Tag Archives: GEOVIA

The top four business problems the mining industry needs to solve today

Ahead of her appearance at the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) Online, conference organisers spoke with Michelle Ash, CEO of Dassault Systèmes’ GEOVIA division, to get her thoughts on some of the biggest problems the mining industry needs to solve today, and what the mining industry can learn from other industries to gain a competitive advantage.

IMARC: What aspects should mining companies pay attention to in order to prepare for (and accelerate) the industry transformation to a more sustainable future?

MA: The biggest challenge to the mining industry today and in the future is changing opinions, changing expectations of society, of people, and of citizens. Our performance as an industry and the rate at which societies’ expectations are changing is actually widening. This does not mean we are not transforming. As an industry, we are adopting new technology, innovating and doing things differently; however, society’s expectations of us as an industry are so much higher than in previous generations. This is simply the result of seeing ongoing dramatic change in other sectors and expecting the mining sector to change as fast and as radically. This means that not only do we need to increase our rate of transformation, we also need to fundamentally rethink some of our processes.

This translates into the need to adopt completely new ways of working, in order to remain relevant to the community and the emerging workforce. Mining companies need to increase the rate at which they adopt technologies that enable mobility and collaboration to solve problems in unique and transparent ways. These platforms and applications make working collaboratively from anywhere seamless. Mining businesses must also ensure their workforce build new skills, such as high voltage electrical, data science and analytics, robotics, instrumentation in order to attract young talent and remain competitive employers.

IMARC: What are the major business problems the industry needs to solve today?

MA: For me, there are four major problems we need to solve as an industry:

  • Global orebody intelligence: We need to be able to find orebodies faster, cheaper and more completely. We can use satellite imaging to detect orebodies and use physical geospatial and hyperspectral technologies to provide additional data to a geologist;
  • Automation and electrification: We need to understand performance and optimise performance in real time and optimise planning in real time;
  • Precision extraction: We need to be even more precise in extracting the metal that we are interested in without creating excessive waste and subsequently being able to process the metal efficiently. This means using digital twins to create simulations and what-if scenarios before building in real life with sensors in place for analytics. This not only minimises risk but also reduces errors, and waste; and
  • Creation of social value: We need to better use technology to create and distribute value to our communities.

Mining companies’ real competitive advantage is the speed at which they can adopt technology into their business that solves a business problem, while continuing to create value to society. This is where mining organisations need to look at solutions that are already available in other industries and their ecosystem of competition and collaboration in order to build a sustainable future.

IMARC: What lessons can the mining industry learn from other industries for their competitive advantage?

MA: The mining industry can learn from aircraft and automotive industries; two industries which experienced something similar in the last quarter of the last century. Both industries have fundamentally changed from leveraging emerging technology of the time and adopting radically different ways of doing things.

For example, in the aircraft industry, technology has helped in a 91% reduction in development time, 71% reduction in labour costs, 90% reduction in redesign and dramatically reduced design and production flaws, mismatches, and associated errors.

The auto industry has also developed into a segmented network in the last 50 years. For example, no car company makes windshields or rear-view-mirrors anymore – they are always purchased from windshield makers, and rear-view-mirror makers, respectively. This division of labour across the automotive ecosystem enables suppliers to be agile and innovative. This also means that auto-parts can be quickly and easily sourced, and suppliers empowered to design and produce new parts quickly and efficiently.

IMARC: How can the industry attract younger people and sustain diversity?

MA: The only question mining companies need to consider – how do I rapidly change the way we work to enable greater inclusivity, more remote working, whilst also adding value to our communities?

In most of the developed countries, the mining sector has a mature and ageing workforce. For example, in Russia and Australia, three quarters of the workforce will be retiring in the next 15 years. The younger generation does not see mining in the same way. In addition, the younger generation, being digital natives, are also more interested in automation jobs, the robotics jobs, the remote operating centre jobs, or working with drones. This means the sector has to evolve much more rapidly and incorporate new technology and new ways of working with some of this great equipment to solve problems and work in fundamentally different ways in order to attract the younger generation. The younger generation is much more collaborative, much more eager to talk about the issues that they see and find solutions.

Michelle Ash will be sharing further insights on ‘Shaping the Sustainable Future of Mining’ during her presentation at IMARC Online on November 25.

GEOVIA MineSched 2020 receives the 3DEXPERIENCE

The new GEOVIA MineSched 2020 comes with the ability to publish results to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform with MineSched POWER’BY, and allows users to update the starting point of all development and production activities for underground workflows and more, according to GEOVIA.

The results of a MineSched schedule can be uploaded to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to analyse and share schedule data, the company, owned by Dassault Systèmes, said.

“With report authoring and analytics, users can gain insights and knowledge about the tactical schedule,” GEOVIA said. “More importantly, with dash-boarding and collaboration, you can share those insights and knowledge with other stakeholders.”

