Tag Archives: IMARC

Australia’s IMARC mining event rescheduled to January 2022

Due to ongoing travel and gathering restrictions, and the rise of COVID-19 infections around Australia, Beacon Events, the organisers of the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC), has today announced its decision to reschedule the 2021 edition.

IMARC 2021 will move to the new dates of January 31-February 2, 2022, with the hybrid event taking place in-person at the Melbourne Showgrounds, and online for those that cannot attend in-person.

IMARC Managing Director, Anita Richards, said that while it is disappointing that the event has had to be postponed from 2021, it is the responsible action to take under the circumstances as the health and safety of IMARC’s participants is our number one priority.

“The rescheduling comes after much deliberation with our founding partners, and in consultation with our sponsors, exhibitors, supporters and various Victorian Government agencies who have been very supportive of the decision,” she said.

Victorian Government’s Head of Resources, Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, John Krbaleski, added: “IMARC is a home-grown industry event that has become a major international resources conference. There is significant interest in IMARC and it’s clear that industry is keen to see it go ahead in January 2022.”

Austmine CEO, Christine Gibbs Stewart, said: “Considering the health and safety of our members, delegates, and staff members, we support postponing IMARC 2021 until January 2022. We know how important this event is to our members who are exhibiting and attending, as well as the METS sector overall, and we encourage everyone to consider this as an opportunity to refocus your efforts and support the event in 2022.”

AusIMM CEO, Stephen Durkin, added: “We’re looking forward to reconnecting with our mining community at IMARC in January 2022. The rescheduled event will provide an opportunity for delegates to network with leaders and experts from across the sector and take part in thought-provoking conversations about the future of our industry.”

BHP, MMG, Newcrest, Mitsui, OceanaGold and Kirkland Lake Gold have all confirmed their continued support for IMARC in January 2022, with their executive leadership teams confirmed to speak within the conference program, Beacon Events said.

In addition to the Federal Minister for Resources, the Hon Keith Pitt, and major sponsors METS Ignited, Caterpillar, ABB and World Gold Council who have also confirmed their support and participation.

IMARC 2021’s new dates are aligned with the expected easing of restrictions from all states across Australia, allowing for strong domestic representation, according to Beacon Events.

Richards said: “Holding IMARC at the start of 2022 helps create a unique opportunity for the industry to kick off the year with new conversations, develop existing relationships and create business opportunities for the coming year. With better weather comes opportunities for outdoor events and networking, alongside some major events at that time of year here in Melbourne.”

There is an expectation that when IMARC returns in 2022, from October 17-19, there will be greater international travel freedoms, allowing for the conference to attract a large domestic and international audience in-person once again, Beacon Events said.

International Mining is a media sponsor of IMARC

IMARC welcomes IWIMRA as First Nations partner

In what it says is an Australian first, the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) has welcomed the Indigenous Women in Mining and Resources Australia (IWIMRA) as its First Nations Partner.

The partnership will foster stronger connections between First Nations communities and the minerals and resources sector, as well as continue to raise the profile of First Nations people working in the industry globally, IMARC says.

IMARC, which is due to take place in Melbourne, both in-person and online from October 25-27, is partnering with IWIMRA to promote the importance of inclusiveness of First Nation women and men in the industry and the IMARC program, it said.

IWIMRA was founded in 2017 to create a stronger connection amongst Indigenous women in Australia’s mining and resource sector. Through lived experiences, and the narrative of Indigenous intersectionality, it is its priority to ensure the visibility, voice, and quality participation across the spectrum of the mining and minerals sector, the IWIMRA says.

IMARC takes place on the lands of the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin nations. IMARC says it wishes to acknowledge them as the traditional owners of the lands and waterways and pay their respects to their elders, past and present, and emerging.

As the first resources event in Australia to have a First Nations Partner, IMARC Managing Director, Anita Richards, said that IMARC is committed to improving Indigenous presence at the event and across broader industry.

“This partnership enhances our commitment to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion across all areas of the mining and resources industry as part of our Balance for Better Program where diversity and inclusion are a key focus of the conference and associated events,” Richards said.

She said that IMARC will also highlight the impact and achievements of women in mining while reflecting the strides being made industry-wide to be more gender balanced and showcase the industry-wide benefits of diversity and inclusion.

