Tag Archives: fleet management

NRW to leverage MaxMine tech platform at Dalgaranga gold mine

NRW Holdings’ mining division has entered into an agreement with MaxMine to install its technology across the A$300 million ($216 million) Dalgaranga gold mine contract in Western Australia.

The MaxMine platform harnesses cutting-edge hardware, digital automation, advanced artificial intelligence-based analytics and human-powered coaching to empower mine sites to increase environmental efficiency and operationally productivity, according to the company.

NRW was seeking a mining technology provider who could provide reliable data-driven, automated optimisation of its operations on site, leveraging the existing teams and fleet to further its data and broader technology leadership ambition within the mining industry.

The Dalgaranga gold mine is owned by Gascoyne Resources. NRW reach agreements with Gascoyne to keep providing services at the mine back in 2020 after the miner’s successful A$125 million recapitalisation process.

NRW has invested in building out its internal data analytics capabilities and was ready to step up its approach to partnering with service providers that supply to industrial data quality and help solve big data analytics challenges, it said.

Additionally, a tight domestic labour market has increased operator turnover at all mine sites and is an especially challenging issue for the mining contracting segment.

MaxMine’s technology automatically captures, enhances and contextualises up to 10,000 times more data at open-pit mining operations, relative to the industry standard fleet management system products, according to the company. Its data processing pipelines automatically contextualise all equipment, operator, and site data relative to each other, and dynamically to the conditions within the shift, such as weather, or other external factors.

This contextualised site data (a digital twin) is translated, in tandem with implementation coaching, to generate tangible increases in asset productivity and reliability of equipment, through three primary improvement states. These are: (1) Get in control; (2) Optimise Performance; and (3) Ramp up production rates.

These outcomes are evidenced by existing customers who experience, on average, an 11% payload increase and halve tyre costs after implementing MaxMine, the company said.

NRW Operations Manager, Adam Harper, said continuous innovation and intelligent use of data is core to NRW mining division’s future, and another way NRW is consistently adding value for its customers beyond moving tonnes.

NRW General Manager Mining Division, Tim Abrahams, added: “NRW emphasises good data as a critical enabler of our operational effectiveness and partnering with MaxMine, who are a leader in fleet operations data, allows us to continuously improve our performance for our customers.”

MaxMine Chief Executive Officer, Coert Du Plessis, said the two companies were aligned in pursuing a more sustainable and reliable mining industry.

“The benefits from this cooperation extend beyond MaxMine or NRW; the global challenge of ‘Net Zero’ by 2050 cannot be achieved without an order of magnitude change in mining efficiencies. Working with NRW is another fantastic example of great partnerships helping transform a critically important industry into a safer, more efficient and environmentally-friendly component of the world’s economy.”

The announcement of the agreement with NRW comes one month after MaxMine officially launched MaxMine Carbon, a technology offering that, the company says, will enable mining operators to reduce their carbon emissions by 5-20%, depending on their existing efficiencies, with limited or no additional capital expenditure.

Hiber updates satellite-based fleet monitoring system for heavy vehicle tracking, analysis

IoT-as-a-Service scaleup Hiber has announced a new version of its satellite-based HiberEasypulse fleet monitoring system to support the tracking and analysis of heavy industrial vehicles and machinery anywhere.

Developed primarily for the mining, construction, agriculture and forestry sectors, this second version of HiberEasypulse includes new CANbus capabilities that deliver more detailed data from heavy vehicles in the field, according to the company. HiberEasypulse can connect to any vehicle with a CAN port and share data on a dashboard and third-party telematics services via APIs, enabling operators to manage a mixture of brands and models in a single system, Hiber says.

HiberEasypulse, introduced at at CES 2022, improves operating efficiency and maintenance scheduling of industrial assets and reduces emissions, thefts and downtime by analysing a wide range of information, from fuel level and vehicle location to engine errors and driver behaviour, the company added.

“The system can also provide production insights, such as the distance travelled by agricultural vehicles during harvesting or the quantity of material mined during a cycle,” Hiber said. “Data are summarised in a scorecard and a ranking system, highlighting asset performance trends and actionable insight into vehicles requiring particular attention.”

HiberEasypulse includes a CANbus Edge Station device that connects to a vehicle’s local data bus and transmits critical positioning and status data every 15 minutes via a global satellite network. The device can be attached to vehicles using magnets or custom mounting systems and is powered directly by the connected asset, according to the company.

Roel Jansen, CEO of Hiber, said: “Keeping track of valuable assets such as heavy vehicles in remote locations is near impossible without satellite-enabled IoT monitoring. We are using our expertise in IoT and connectivity to deliver global coverage and support a far wider range of industrial use cases with a complete solution that is affordable and easy to use.