Users can quickly and easily update the starting position of the schedule based on survey results and development reports with the new Development Progress Tracking tab, as well.

Mining Locations, created as part of the Surpac Stope Shape Optimizer (SSO), can now be directly imported into MineSched via the SDM Model process. To enable this workflow, a new Locations type option has been added to the Location Grouping workflow, and the option to select Stopes is available.

In addition a schedule can be quickly and easily updated based on survey results and production reports with the new Production Progress Tracking.

Additional enhancements or defect fixes that improve work performance include changes to Location names in Spreadsheet View; changes to Material Movement rules while performing stockpile blending calculations; performance improvements while using the Evaluate Headings process; and replacement of the Spreadsheet tools with a more modern solution.

Michelle Ash to become CEO of Dassault’s GEOVIA division

Dassault Systèmes says it has appointed Global Mining Guidelines Group (GMG) Chair, Michelle Ash, as CEO of its GEOVIA software division.

Ash will help shape strategy to build growth across the company’s Natural Resources sector, as well as deliver next-generation solutions based on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, which integrates all the technologies and capabilities that leverage knowledge and know-how into one “cohesive digital innovation environment”, according to Dassault.

Ash, who has been chair of GMG since May 2018, was previously Chief Innovation Officer at Barrick Gold. She has more than 20 years’ experience in the mining and manufacturing sectors with a focus on business improvement and change management.

It is not clear if she will continue her role with GMG following this appointment.

GEOVIA, meanwhile, became part of Dassault back in 2012 when the France-based company acquired geological modelling and simulation company Gemcom Software International. Dassault renamed the division GEOVIA shortly after the deal was completed.

GMG members devise mine automation guideline

The likes of Anglo American, BHP, Barrick Gold, Glencore, Newmont, Rio Tinto, Teck and Vale have collaborated on the Global Mining Guidelines Group’s (GMG) latest guideline on automation.

The Guideline for the Implementation of Autonomous Systems in Mining offers a broad view of the implementation of these systems, which are being used more and more frequently due to their potential for making the mining industry safer and more productive, according to GMG.

Christine Erikson, General Manager Improvement and Smart Business at Roy Hill, said the guideline “covers all aspects of operations, including people, safety, technology, engineering, regulatory requirements, business process and organisation models”. She added: “The guideline considers all perspectives in the industry, making it relevant and practical in implementation.”

The guideline provides a framework for mining stakeholders to follow when establishing autonomous mining projects ranging from single autonomous vehicles and hybrid fleets to highly autonomous fleets, GMG said. It offers guidance on how stakeholders should approach autonomous mining and describes common practices.

“More specifically, the publication addresses change management, developing a business case, health and safety and risk management, regulatory engagement, community and social impact, and operational readiness and deployment,” GMG said.

“There has been an incredible level of engagement in this project since its launch last year,” said Andrew Scott, Principal Innovator, Symbiotic Innovations, and GMG Vice-Chair Working Groups, who facilitated many of the workshops. “The industry interest reflects the growing importance and relevance of autonomous systems in mining and the industry’s need for a unified framework for mitigating risks and managing change while maximising the value of autonomy.”

Chirag Sathe, Principal, Risk & Business Analysis Technology at BHP – one of the project co-leaders alongside Glenn Johnson, Senior Mining Engineer, Technology at Teck – said the guideline is relevant even to those who have already embraced autonomy: “I would say that even though some mining companies have implemented autonomy, it hasn’t been a smooth ride and there are a number of lessons learned. This guideline would be a good reference material to everyone to look at various aspects while implementing autonomy. It is not meant to provide answers to every potential issue, but it at least may provide some guidance on what to look for.”

Erikson concurred, saying, “Roy Hill’s involvement has given greater insight into industry learnings that we have considered as part of our own autonomous projects.”

The guideline also promotes cooperation between the involved parties as a means of easing the implementation process, according to GMG. Andy Mulholland, GEOVIA Management Director at Dassault Systèmes, said: “Mining companies will need to rely heavily on their technology partners.” This guideline “sets down a great framework to be able to collaborate”, he added.

Sathe said: “As technology is moving very fast, guideline development also should keep pace with the change.”

As a result, the guideline will be reviewed and updated on a regular basis, according to GMG.

GMG said: “Although implementing autonomous systems creates new challenges, such as changes to the workforce and the workplace, their successful deployment adds definite value, with improved safety and efficiency and lower maintenance costs. As more operations move toward the application of these technologies, this guideline will be an invaluable asset.

Mark O’Brien, Manager, Digital Transformation at CITIC Pacific Mining, said the process of developing the guideline highlighted “just how much there is to factor into deciding whether to implement autonomy, whether you’re ready for it and what the journey is going to look like.

“Having this all captured in a single, well-considered document is a terrific resource.”