In practical terms, the partnership between IMARC and IWIMRA will see additional Indigenous speakers and dedicated sessions across the conference program, additional Indigenous women delegates in attendance at the event as well as including an “exciting welcome” to country at the start of the conference, IMARC said.

“This is just the first of what we see as many opportunities to partner with IWIMRA as our values and objectives are very much aligned,” Richards said.

IWIMRA Co-Founder and CEO, Florence Drummond (pictured), said that the partnership with IMARC is a great fit, as IWIMRA aspires to lead with clarity and purpose and to work with industry to build solutions-driven, cross-culture influential relationships that will continue to contribute towards our sustainable future.

“We are so excited to be formalising this partnership with IMARC and it’s only now that we are starting to recognise how truly impactful it will be,” Drummond said. “There are the obvious benefits of participating at IMARC, such as IWIMRA having a physical presence with an exhibition booth, hosting panel sessions and speaking as part of the conference, however there is so much more to be gained beyond the transaction.

“This partnership, which has been progressing over the past three years, is truly transformational for IWIMRA. It means that we have action and commitment from a major global resources conference and that we have recognition, reconciliation and a real seat at the table.”

IWIMRA will be bringing 30 women from mining operations across Australia to IMARC to provide them with the kind of global mining exposure that will enable them to return to their own sites and continue to influence meaningful changes.

“From our history of compounded disadvantage and continued systemic challenges, it is understandable that many of our people are fatigued and frustrated at yet another mechanism for change,” Drummond said. “However, we have worked hard to agree on what shared value is in this context and to deliver this significant opportunity for all stakeholders. Based on trust, we plan for our 30 delegates to be a part of the conversation and to ask the hard questions so that they can be the spark or the catalyst for change back in their home communities. It is our priority to ensure this is a safe space for this.”

Drummond will further discuss this First Nations Partnership on Day 2 of IMARC, as part of the plenary conference program, before later interviewing the Development Partner Institute’s Executive Director, Wendy Tyrrell, about Indigenous engagement and how the industry can better attune with indigenous participation across the supply chain.

The day will conclude with an all IWIMRA line up within the METS Arena for a panel discussion on ‘The intersectionality of Indigenous women in the mining and resources sector, further explore our perspective of where we fit in a decarbonising industry’ before the AusIMM Diversity & Inclusion Networking Reception, where all 30 women will be in attendance to meet with attendees at the event.

International Mining is a media partner of IMARC

FMG’s Wallace warns miners of cyber security risks amid data rush

Gathering data presents enormous opportunities but also significant challenges, according to Fortescue Metals Group’s Head of Cyber Security, Mark Wallace.

Addressing delegates at the 6th International Mining and References Conference in Melbourne, Wallace said much of the industry is sitting on a “gold mine of data”, labelling it “the new strategic asset we need to focus our time on”.

Wallace said the iron ore miner is well positioned as a digital leader, describing the enormous data pulled from its fleet of 200 autonomous haul trucks as an example.

“Each truck has 250 sensors, generating about 91 billion events a month across our fleet. That works out to about 40 TB of data that we have to store, process, pull out the useful bits that we actually want to use and then work out how we’re going to retain this sort of information and control the quality over time,” Wallace said.

That data is already being used to incentivise equipment manufacturers, improve productivity and track performance across its assets, according to Wallace, but he told delegates the company is always looking for new ways to realise its value.

“We’ve found that there’s a new language across our business…Digital twins, robotics, AI, all these words are now spread across our organisation. And there really is a growing understanding across teams that they are now really reliant on data. The value of data has become really, really central.”

But the risks, Wallace said, are ever present, especially as the proliferation of electronic devices continues on its path of rapid growth.

He said the days of simply securing precious information behind a firewall are long gone and the widespread use of tablets, mobile phones, cloud technology and third-party contractors has blurred the lines when it comes to setting up security perimeters.

“The big issue from a mining point of view is what happens if one of these IoT devices actually goes rogue? How do we actually trust the data that is coming off those IoT devices?” Wallace said.

“How do we know that some rogue entity hasn’t just put that IoT sensor out there and is providing you with false information with the intention of damaging your plant or some sort of fraud that’s related to it.”

At the World Economic Forum earlier this year, cyber security-related issues were listed in the top three risks of doing business globally.

