Tag Archives: EY

EY addresses Americas mining and metals company needs with new Centre of Excellence

EY Canada has announced the launch of an EY Americas Mining and Metals Centre of Excellence that, it says, will offer companies across the Americas access to cutting-edge services and innovation-led solutions that meet the most pressing needs of mining and metals businesses, today and in the future.

“Post-COVID-19 investments in infrastructure, combined with demand to sustain the energy transition, will drive significant growth in the mining and metals sector over the next three to five years,” Theo Yameogo, EY Americas Mining and Metals Leader and the man leading the centre’s charge, said. “But capitalising on these opportunities is going to require a major pivot – and we want to be there to support companies as they navigate the path forward. While working cross-collaboratively with our colleagues in the Americas to combine our business and technical expertise with emerging technologies, the centre will ground us under one unified vision to help companies drive meaningful and long-term growth.”

Powered by EY wavespaceTM, the centre’s integrated, business-led and technology-enabled approach will, EY says, support the growth ambitions of mining and metals companies by focusing on four key areas:

  • Technical expertise: bringing advanced knowledge and understanding of the unique business landscape, including reserves and resources, mine planning and tailings management;
  • Digital transformation: connecting the dots to link investments to value realisation through strategic roadmaps, prioritisation of initiatives and disciplined execution;
  • Operations management: improving efficiency and productivity in operations through data-driven diagnostics, culture uplift and integrated planning and execution; and
  • Decarbonisation and ESG: supporting adoption of carbon footprint analytics, greater energy optimisation and increased health and safety.

Jad Shimaly, EY Canada Chairman and CEO, said: “The mining and metals industry is an integral part of our Canadian fabric, and is poised to be an increasing contributor to job and economic recovery moving forward.

“We’re excited the centre will allow us to play a role in enabling Canada’s journey in the energy transition, while supporting mining and metals companies as they look to develop innovative and sustainable solutions that deliver long-term value for stakeholders.”

The first Americas Mining and Metals Centre of Excellence will be hosted in Canada, with an additional location operating in Latin America later this year, according to the company.

IMDEX evaluates the mining industry’s emerging trends

IMDEX says its global footprint in key mining regions throughout the world gives it an important glimpse of the some of the emerging trends and challenges facing the sector, trends that were taking shape prior to the onset of COVID-19.

Leveraging technology, or, more specifically, the cloud, is one development the Australia-based company has noted in recent years.

“The global minerals industry has turned to technology to improve safety, enhance efficiencies and reduce the cost of exploration and extraction,” it said.

When people think about innovation, most minds turn to autonomous haulage or remote operations, but there is an enabler to this innovation, according to IMDEX: the cloud.

Companies, not least of which those in the mining services and resources sector, are utilising cloud platforms to store data remotely and retrieve it via the internet. Remote mining operations using an array of software, sensors and communications are becoming routine because of these systems, IMDEX says.

But the cloud also provides the opportunity to improve productivity.

IMDEX General Manager, Product Development, Dr Michelle Carey, said clients were increasingly wanting to use the cloud because it enabled them to get data faster and in real time.

“We refer to it as the single source of truth,” Dr Carey said. “Accurate, reliable data delivered in real time that can be seen simultaneously by many people, which then enables real-time decision making.

“It also means there are no issues about the chain of custody. Using the cloud gives clients the confidence that no-one has tampered with the data so they can make decisions based on data they trust.”

Business’ enormous appetite for the collection and storage of data is making these platforms increasingly popular, according to IMDEX. A decade ago, it would have been unthinkable that companies would be sharing computing and IT resources over the internet. “Today the cloud is a business imperative,” it said.

The resources sector, once satisfied its concerns regarding access and data security were met, have been quick to capitalise on cloud computing.

Cloud computing of course does have its downside (similar to any technology). To work properly, cloud systems require reliable internet access. That is increasingly becoming essential on even the most remote mine sites.

EY’s September 2019 poll of mining executives indicated that ensuring digital (and data) effectiveness continues to rank within the top risks for their respective organisations. EY also noted further that cloud-related investment will account for the largest share of technology spend (over the next two years) in more than 50% of companies.

IMDEX has been in the cloud for over 10 years and is renowned for its real-time, subsurface intelligence solutions with numerous sensors on the drill site, at the core farm and increasingly on the bench collecting high-quality data, it said.

These technologies can be connected to IMDEXHUB-IQ™ – a cloud-based web portal that collects, stores and provides critical operational data. This data is protected through a validated chain of custody and a secure database, accessible from any internet connection to smart phone, tablet or PC, according to IMDEX.

Social licence to operate

According to IMDEX, the notion of licence to operate is evolving, with society expecting more from organisations.