“HiberEasypulse allows organisations to see where their remote assets are and how they are performing anywhere on earth. There will be nothing better suited to monitoring excavators operating in places like open-pit mines in Mozambique or river barges on the Amazon.”

Hexagon to deploy MineOperate OP Pro fleet management system at Sepon gold mine

Hexagon’s Mining division is set to deploy its HxGN MineOperate OP Pro in trucks, excavators and auxiliary equipment at the Sepon gold mine in southern Laos as part of a new fleet management project.

Sepon is an open-pit gold and copper mine located in Savannakhet Province in southern Laos. The mine is owned and operated by Lane Xang Minerals Limited, one of the largest gold producers in Laos.

Since operations commenced in 2003, Sepon has produced 1.2 Moz of gold doré and more than 1 Mt of copper cathode. In 2020, Sepon produced more than 39,730 t of copper and 64,809 oz of gold doré. The mine already uses Hexagon’s drill and blast solutions.

Commenting on the HxGN MineOperate OP Pro installation – to be completed by the end of the year – Shane Boak, Business Manager & General Manager Sales, Hexagon’s Mining division, said: “We look forward to continuing our partnership with Lane Xang as they enhance operations at Sepon mine. OP Pro helps mines maximise efficiency while improving safety, and we are excited to see Lane Xang implement our system across their fleet.”

Jimmy Yana, Senior Superintendent – Mining Operations Excellence and Contracts, Lane Xang Minerals Limited, said: “HxGN MineOperate OP Pro will be critical for LXML to optimise the use of our mining fleet. We are excited to start this new journey in Sepon and look forward to working with Hexagon to maximise the value from their solution in our operation.”

Epiroc strengthens mine safety and productivity offering with Mining TAG buy

Epiroc has acquired Mining Tag SA, a Chile-based company that, the OEM says, provides sensor-based solutions to strengthen safety and productivity in mines by making operations smarter.

Mining Tag develops and implements sensor-based solutions that allow monitoring, automation and process improvement of mining operations, Epiroc explained. The solutions are mainly used in underground mining. Its solutions include MT OneMine for increased productivity and MT Guardian, a personnel and asset tracking system, for improved safety.

Mining Tag is active in several countries in Latin America. It has previously worked with Codelco on installing its MT OneMine fleet management system to manage the LHD fleet in the macroblocks 01, 02 and 03 North and South of the Production Level at Chuquicamata. It has about 120 employees and had revenues in 2020 of about $7 million, according to Epiroc.

Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s President and CEO, said: “Intelligent mining solutions are the future. Together with the innovative team at Mining Tag, we will strengthen our smart digitalisation offering to customers in Latin America and beyond.”

Former BHP data strategist to lead open-pit mining equipment data specialist MaxMine

Former BHP Global Data Strategy Lead, Coert Du Plessis, has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of mining technology business MaxMine.

Du Plessis commenced in the role of Chief Operating Officer of MaxMine on May 1, 2020, working with MaxMine’s management team behind the scenes over the past 12 months to successfully configure and guide MaxMine through its significant Series A funding round announced last month, the company said.

MaxMine is an automated, high-resolution data-based business reporting tool that combines advanced data acquisition technology with AI analysis to fully optimise mobile equipment and operator performance within mining and other mobile equipment-based operations, measuring performance differently and using gamification to change behaviours.

On July 1, 2021, Du Plessis was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the company.

Du Plessis commenced his professional career with global consulting firm, Deloitte, moving up the ranks to become senior partner before the age of 40. He then established and led the firm’s Western Australia data analytics practice. He then moved to BHP to accelerate the adoption of digital technologies and cultivate collaborative ways of working. His scope at BHP included the design and establishment of an Innovation Mine at BHP’s Eastern Ridge operations in Western Australia, developing the BHP Dahling Industrial IoT platform, embedding next generation digital technologies at existing operations and major new capital projects – such as Jansen – and steering the final technology investment review of the South Flank iron ore project.

Du Plessis said three things ultimately convinced him to move from BHP to take up the new roles at MaxMine:

  • “One, the calibre of the existing leadership team and their adaptive business mindset; demonstrated in successfully raising growth capital in a year disrupted by COVID;
  • “Two, generating industry leading data quality and confidence in their results, an order of magnitude better than incumbent fleet management system. It means MaxMine users transition from teams arguing about the validity of data to knowing what needs to be done next; and
  • “Three, the ability to over-come digital inertia and drive technology adoption with front line operators and operational leadership teams month in and month out.”