Wallace warned Australian companies are under constant threat, with attacks coming from a broader range of sources.

“We are seeing in Australia that there is a real focus in targeting critical infrastructure. These risks are real and we need to keep them in mind,” he said.

“There’s certainly a lot more hacktivists who are trying to disrupt our business. There is nation state-type attack and there’s a lot of financially motivated attacks.”

In closing, Wallace advised that when it comes to preserving its digital assets, the industry should focus on the crown jewels.

“We’ve got hundreds of different data assets that we use for different purposes but which of these assets is actually really important?” he said.

“Identify the crown jewels and focus most of your effort in those areas.

“Most companies that I talk to have 10 cyber incidents every month that they respond to so it’s not a matter of if but when. To respond to that, the real skill here is building resilience – so building that muscle memory within the organisation so that when something does happen, you can minimise the damage and move right along. “

BHP to lead from the front on sourcing, diversity, inclusion, climate change

BHP’s Group Procurement Officer, Sundeep Singh, took to the IMARC stage this week to talk about the major miner’s experience in responsible sourcing, diversity and inclusion, and climate change.

He said taking responsibility in all of these areas was not only right, but good for shareholders and business, going on to provide several examples of how the company was displaying industry leadership in these spaces.

Among the initiatives mentioned by Singh at the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC), in Melbourne, was the company’s goal to be gender-balanced by 2025. Three years ago when the company made this pledge, women made up 17.6% of its workforce. Today, that number has climbed to 24.5%.

Data collected by BHP shows more inclusive and diverse teams outperform other teams on safety, productivity and culture. Highlighted in this is an up to 67% lower injury rate, 11% better adherence to schedule and 28% lower unplanned absence.

The company has gone further than this, working with other suppliers like ESS Compass, Blackwoods and Komatsu to make sure the machines it uses, the clothes employees wear, the food they eat and the camps they live in are more inclusive, he said.

“Another example is the work that we have done with Kal Tire, a tyre management and fitment organisation that supplies to our Spence operation in Chile. This job requires physical strength, which has been historically restricted to larger men,” he said.

BHP worked with Kal Tire to implement a program that trained women to complete the task and also implemented a zero weight arm. This saves people lifting a torqueing tool that can weigh around 20 kg by simply holding the tool in position when torqueing each bolt, according to Singh.

“The program eliminated the need for physical strength as a pre-requisite for the role, making it not only safer, faster but also more inclusive,” he said.

On the issue of climate change, Singh talked up the company’s progress, highlighting the company’s world-first tender earlier this year for LNG-powered vessels for its maritime transport operations as it works towards a goal of net-zero operational emissions by 2050.

Singh said BHP is working with its suppliers and customers to reduce emissions from the transportation, processing and use of its products.

“Ambitious emissions targets will only be achieved by a supply chain that allows us to collaborate with partners like Adelaide-based Voltra who last year helped to develop the world’s first electric UTE, ahead of Tesla,” he said.

“This is a welcome addition to a growing fleet of light electric vehicles that will “significantly reduce our category 1 emissions”, he said.

When it came to ethical sourcing, he said BHP is continually reviewing and assessing its supply chain, applying the framework established through its own Human Rights Centre of Excellence and Global Contract Management System.

“No-one wants to work with unethical suppliers,” he said. “Having high-risk partners is ultimately expensive for everyone and represents significant exposures. Human Rights violations are the furthest anyone could possibly be from shared value.”

Through the system, BHP knows 96% of its direct suppliers are concentrated in 10 countries, Singh said.

Along these lines, last month BHP partnered with Dyno Nobel to invest in a blast technology research program to improve the safety, productivity and sustainability of its Australia operations.

As well as researching ways to lift safety through reduced nitrous oxide fumes that result from blasting and driving productivity from improved fragmentation via differential energy blasts, this partnership represents a joint commitment to eradicate the use of palm oil in the explosive manufacturing process, according to Singh.

“And, as you may know, a recent and rapid increase in palm oil production, has resulted in an increase in deforestation – destroying habitats, displacing local communities and contributing to climate change,” he said.

“As a part of our agreement, Dyno Nobel will only use certified sustainable raw materials and products. If they use forestry-based products, including palm oil, they will give us information on the country and company of origin, and evidence that they are certified sustainable.”