“Once, companies in the minerals and resources sector focused primarily on ensuring compliant operations,” IMDEX said. “Today, compliance is just ‘step-one’… the minimum standard.”

The company added: “External stakeholders are scrutinising companies more than ever; how an organisation is managing environmental responsibilities and the health and safety of their workforce. They are insisting on local content and strong community investment; ensuring there’s support for local indigenous communities and that a company is committed to addressing climate change.”

The effective management of these requirements ensures the community will have confidence in an organisation, granting their social licence because they trust the company.

Earning trust and confidence is seeing a shift in how organisations structure the management of community stakeholders, according to IMDEX.

IMDEX said it will include additional economic, environmental and social impacts of its activities in its 2020 annual report, with the aim of preparing a sustainability report in accordance with Global Reporting Initiative standards within three years.

Dr Carey said IMDEX already had a suite of products and services that supported the sustainable operation of mining industry stakeholders.

“Our technologies improve productivity by providing information that affects decisions throughout the life of the mine, but they also have sustainability and environmental benefits,” Dr Carey said.

“The technologies enable clients to understand material properties accurately at a finer scale, and in real-time, enabling them to mine with less waste and process ore more effectively.

“Improved precision in exploration, drilling programs and mining means a reduction in waste. Things like our Solids Removal Units and BOS tool means reducing the use of water during the drilling and the size of the footprint disturbed during drilling.”

Mine electrification hinged on reskilling, collaboration and mine design, EY says

A recent survey of miners and mining original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) has shown that electrification of mines offers a lot more than lower carbon emissions and improved worker benefits.

The survey, commissioned by EY and conducted by the Sustainable Minerals Institute at The University of Queensland (Australia) and The Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering at The University of British Columbia (Canada), deduced that reaping the full benefits of an electricity-powered mining future would require “reskilling, reaching out across sectors and rethinking the fundamentals of mine design”, EY said.

Paul Mitchell, EY Global Mining and Metals Leader, said the mining sector was on the verge of an electrification revolution, driven by significant cost reduction potential, lowered carbon emissions and improved worker health benefits.

“This is critically important, given the World Health Organisation has declared that diesel particulates now belong in the same deadly category as asbestos, arsenic and mustard gas,” he said.

Four key themes emerged from the survey, according to EY.

  • Electrified mines improve economics and strengthen licence to operate;
  • Collaboration will unlock better electrification solutions;
  • Mine design needs a rethink to build in optionality for future innovation, and;
  • Electrification needs different skills, and advances technology deployment.

EY explained these four in more detail:

“Demand for carbon reduction in the sector is inevitable, and electrification is one way to achieve it,” the company said. “Diesel engines cannot be replaced with carbon-generating electricity and therefore electrification needs to be accompanied with a move to renewable power.

“The survey finds that electrification reduces not only operational costs, but also up-front capital costs because it reduces the infrastructure needs of ventilation shafts in underground mines. More significantly, the reduction of diesel particulates results in improvement to worker health and safety.”

Partnerships and co-creation of solutions with OEMs, other mining companies and governments are needed to successfully integrate electrification in mines, according to EY.

“The survey finds that, in the case of electrification, miners are clear that they can’t go it alone. This is leading to a more open perspective around the role of suppliers as strategic partners, which expands the possibilities for miners to benefit through innovation, cost reduction and competitive advantage.”

Newmont Goldcorp has taken such an approach at its Borden gold project, in Ontario, Canada – partnering with Sandvik and MacLean Engineering on developing what it says will be the world’s first all-electric underground mine – while Nouveau Monde Graphite has built up a taskforce of its own to progress its plans for an all-electric open-pit graphite mine in Quebec, Canada.

In terms of mine design, decoupling mines from diesel is not an easy task. This is due to the diverse range of technical and financial challenges in mining various deposits.

EY said: “Getting full value out of electrification requires a thorough consideration and understanding of the technology road map, in parallel with the strategic plan for the mine. The survey highlights the need for a phased implementation with a flexible design that provides for technology improvements of the future.”

And, lastly, mine electrification will require different worker skills as it enables other advanced technologies, requiring less maintenance and human intervention, according to EY.

“Analysis of the survey findings reveals there will be increasing demand for data and digital literacy skills across all phases of the mining value chain, as the human-to-machine interface evolves and becomes more prevalent,” the company said. “In developing economies, this means challenging the assumption that a mine provides employment only for people doing physical labour.”

Mitchell added: “It is important to start thinking about building agility into mine design to leverage the potential benefits in asset flexibility, lower ventilation requirements and the human footprint.

“The future of electrification in mines requires a paradigm shift in thinking – from existing known and proven technologies to new emerging technologies. We must realise that the challenges of the sector can be solved faster by collaboration – and a robust strategy, underpinned by gaining the right capabilities and an agile approach, is critical.”