He added: “It was inspirational to see the speed at which the MaxMine team could develop these incredible technologies and develop the unique delivery approaches whilst maintaining an incredible focus on customer value.

“MaxMine has gone further than any other technology product and service I have come across in solving the challenge of delivering consistent value for mine site operations. The quality of MaxMine’s data asset sets us apart in the industry, and we believe we can apply the same operational improvement approach that allows us to enable delivery of more tonnes of ore, to also significantly reduce CO2 tonnes expelled in mining operations. Moving beyond the growing list of CO2 reduction aspirations to reductions delivered is an outcome I deeply care about.”

MaxMine Director, Robin Schleich, who is also Dupont Sustainable Solutions’ global operations director, said: “Mining companies need, and want, to partner with true industry innovators such as MaxMine to help them navigate the ramp up in digital disruption in the industry and combat growing operational cost pressures.

“Based on the significant investment last month, it is clear MaxMine provides one of the strongest platforms to drive industry productivity and emissions transformation.”

MaxMine’s outgoing CEO, Tom Cawley, will transition to Executive Chair, focusing on adjacent business opportunities for the company and setting up the board to support the company’s growth.

Epiroc and Combitech continue to break new ground in mine automation

After three years of collaboration, Epiroc and Combitech’s traffic management solution for autonomous loaders at underground mines is coming to fruition.

In 2017, Epiroc and Combitech started to work on this technological leap. Together, they have combined technology from Epiroc and SAAB’s civilian product portfolio with knowledge of the way traffic management is to be systematised and developed.

At the end of the same year, a prototype, or ‘proof of concept’, was delivered and evaluated in Epiroc’s test mine outside Örebro, Sweden.

Eighteen months later, in spring 2019, the solution was installed and used at an Australia gold mine.

This solution is called Epiroc Scooptram Automation Total and is included in Epiroc’s 6th Sense offering.

“This solution, in which autonomous machines can perform complete assignments and interact with each other in a shared area, is much sought after within the mining industry,” Robert Raschperger, Consultant for Epiroc and Combitech’s Product Development Manager, said. “It is a matter of being able to create an even flow of material, avoid locking between machines in production and move employees away from an unsafe environment.”

The solution’s driver is a proprietary module known as the Traffic Management System (TMS). It allows machines to share roads, service locations and loading and dumping sites without collisions or locking events.

The module is generic inasmuch as it is applicable to other autonomous solutions, whereby machines, drones and trucks are able to independently perform pre-defined tasks, eg travelling from point ‘a’ to point ‘b’, and depositing a load.

Epiroc’s strategy is an “open automation system” that means other machine manufacturers can be integrated into the solution, such as integrating a remotely operated MacLean water cannon into the Epiroc automation fleet at Newcrest Mining’s Cadia East operation in New South Wales, Australia.

As well as the TMS module, there is the Fleet Management System (FMS) to automate assignment and resource management so that the mine operator can focus on the work to be performed, eg transporting 1,600 t from point ‘a’ and dumping it at point ‘b’. The system decides which machines to be used, when they should operate and which routes they should take.

The FMS module is based on the SAFE (Situational Awareness For Enhanced security) platform, which has been developed within the SAAB group.

The TMS and FMS modules are integrated into the mine’s overall production management, so work orders are received, implemented and reported in order of priority, while, at the same time, the system attends to other machinery and parts of the production flow, eg ore crushers and ore transportation systems.

Mattias Pettersson, Global Portfolio Manager Loaders, Epiroc’s Underground division, said: “Interoperability and openness have been key words in the development of Epiroc’s automation system and, thanks to this, the collaboration with a partner like Combitech has also worked extremely well.

“Besides the technical advancements made and the new functions, which we have succeeded to develop in record time, I’m almost more impressed with our collaboration and partnership. The future of digitalisation and automation development depends on our success in integrating different systems – where collaboration between people and organisations is just as vital as the technical aspects.”

Raschperger added: “A key to our success is that our team has different skillsets. Some of us are good at traffic-management logic, ie sending data and coordinating traffic patterns. Others are good at acquainting themselves with end-user problems, work culture and human-to-machine interaction. We also have sound expertise in development of systems so they meet the stringent demands around availability in a mine, typically 24/7, plus how modern software development should be set up and managed.

“It’s enjoyable seeing how knowledge can be used in new ways, and what results are attainable through collaboration.”

Epiroc’s Scooptram Automation Total allows machine operators to carry out remote work safely in a control room above ground level, where they can share the overall situation in real time and carry out tasks that still call for a human being’s experience and precision. The operators have good insight into what is happening within the production environment and can take over machines as and when necessary to carry out non-automated tasks.