If palm oil is included, Dyno Nobel will include a timeline and plan for its replacement with an alternative product, he added.

While Singh acknowledged that, in the past, BHP didn’t always get it right with its suppliers and “their experience has been varied”, he did say the company is now focused much more on seeking to establish a supplier relationship model based on sustainable mutual commercial value built on long lasting partnerships that unlock value for all of its businesses.

BHP’s supply chain spans 60 countries, 10,000 partners with an annual spend of $20 billion across its capital and operating expenses portfolio in its 2019 financial year. It sourced 215,000 different types of material and equipment for its Australian operations alone in that year.

EVS&T hopes low voltage electric drive system draws high demand

Electric Vehicle Systems and Technology says it has developed a breakthrough technology with its patented ultra-low voltage (ULV) electric drive system that can drive light and heavy mobile mining equipment.

At voltages as low as 3 V, the equivalent power of an internal combustion engine can be electrically generated to drive machinery, it said.

The company has installed its drive system in a Toyota Landcruiser and was showcasing its technology at the International Mining and Resources Conference in Melbourne, Australia, this week.

EVS&T Spokesman, Michael Byford, said the safety implications alone of its patented Ultra Low Voltage electric drive system were enormous.

“It removes the electrocution hazard for operators, maintenance personnel and emergency crews in the event of an accident,” Byford said. “The need for training personnel to work with high voltage can be removed.”

Electric drive systems have the potential to reduce ventilation costs, eliminate health concerns over diesel particulate matter, allow deeper or more productive mines and add a great advantage to a mine’s social licence to operate.

Machinery total cost of ownership will also decrease because of less maintenance required by electric drive systems and the reduced running costs achieved by using electricity over fossil fuels, EVS&T says. Such reductions should also favourably impacts a mine’s operating costs.

EVS&T’s ultra-low voltage solution eliminates the need for high voltages in the region of 340 to 1,000 V, which are presently the only way to power electric mining machinery, the company says.

“These voltages, which carry significant safety risks and require stringent guidelines and work practises, dedicated charging facilities, and properly trained operators and maintenance personnel, can be removed from the risk assessment on the machinery,” it said.

The other benefits of the ULV electric drive system, according to the company, include:

  • Quick and efficient battery swap, even with the motor running;
  • A motor which is battery agnostic, allowing the upgrade of batteries at any time and even the operation of mixed battery chemistries at the same time;
  • Parallel battery configuration, which allows the vehicle to continue to drive even with one or more degraded battery units;
  • Low voltage battery packs that are amenable to simple charging arrangements, even directly from solar cells;
  • No software means no built-in obsolescence and no avenue for malicious hacking;
  • No dedicated tooling required for maintenance and support; and
  • Retrofitting to existing equipment is highly feasible, reducing capital expenditure and extending vehicle operating life.

Miners still need social licence for their autonomous vehicles, Wilson says

Mining companies embracing automation and technological innovation must be also be aware of the possible implications for their social licence to operate, according to a social performance specialist.

Dr Ceit Wilson, who has more than eight years of professional experience in addressing the social and development challenges of the extractive resources industry, says there are risks around the future of technology and employment, especially from a social perspective.

Dr Wilson will address the issue in a presentation at this year’s International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) in Melbourne in October – Australia’s largest mining event.

Issues around social licence to operate and sustainable mining principles will be a key focus for the three-day conference with a dedicated workshop and two conference sessions covering the topic.

Environmental health and safety, social licence, sustainability, staff retention and skills development are also among the topics set to be discussed in the free to attend Collaboration Theatre, one of five concurrent conferences at IMARC.

“I intend to use my presentation at IMARC to bring attention to the fact that the while the mining industry is positively benefiting from automation and technology innovation, we need to address the question of how technological change will impact the host communities in which they operate,” Dr Wilson said.

“This is somewhat of a paradox given that gaining and maintaining a ‘social licence to operate’ is one of the key challenges currently facing the sector.

“We know it is no longer enough for mining companies to simply meet the formal obligations of an ‘environmental licence’ to extract resources.

“They are increasingly expected to behave responsibly and make a positive contribution to the communities in which they operate.

“One of the main ways mining companies seek to deliver this social value to regional communities is through the provision of local employment and business development opportunities.

