolution is part of a wider move in the industry to improve productivity, maintenance and safety.

Lindholm, quoting statistics from McKinsey, said by 2025, there will be yearly savings of around $250 billion around operations management – “to do with process optimisation and coordination” – $100 billion/y on equipment maintenance – “thanks to condition monitoring, predictive and prescriptive maintenance” – and $10 billon/y on safety.

Miners need to spell out future value drivers to survive, Deloitte says

In Deloitte’s Tracking the Trends 2019 report, the company has urged mining companies to clarify how they plan to drive value into the future how they intend to respond when prices inevitably drop again.

The report highlighted disruption and volatility as two key issues the mining sector is facing that made long-term planning and decision making more important.

“In this new world order, miners must go beyond communicating the value that they currently bring to communities and will need to articulate what they stand for by developing differentiated business models designed to drive long-term value,” Deloitte said in the report.

Deloitte’s ten trends to watch for 2019 included:

  • Rethinking mining strategy;
  • The frontier of analytics and artificial intelligence;
  • Managing risk in the digital era;
  • Digitising the supply chain;
  • Driving sustainable shared social outcomes;
  • Exploring the water-energy nexus;
  • Decoding capital projects;
  • Reimagining work, workers, and the workplace;
  • Operationalising diversity and inclusion programmes, and;
  • Demanding provenance.

On rethinking mining strategy, Deloitte said: “Mining companies have typically anchored their strategic planning on producing the highest volumes of ore at the lowest possible cost. However, in today’s environment, companies must take an ever-expanding range of issues into account when setting corporate strategy.

“Consumers, governments, and communities are becoming more vocal and irrevocably altering industry dynamics. As a result, corporate social responsibility initiatives are now morphing into stakeholder engagement programmes, and social license to operate is becoming a pivotal strategic issue that will either differentiate mining companies or derail them.

“Looking at these factors alone – consumer awareness, social license to operate, geographic risk, and access to input commodities – it becomes clear that mining companies must take an ever-expanding range of issues into account when setting corporate strategy if they hope to create competitive portfolios robust enough to generate value across multiple scenarios. This is especially critical as the industry shifts into a new stage of growth.”

On the frontier of analytics and artificial intelligence, Deloitte said: “Although mining companies are exploring and investing in analytics and AI, there is still a long way to go. Three horizons in AI are emerging and, to date, most organisations are working in Horizon One, where machine intelligence requires human assistance and interpretation.

“To move up the analytics maturity curve into Horizons Two and Three, organisations must answer progressively complex questions. The first is ‘what happened?’ The second is ‘why did those things happen?’, this allows organisations to identify the root causes.

“Only with this foundation in place can organisations answer the third question: “what will happen?” This is the key that empowers organisations to predict variability, mitigate emerging risks, and manage stakeholder expectations.”

On managing risk in the digital era, Deloitte said: “The current risk landscape is characterised by a host of issues such as mounting tariffs and sanctions, potential trade wars, cyber threats, uncertain tax and royalty regimes, rising input costs, heightened scrutiny from the investment community, environmental disasters, and infrastructure breakdowns.

“To stem this tide, mining companies must take their cue from organisations that take a more holistic view of risk. Increasingly, these leaders are moving towards the next generation of internal audit, Internal Audit 3.0.

“This approach should help mining companies address risk at an enterprise-wide level, rather than assessing isolated risks at the functional or mine site level and develop appropriate controls to both mitigate and manage the expanding array of risks they face.”

On digitising the supply chain, Deloitte said: “The mining supply chain is ripe for transformation, as supply chain improvements remain incremental instead of delivering innovations designed to optimise mining operations.

“To create a more interconnected and responsive supply chain, mining companies need to stop thinking in linear terms and imagine instead a circular system that we call the digital supply network.

“The ultimate goal is to leverage advanced algorithms, AI, and machine learning to turn data into insights that allow companies to reduce their capital expenditures, respond to changing project requirements quickly, and optimise mine planning to integrate real-time changes.”

On driving sustainable shared social outcomes, Deloitte said: “Until recently, mining companies’ social spend has been seen as a cost of compliance, rather than a way to deliver measurable and sustainable benefits to host countries and communities. If mining companies hope to drive different social outcomes, that dynamic has to change. A social enterprise is an organisation whose mission combines revenue growth and profit making with the need to respect and support its environment and stakeholder network.

“Finding value beyond compliance is no easy task. It requires miners to listen more closely to their constituents to determine what stakeholders truly want, and then to shift their operational processes in response.

“To deliver on the social breadth of these programmes, mining companies cannot work in isolation. Instead, they should look for opportunities to collaborate with other companies working in the region.”

On exploring the water-energy nexus, Deloitte said: “True value from energy management can only be derived by addressing the triple bottom line of social, environmental, and financial performance. This requires companies to approach energy management as an integrated corporate initiative.

“Yet energy isn’t the only input at risk. Mining companies must now contend with water scarcity as well as risks associated with excess rainfall, which can result in flooding.

“With a constant knowledge of how every drop of water is being used, and an understanding of all the parameters associated with its use, mining companies can manage water in the way they have begun to manage electricity, as a valuable resource.”

On decoding capital projects, Deloitte said: “Burdened by years of sub-par returns, cost overruns, and impairment charges, many mining companies opted to concentrate on maximising output from their existing operations rather than investing in new mine supply and exploration.

“This resulted in supply shortages for commodities such as copper, zinc, cobalt, lithium, and gold. But with the cycle turning, mining companies will need to engage in a wave of new capital projects to offset production declines and meet demand.

“To overcome these challenges, mining companies must build their maturity in five key areas: delivery models, data and technology, project controls, license to operate and collaboration.”

On reimagining work, workers, and the workplace, Deloitte said: “The mining industry is facing a changing talent landscape, with digitisation necessitating new skillsets, a massive generational shift when considering C-suite succession planning and a younger generation of workers who measure loyalty to an employer in months instead of years.

“To prepare for this imminent future, organisations need to clarify not only their business goals and aspirations, but also the role that their talent strategy should play to deliver on them.

“They will also need to identify the workers of the future by considering what the employee experience will look like, and the role that innovation will play in that experience. Finally, they must reconceive how employees will interact with each other and conduct their work, be it in a physical location or remotely.”

On operationalising diversity and inclusion programmes, Deloitte said: “The mining industry is not attracting sufficient numbers of diverse candidates and, to shift this balance, companies will not only need to change their talent attraction and retention policies, they will also need to change historical perceptions about the mining industry.

“Instead of approaching the issue by adopting point initiatives, they must design integrated programmes to tackle the challenge holistically. This extends into the area of talent retention, because when companies do attract women, they often struggle to retain them.

“In tandem with shifting the way they operate, mining companies must take steps to amend their public image. This starts with the image they portray on their reports and in their advertisements.”

And, finally, on demanding provenance, Deloitte said: “Rising demand for electric vehicles (EVs) is increasing demand for EV battery materials such as cobalt, lithium, graphite, and copper.

“However, socially-conscious consumers are now questioning the provenance of raw materials. As a result, downstream customers, such as automotive manufacturers and technology giants, are demanding ethically-sourced minerals.

“This is putting unprecedented pressure on mining companies to create a more transparent interface with their customers and driving the adoption of technologies such as blockchain to enhance the traceability of commodities.”

To download the full report, go to deloitte.com/trackingthetrends