Technology revolution set to transform mining jobs in Australia: EY report

Innovation, people and skills combined with technological advances will deliver a more globally competitive minerals sector that delivers fulfilling careers in highly paid, high-skilled jobs, according to a report released by accountancy firm EY.

The release of EY’s Skills Map for the Future of Work – commissioned by the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) – provides a comprehensive examination of future skills and training and technology trends in the Australian minerals industry, according to the MCA.

The key findings by EY, according to MCA, include:

  • Seventy-seven per cent of jobs in Australia mining will be enhanced or redesigned due to technology within the next five years;
  • Productivity increases up to 23% can be achieved with the rollout of new technologies, costing more than A$35 billion ($25 billion);
  • An injection of A$5 billion to A$13 billion in workforce capability will be needed over the next decade to unlock future productivity gains, and;
  • Australia education and training systems need to be modernised to deliver higher certification and fit-for-purpose degrees.

“New technology and innovative practices will enhance the performance and productivity of 42% of Australian mining jobs, with a further 35% of occupations being redesigned and up-skilled leading to more valuable employment opportunities,” MCA said. “Automation will give the opportunity for reskilling into other areas.”

EY’s study also identified Australia’s education and training system needs to be modernised by offering improved course structures and enhanced movement between universities and the vocational education sectors, according to the MCA.

“Future university degrees will need to have a mix of the latest scientific, technical and trade skills along with soft skills including collaboration, team building, communication and creativity,” the council said.

“A decade-long investment by industry and government in general skills incorporating mathematics, data analytics, computing and change management will boost productivity in the minerals sector.”

Jobs that will be made future-ready through large investments will include metal fitters, machinists, building and engineering technical and experts in electronics and mechatronics, the MCA added. “For example, a shot-firer working on a drilling team will have the opportunity in Australia’s future minerals workforce to use drone technology to monitor automated rigs.”

The MCA said: “Australian mining will continue to take advantage of innovation, technology and new ways of working to create high-paying, high skilled jobs.”

The Skills Map includes two major reports: The Future of Work: the Changing Skills Landscape for Miners and The Future of Work: The economic implications of technology and digital mining.

Annual EY mining business risks report ranks licence to operate at top

More than half (54%) of global mining companies rank licence to operate (LTO) as the biggest risk to their business, according to the 11th annual EY Top 10 business risks facing mining and metals in 2019-2020 report. The survey of more than 250 global mining executives sees LTO climb six places to first position amid rising nationalism, changing community perceptions of mining operations and the impact of automation on the workforce.

With the sector seeking to redefine its image as a sustainable and responsible source of the world’s minerals, the report cites rising societal expectations, the impact of advancing technology on stakeholders and a need for greater collaboration with all stakeholder groups as drivers for escalating risk.

Paul Mitchell, EY Global Mining & Metals Advisory Leader, says:  “Licence to operate has evolved beyond the narrow focus of societal and environmental issues. There are now increasing expectations of shared value outcomes from mining projects. Any misstep can impact the ability to access capital or even result in a complete loss of license – particularly in light of the increased use of social media, which makes potentially negative publicity more globally visible than ever. Miners need to take responsibility for helping to overhaul the image of the industry by communicating the value they are adding to local communities and economies, and by working to ensure that key stakeholders are taken along on the journey.”

Last year’s top risk, “Digital effectiveness,” falls one position to second place in the 2019-2020 ranking. The implementation of digital remains a key challenge to the sector. While miners are making significant strides in applying digital solutions to single issues, the findings indicate that they are failing to do so across the whole value chain. Indeed, 72% of respondents say they are investing 5% or less of their budgets on digital. Meanwhile, a recent EY poll of more than 600 mining and metals executives, found that 37% of management have little or no knowledge of the digital landscape.

Mitchell says: “The stark reality is that digital is the key to achieving sustainable productivity and margin improvement for mining businesses. It is, therefore, not the time to stand still in an age of turbocharged business transformation that is largely driven by digital. To respond to disruption across the sector, businesses need to adopt an end-to-end digital program.”

Disruption is a new entrant to the report ranking, entering at eighth position. With automation already disrupting workforces, and 31% of respondents stating that technology companies have the potential to play a more dominate role in the sector, disruption is pervasive throughout this year’s top 10 risks.

Mitchell says: “We are now in an era of constant disruption, and it is coming from unexpected places. Instead of seeing it as a threat, mining businesses should see it as a great opportunity to innovate, collaborate, evolve and thrive. If dominant players respond slowly or ineffectively to sector and external changes, market leadership could be lost as newer participants such as technology companies and sovereign states make inroads.”