“The concern is that automation technology may disrupt this positive trend. We are already seeing major mine operations in Western Australia and Queensland replacing human operators with autonomous trucks and robotics, and shifting control centres to the capital cities, miles away from where actual mining takes place.

“And yet industry has been silent on the potential risks that these future technologies may pose for communities and broader stakeholders.

“Disregarding these risks may leave companies ill equipped to respond to social impacts when they occur, with potential consequences for their relationship and trust with communities.

“Any company that is genuinely committed to protecting their social licence to operate will need to carefully consider and reassess how their projects will continue to deliver social value to the regional communities in which they operate if, as a result of automation, local employment and procurement opportunities are no longer as readily available.

“Maintaining a social licence will require balance and attention to alternative ways in which social value can be delivered.

“This may include a consideration of alternative livelihood or benefit sharing models, or a greater focus on the transfer and sharing of industry’s knowledge of technology through training and education programs.”

IMARC will be held from October 29-31 at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre.

International Mining is a media sponsor of IMARC

Data is a mining company’s greatest asset

Mark O’Brien, Manager of Digital Transformation at CITIC Pacific Mining Management, believes that the mining industry is starting to turn a corner when it comes to making the most of data and automation.

Before hearing from him at the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC), taking place on October 29-31, and Mines and Technology London, taking place on November 25-27, Andrew Thake, Head of Content, Mines and Money, sat down with him to dig deeper into his attitudes around technology and automation in the mining industry.

What is your outlook for the mining sector in the next 12 months?

In the Australian space, there’s been a noticeable uptick in the mining sector, and although everyone is still very conscious of costs and not getting too crazy with spending up, there’s a lot of investment going on and we’re already seeing the usual cyclical issues with finding good talent becoming an issue in mining-focused cities like Perth.

You are speaking at Mines and Technology. In terms of innovation in mining technology, where does the biggest opportunity lie and why?

It finally feels like mining companies have realised that data really is one of their greatest assets, and many companies are starting to see some serious value out of exploiting the data they’ve been sitting on for years. Analytics, the application of data science and AI are all starting to show some huge potential to provide insights and support critical decision-making in ways that have not been possible to date. Some of this stuff will turn out to be ‘shiny object’ stuff, but there’s definitely some very pragmatic initiatives out there that are showing very real benefits.

I also think that a lot of mining companies have realised that taking technology seriously can enable some significant reshaping of the way they do business through greater automation, more integration of data and insights across their supply chain, and being able to operate leaner and more cost-effectively with real-time operational data at their finger-tips.

In terms of innovation in mining technology what is the major challenge facing the industry right now and why?

Obviously, some of the classic obstacles to innovation relate to mindset and culture, but I think we’re seeing change on that front. And, of course, truly innovative companies require strong and capable leadership, and that’s just not as prevalent as you’d like.

I’m not so concerned about lack of funding because in many ways I’m a firm believer that scarcity and constraint fuel innovation and creativity. One of the areas that I think is needing greater focus is in the area of interoperability because this will drive innovation by diminishing the dominance of proprietary solutions and open up the playing field for others to enter and compete. We’ve had to accept what certain vendors have dished up, but I think that’s now changing and mining customers are starting to work together to get better outcomes for the industry as a whole.

What are the cultural challenges of introducing technological change in a mining company? How do you win ‘hearts and minds?’

It’s not rocket science. It all comes back to taking the time to build relationships, trust and credibility through meeting expectations and getting things done. In our context, nobody enjoys what we call ‘Projects from Perth’ and we’ve found it hugely beneficial on lots of fronts to spend a lot of time at site meeting with our operational users in their context, really getting to understand their jobs and their challenges, and then trying to solve real problems in a collaborative way. You just can’t do this stuff remotely. It takes time and commitment, and sometimes having to forge your way through legacy perceptions of IT or technology being a waste of time or ‘irrelevant’.

How is your company responding to events such as Brumadinho and the need to rethink tailings and water management solutions?

I think most companies have revisited their tailings strategies and facilities to double-check and ensure that the risks have been properly understood and mitigated. In Australia, we’re fairly fortunately that many of our mines are in very remote locations where the threat to human life is not the main issue, but certainly the damage to the environment and impact on reputation and social licence to operate weighs heavily on mining companies following the tragic Brazilian catastrophes.