The latest addition to the solution is the option of “easy control” of the security system that protects employees from harm if they accidentally enter the autonomous production area, Epiroc says.

“Putting it simply, various sections and passageways are permitted to be closed or opened for autonomous operation, allowing the mining operator to send in manned machines without stopping autonomous production any more than is necessary,” the company explained. “The function also supports smooth check-in and check-out of autonomous or remote-controlled machinery.”

Raschperger concluded: “With this solution we are breaking new ground, as we are bringing manual and autonomous operations closer to each other. A fully-autonomous mine is still a long way off, but the latest addition to the solution allows mining companies to actually proceed towards autonomous operation and increases the degree of utilisation of the investment in infrastructure, machinery and employees.”

This is an edited version of an Epiroc story that first appeared here: https://www.epiroc.com/en-uk/newsroom/2020/the-route-to-an-autonomous-mine

MICROMINE’s Pitram solution takes control at Greece mine

MICROMINE says it is making a strong foray into Europe’s mining sector with its Pitram fleet management and mine control solution now operating in Greece.

Already used at more than 50 mining operations across six continents, the installation at the Greece mine is Pitram’s third deployment in the Aegean region, following installations at two production projects in Turkey.

“Greece has a wealth of mineral and ore deposits including gold, silver, lead, zinc, copper, nickel and bauxite – and a history of mining that dates back to ancient times,” Pitram Product Strategy Manager, Chris Higgins, said. “Turkey also has abundant source of industrial raw materials, rare earth minerals and precious metals including gold, copper, zinc, chrome, nickel, iron, lead, mercury, tin and magnesium.

“As a result, international operators and miners are developing projects across the Aegean and Pitram is providing the data insights needed to ensure the operations are well controlled.”

More than 10 mining operations in Europe are currently using Pitram to record, manage and process mine data in real time, according to the company. The scalable solution has now been deployed at the three underground gold, copper and zinc mines in Turkey and Greece.

The Greece project is well advanced with Pitram playing a crucial role in a major refurbishment and expansion of existing operations, the company says.

“Comprising 11 modules – including materials management, OLAP analysis, shift planner and fleet management – Pitram is a sophisticated mine control and management reporting application enabling the miners to capture data, make quicker, evidence-based decisions and allocate resources more effectively,” MICROMINE says.

As production ramped up at the Greece underground mine, the operators chose Pitram, according to MICROMINE, because they needed a solution that would enable them to:

  • Improve development and production mining cycles;
  • Accurately track materials from source to processing;
  • Provide OLAP reporting and analysis;
  • Enhance reactions to, and minimise the impact of, unplanned events; and
  • Increase equipment availability and utilisation.

The implementation of Pitram voice and materials management modules ensured these objectives were met by adapting the solution to meet the specific needs of the site, the company said.

Higgins added: “At MICROMINE we committed to working with our mining clients to deliver the tailored software solutions they need to meet local requirements.

“This includes providing our solutions in the languages needed – that’s why Pitram has been translated into Turkish and Greek. So, with the functionality to switch between English and the local language, all staff on-site can use the application.”

Modular Mining strengthens Glencore ties with new UWJV coal project contract win

Modular Mining says Glencore has selected its DISPATCH® Fleet Management and ProVision® Machine Guidance systems to support the United Wambo Joint Venture (UWJV) project in New South Wales, Australia.

The DISPATCH Fleet Management System (FMS) manages the haulage cycles of the 39 trucks and six loading units that comprise the mixed-manufacturer fleet at the Wambo open-pit coal operation in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales.

“UWJV wanted a system that could provide real-time optimisation of load and haul operations, as well as truck assignments to the run of mine (ROM) and stockpiles for coal feed,” Rob Lloyd, Systems Coordinator, UWJV, Glencore, said.

The mine also purchased the Crusher API, a component of the FMS’ Crusher Suite and the recently-released Modular Mining Public API. The Crusher Suite’s Truck Diversion utility and the FMS’ DISPATCH Actions module work in tandem to increase the mine’s ability to manage their ROM and stockpile-related challenges, according to Modular, a company owned by Komatsu.

“The ProVision System delivers high-precision guidance to the mine’s excavator, dozer, and drill fleet,” the company said. “By increasing positional accuracy, the ProVision System will help ensure that the loading and dumping locations, roads, and drill patterns, are completed to design, thus eliminating rework, and reducing costs.”

Greg Sweeney, General Manager, Modular Mining Australia, said Glencore is a key strategic partner for Modular Mining.

“At UWJV, they have aligned with us to supply solutions via technology and expertise to assist them in optimising their production,” he said. “United Wambo is another opportunity for Glencore and Modular Mining to collaborate to extract maximum value from their operation.”

