While all businesses should have a risk plan, the very nature of mining presents a unique set of problems and opportunities for consideration, according to Abinash Moharana of Eclipse Mining Technologies.
Whether an operation is contained in one location or spread throughout the world, strategic plans impact physical activity, which, again, impacts the strategic plan. The optimisation of this continuing cycle is imperative to success, Moharana says.
Even when physical operations are forced to shut down, data analysis and other planning must continue to meet revenue projections, and to prepare for physical operations to resume. This is increasingly relevant during today’s COVID-19-related lockdowns.
“In the event of a physical shut down, all existing plans become irrelevant,” Moharana, Technical Product Manager at Eclipse, says. “New plans are needed quickly. And the most significant risk (or opportunity) at this point, is the quality and timeliness of your data, and access to that data for employees working in remote locations.”
Eclipse’s SourceOne solution, which features a collaborative platform to connect data from different sources, and a datahub to store historical and contextual data, can help here. SourceOne renders this data serviceable for analytics and for adoption of tools, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.
The ability to create new reactive plans and multiple scenarios is imperative to surviving shutdown events, Moharana says. “And, doing so accurately may provide an opportunity to emerge on the other side even stronger than before so that when physical operations resume, you can jump right into it without wasting time or resources.”
Moharana added: “To achieve this, you must turn your biggest risk into opportunity using high-quality data that is easily accessible with real-time updates. And SourceOne can make this happen for you.”
As a mine platform designed with multi-users in mind, SourceOne is made to host multiple remote users.
It accommodates concurrent on and off-site users, while also handling off-line users with automated merges to a clean state, according to Moharana. “A geographically disparate team can work seamlessly together, transfer data and messages as part of a workflow, always be able to work with the latest data, and know the genesis of each data.”
Moharana explained: “With all the existing mine plans rendered redundant, the mine planning engineers can start working on new mine plans with updated assumptions and requirements. The requirements may have changed, such as volume becoming an immediate priority, rather than profitability, to be able to supply the end user. While doing this, the goal is also to not deviate too far from the strategic plan.
“SourceOne maintains the complete history of each project and data. Historical plans can be used to generate the differentials between the existing plans and the strategic plans. These can be weighed against the new goals, and a sub-optimal plan with smaller recovered metal may be considered as it does not stray too far from the strategic plan.”
With so many plans being made, the chances of errors magnify, as does the need to be able to audit the results with an internal or external auditor.
SourceOne maintains a complete audit trail of the entire project, so every plan can be traced back to the assumptions that were used at each step, according to Moharana. This speeds up the process to validate the suitability of the plan to be implemented in the field.
Mine planners must realise that for their corporate management, there is a big difference between risk and uncertainty, Moharana says. Risk is something that can be measured, while uncertainty cannot. The difference lies in measurable information.
“A good Business Continuity Plan (BCP) for mine plans allows the enterprise to convert some of these inherent uncertainties into calculated risks, which then can be properly weighted by the management,” Moharana said.
Mining personnel may think that the COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented event, but they need to be prepared for such a unique occurrence, according to Moharana.
“This preparedness allows mines to better manage the risk by being able to make mine planning a part of your BCP and ensuring that the mine is well prepared for any disruption, rare or not.
“De-risking the mine planning process is one of the many ways SourceOne can help your organisation become more resilient and be prepared for ordinary (and extraordinary) events.”