What is the biggest bottom-line benefit that innovating in technology has bought to your company?

It’s pretty hard to pick out any one item!  We’ve seen great outcomes in everything from IOT experiments to fleet management systems, private LTE communications, and a host of initiatives large and small.  Our technology group is one that operates in a fairly lean way, and we’ve proudly been able to kick some excellent goals with the business, largely by solving the right problems!

Can you tell us a little bit about what you will be speaking at Mines and Technology? 

One of the big themes that we’ve grappled with directly in our own business has been the interaction between IT and OT and, over the past few years, I’ve developed some thoughts around some ideas that I think need to be embraced by the mining sector if we’re to get the very best bang for buck out of our technology spend. It started out as a bit of a cheeky poke at IT, but turned out to strongly resonate with others I’ve shared this with.  Is it time to kill IT?

What is your rationale for attending Mines and Technology London?

I’m always keen to meet new people in the mining industry, especially those who are operating and leading in very different contexts to my own. I’ve actually never attended a mining conference in the UK, so I’m very keen to see who will be there, what the hot issues are, and have some interesting conversations along the way. I always try to pay attention, learn a little, and take home something to apply in my own patch. And, in general terms, anything which combines mining and technology is immediately attractive to me, so I’m looking forward to the experience and the program.

What are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life?

  1. Good to Great by Jim Collins…it’s an oldie but a goodie, and really changed the way I thought about leadership and culture. As a leader, I’m acutely concerned with developing the right culture within my domain because it makes our group not only way more effective at their jobs, but it also makes it a fun place to work.
  2. Getting Things Done by David Allen…helped me manage my world of responsibilities and actions so much more effectively with a simple system and set of principles that have soaked into the way I tackle almost everything. It’s a book I often give others.
  3. A Class with Drucker by William Cohen…loved it because Drucker was smart and remains relevant. I wish I’d been able to have a class with him!
  4. Atomic Habits by James Clear…fantastic book on making change happen in your life, and I wish I’d been able to read this earlier in my life. But, it’s a great book with some tremendous principles, and definitely has application into life and business far beyond just personal habits. It really provides a paradigm for understanding behaviour.

How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a ‘favourite failure’ of yours?

Without going into too much detail, I once entered into a role with huge reservations about the person I was going to be working for as my direct manager, but I thought I could offset that with other things. After going through a very tough year and eventually exiting that organisation, it really reinforced to me the importance of culture and having respect and good relationship with the person you are working for and with. It’s one of the big lessons I pass on to those I mentor, which is something I try to do because I benefitted hugely from people who took the time to proactively mentor me. The old adage is that people don’t leave companies, they leave bosses. I learned that one the hard way and I try to be the kind of boss that is a ‘keeper’.

What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the ‘real world’? What advice should they ignore?

I tell them to go and read (another book!) So Great by Cal Newport, to forget about pursuing their passion, but rather go try stuff and figure out what they’re good at. Once you’ve figured out what you’re good at and where you bring the most to the table, you suddenly find that you might have stumbled on your passion. Most lives are a bit serendipitous, but unfortunately many young people what to get to the end a little too quickly.

What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

Not sure if it’s a recommendation, but it’s definitely a ‘thing’ out there in technology land. Too often we spend too much time telling people what they can’t do, becoming gatekeepers and blockers on innovation and progress, largely because we can’t control it. I tend to take the view that we shouldn’t be saying ‘no’ unless we have a decent alternative to offer up. I’m a firm believer in making quick decisions and keep on moving, rather than slow decisions that cause you to get bogged down. Even if you make wrong decision, if you’re moving at speed you can quickly correct and redirect. Getting bogged and losing momentum is death.

Mark O’Brien, Manager – Digital Transformation, CITIC Pacific Mining Management – Sino Iron Project, will be delivering a presentation at Mines and Technology London, taking place in London, November 25-27, 2019, titled, ‘Is it Time to Kill IT?’

He will also take part in an artificial intelligence Q&A at the International Mining and Resources Conference + EXPO (IMARC), taking place on October 29-31, where he will explore ‘How artificial intelligence is changing the way we explore, mine and operate at CITIC Pacific Mining and the industry as a whole?’