CR beefs up Pilbara service offering with ‘Boots on the Ground’

As part of CR’s strategy to further increase its on-site service model and ensure it maintains a high level of service through these times of regional and border restrictions, it has announced its local Pilbara ‘Boots on the Ground’ initiative.

“Equipped with the latest in vehicle safety, communication, navigation and journey management systems, we welcome Troy Honey back to the CR Australasia Team,” the company said. “Troy is residential to Karratha, has been a North West local for four years and, combined with over 20 years of experience servicing the Pilbara resources sector, he will be an asset to ensuring our customers productivity assets are maintained to the highest level possible.”

CR added: “Whether it is during restrictions or any time requiring service, CR’s ‘Boots on the Ground’ will provide the rapid response required by the Pilbara’s world leading mining industry, all the while supporting the local communities of the Pilbara in Western Australia.”

Pitram 4.17 offers operators a new level of mine control, MICROMINE says

The latest release of MICROMINE’s fleet management and mine control solution, Pitram 4.17, is set to take data management to the “next level”, the company says.

Currently the fleet management and mine control solution of choice for more than 58 mining operations across six continents, according to MICROMINE, the latest version has plenty more to offer users.

“Pitram’s Materials Management and Shift Planner modules boast key functionality enhancements providing greater data insights and enabling better decision-making, while Pitram Mobile can now launch third-party applications,” Chris Higgins, Pitram Product Strategy Manager, says. “Security and access control has also been upgraded across the suite of intuitive tools.”

New functionality in the Materials Management module has also been added, according to Higgins, enabling geologists to gain greater insight into “stockpile levels, composition, inputs and outputs as it interacts with the mine operation”.

He added: “Enhancements to the Stockpile Viewer enable you to more easily work with data up and down stream to manage and react to materials mis-matches.”

Stockpile-related data, which was readily available within Material Management (eg last movements in the Movements Screen) is now summarised within Stockpile Viewer, the company added.

“With the last source, last destination, quantity, depletion model, grade, colour and shape, and filtering data now all summarised and accessed from Stockpile Viewer, you have all the information needed to effectively manage the stockpile at your fingertips, enabling you to optimise the end-to-end process,” Higgins said.

Pitram’s Material Management module also includes a new metadata feature, enabling geologists to gain full transparency and a better understanding of material flows, according to the company.

The ability to make notes against grades and stockpile survey records in real time means geologists can better make sense of their data by providing context when reviewing compliance to plan, mill feed and other operational activities, MICROMINE says. The annotations also contextualise change so that technical services and control room operators can see the rationale behind updates to grades or tonnage, improving communications around grade adjustments as assays come in and shifts rotate.

Real-time shift data and planning is also now available in Pitram Connect, MICROMINE’s mobile application that allows users to retrieve information about their assets, people, equipment, production, and locations without needing to be on site.

“As Pitram Connect now integrates with Pitram’s Shift Planning module, mine planners, managers and shift bosses can make planning decisions from anywhere – whether they are at the face of the mine or off-site,” Higgins said.

“By being able to access a schedule view of planned tasks and their progress, users can reallocate resources sooner and correct plan deviations as they happen, minimising delays, improving utilisation and increasing productivity.”

Efficiency and usability are also the focus for the upgrade of Pitram Mobile, with the added functionality of the Generic Application Launcher, which allows third-party applications to be launched from the Pitram Mobile User Interface.

Pitram Mobile, a touchscreen tablet app installed in-cab on the mobile fleet, enables equipment operators to capture production data manually via the touchscreen or automatically via integration with on-board systems, MICROMINE says.

Third-party tools for safety, communications or positioning that operators would like to use in their cabs can now operate seamlessly with Pitram Mobile, according to the company. “With the third-party launcher, the need for additional in-cab hardware and software is removed and in-cab mining applications can be consolidated onto a single device,” it explained.

Data security is a business imperative for mining operations, according to Higgins, who said Pitram 4.17 has been strengthened with new authentication and auditing features to regulate access to operational data.

“Two-factor authentication can now be set-up in the Data Acquisition and Event Editor applications,” MICROMINE said.

“By configuring the applications to require a user to log-in on application start-up, you can protect and regulate access to your operational data, while the auditing functionality provides robust control and traceability.”

Higgins said: “With its extensive range of tools to record equipment, personnel and materials data, Pitram is at the centre of your mining ecosystem.

“Pitram 4.17 introduces new functionality to help you get an even better overall view of the current mine status and provides the basis for improved control over operations – increasing production, reducing costs, and improving safety.”