International Mining is a media sponsor of both IMARC and Mines and Technology London. For more information on Mines and Technology London, click here

Clean and future energy strategies on the IMARC agenda

Industry experts will discuss how they are managing energy changes and gaining insights on Australia’s critical mineral supply as a part of this year’s International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC), in Melbourne, Australia, later this month.

Clean and future energy strategies and Australia’s critical minerals supply are key topics for IMARC’s 2019 conference, providing attendees with the opportunity to learn from industry leaders.

As rising energy costs and changing perspectives on sustainability and the environment impact on global mining operations continue to have an effect, particularly those within Australia, discussions on the future of clean energy are essential for all industry professionals, IMARC organisers say.

There has been support from mining, METS, government and industry associations collaborating on ways to manage and overcome issues surrounding Australia’s energy mix.

New partnerships are being developed that focus on clean and alternative energy solutions, coupled with strong government backing for exploration, growth and investment in areas such as renewables and the energy mix.

At this year’s conference, attendees can learn how large-scale hybrid systems are affecting mining operations and overall energy efficient goals in a presentation by juwi Renewable Energy’s Global Head of Hybrid, David Manning, as a part of the energy session. SIMEC Energy Australia Chief Executive, Marc Barrington (pictured), will discuss the company’s renewable focuses for 2020 and beyond.

“The price of energy is a critical input cost in the development of the mining and resources sector in Australia,” Barrington said.

“The National Electricity Market (NEM) is transitioning from fossil-fuel dominated supply to one of renewables backed with storage technologies and is daily dealing with the ‘energy trilemma’ – delivering emissions and price reductions as well as improving reliability.

“This transition is creating input cost uncertainty.

“Mining and resource sector companies can play a critical role in the NEM transition through partnering with businesses such as SIMEC and applying a strategic focus on electricity procurement to access better input cost solutions.

“SIMEC is seeking to create ‘win-win’ customer outcomes and is keen to work closely with all of our customers to achieve this and to enable crucial demand-side response capabilities.

“Securing demand response can reduce the price of electricity as well as improve NEM reliability.”

Barrington remains confident strategic procurement “can secure energy price outcomes at globally competitive prices for Australian businesses trying to compete on the world stage”.

The Energy session will enable professionals to gain insights on what funding and investments are going into the development and deployment of clean energy solutions as well as benefit from government and industry insights into the supply of critical minerals in Australia.

IMARC, developed in collaboration with its founding partners the Victorian State Government of Australia, Austmine, AusIMM and Mines and Money, is where global mining leaders connect with technology, finance and the future. For more information, please visit https://imarcmelbourne.com/

International Mining is a media sponsor of the IMARC event

Future-proofing mineral processing plants

As minerals processing, digital plants and effective plant operations become more important for mining companies, Australia’s largest mining event is set to examine the challenges of processing plants of the future.

Finding intelligent solutions, future-proofing grinding circuits and embracing the opportunities of digitisation will be discussed at the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) in Melbourne next month (October 29-31).

Ahead of the conference, Sandvik Lifecycle Development Manager, Simon Adams; CRC ORE Chief Executive and Managing Director, Ben Adair; and Weir Minerals Global HPGR Product Specialist, Bjorn Dierx, discussed the issues in a special IMARC webinar.

All agreed mining companies faced increased challenges as ore stocks depleted, forcing them to move to more remote locations and dig deeper in a bid to maintain recovery rates of past years.

Dierx, who will deliver an IMARC presentation on dry air classification technology to remove the need for water, said: “Our customers are under immense pressure to reduce energy consumption, use less water and reduce carbon emissions.

“Overall, as commodities are depleting, companies are making large investments in new plants to dig deeper, crush more ore and at remote locations with limited access to power and water to achieve the same recovery rates as the past 20 years.”

He said about 3% of global energy consumption was attributed to crushing rock so greater efficiencies in comminution would make a big contribution to reduced emissions.

For Adair, efficiencies are available now in existing operations.

“It’s important to optimise and run your equipment to the best of its ability,” he said. “Most sites I visit that’s simply not the case. We are a little bit delusional if we think we are there at the moment in a digital sense in optimising various grinding circuits.”

He agreed limited access to water was a critical element.

“It’s interesting water was mentioned. That is one of the major challenges for the industry. It simply won’t have access to potable water and it will have to head rapidly to a closed-loop situation otherwise the costs will be extraordinarily prohibitive,” he said.

“Most of our work is done in the sorting space. . . It’s patently ridiculous and it has been for the past 15 to 20 years that we mine something and stick it through various expensive process plants when in fact 99% of it has no value whatsoever.

“If you are looking at the mine of the future, it is going to be about exploiting heterogeneity at the mine face as opposed to deliberately destroying heterogeneity and looking for homogenous feeds for downstream processing plants.”

The digital transformation at the plant and processing level offered opportunities for miners, with Adams saying the ability to collect and analyse data was crucial.

“If you can have digitisation and automation that moves towards cognitive behaviour, once you get those algorithms down you can have far more efficient plants operating through that process,” he said.

“We have to turn data into knowledge; looking at power consumption and efficiencies and getting to the cognitive stage where we can foresee failures or predicted failures and we can capture them early and shut down in an organised fashion.”

Dierx said digital transformation presented a big opportunity for the industry to attract new people from traditional software programmers and those in the gaming industry to work in the mining industry.

“The big iron ore miners, if those autonomous devices need to be switched off, they use Xbox controllers to correct them. That’s good news for children of today,” he said.

“From an education perspective, there is still some work to be done. Universities need restructuring to ensure we not only educate traditional operators, metallurgists and process engineers but ensure that understanding algorithms and working with digital tools become standard practice.”

IMARC, developed in collaboration with its founding partners the Victorian State Government of Australia, Austmine, AusIMM and Mines and Money, is where global mining leaders connect with technology, finance and the future. For more information, please visit https://imarcmelbourne.com/

International Mining is a media sponsor of the IMARC event

METS companies readying product releases for IMARC

With just over a month to go until the IMARC event in Melbourne, Australia, mining equipment, technology and service (METS) companies are preparing for several product launches across the 12,000 m² expo floor.

According to organisers of the International Mining and Resources Conference and Expo (IMARC), October 29-31, attendees will be the first to see the latest technology and innovations shaping the mining industry.

3D-P will be taking advantage of the 2019 event to promote its latest product, a hybrid LTE/Insta Mesh client, designed to be installed on-board a mine’s heavy mobile equipment.

This hybrid solution solves some of the LTE performance challenges encountered in the mining environment through extended coverage and seamless roaming, according to the company.

Bata Industrials Footwear, meanwhile, will be exhibiting its updated Helix Range with the release of its Beta Industrials Helix safety work boots, styled for the toughest Australian working conditions in multiple leather options and colours, it said.

Bata Industrials is launching its new safety innovation footwear, the PU/RUBBER Mining Gumboot, which combines the benefits of PU with the established slip and heat resistant qualities of a rubber sole.

BlastMovement Technologies is readying its official commercial release of the new Flight Enabled Detector at the 2019 expo. This is a hardware option that offers an alternative to mine operations having to walk the muckpile, post-blast, to retrieve data, the company says.

Electric Vehicle Systems & Technology will be showcasing its newest electric drive system for the first time at the event. The system is installed in a light utility vehicle intended for general mine-site duties, it says.

A global leader in measurement instrumentation, services and solutions for industrial process engineering, Endress & Hauser will be exhibiting the world’s first ever loop powered radiometric density gauge – the FMG50, according to IMARC organisers.

The Gammapilot FMG50 will be one of the most innovative Gamma detector in the market and, as the world’s first true two-wire loop powered Gamma Compact transmitter, has been developed according to the latest SIL standard IEC 61508 (SIL2/3) with Heartbeat Technology being implemented as a differentiator.

MIDECO will be launching the Bat Booth®, a personnel de-dusting system for mines and quarries helping prevent silicosis, black lung and other dust-related diseases.

And, XLM will be launching the Auxiliary Power Unit, which has been built to reduce fuel burn of major mining assets to under one litre per hour while idling, extending service intervals and maximising asset life.

With a showcase of augmented and virtual reality, robotics, AI, autonomous machinery, and sustainable innovations, people looking to attend should take advantage of the free expo pass that is on offer for those who pre-register before 28 October, IMARC organisers said.

For more information please visit https://imarcmelbourne.com/

International Mining is a media sponsor of the IMARC event