Tag Archives: The Global Mining Guidelines Group

Battery-electric vehicles dominate in GMG Electric Mine project survey

A survey aimed at defining priorities for the GMG Electric Mine Operational Knowledge Sharing Platform project has highlighted that despite the rise of other diesel-alternative technologies, battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) continue to be the area of focus for the mine electrification community.

Respondents to the survey were asked about what types of equipment to prioritise, with haul trucks and LHD trucks coming up top out of all equipment and BEVs topping the results when it came to electric equipment types.

In terms of the latter, BEVs beat off competition from hydrogen fuel cells, trolley assist systems and tethered equipment, commanding more than three quarters of the votes.

GMG remarked: “Some commentators noted that this will be different depending on underground or open pit (eg BEVs underground, trolley for open pit), so this result may be skewed due to the large representation of underground mining in the survey.”

In the survey, performance was noted as the highest priority in terms of types of information that will provide value, GMG said.

However, the results of the workshops held under the project identified that there would be certain types of information that can be used to provide value in overlapping areas (eg they may help operations make performance comparisons and also identify operational or maintenance needs).

Highlights include:

  • Information about the daily cycle and time usage in comparison to diesel;
  • Identifying what information should be available in real time;
  • Information or metrics for comparing charging strategies;
  • Information for assessing and updating charging infrastructure;
  • Training information for operators, safety personnel and maintenance technicians; and
  • Information on heat generation.

And the following priorities were identified in the survey and workshops when it came to the uses of this information:

  • Understanding capital and operating costs;
  • Developing the business case;
  • Developing a charging philosophy and strategy;
  • Understanding safety requirements and improving safety; and
  • Understanding infrastructure, design and planning requirements.

The GMG noted: “These results may be influenced by the higher representation of underground mining professionals and that 64% of respondents are North American and similar representation at the workshops.”

The survey was open between April and June 2020 with 95 respondents (as of June 9). Underground mining was more heavily represented than surface, but many respondents specialised in both, according to GMG. Professionals (engineers, geologists, metallurgists, etc) were the most highly represented (26%) while corporate senior management (17%) and corporate technology leaders (17%) were also well represented.

The GMG Electric Mine Operational Knowledge Sharing Platform project aims to create a neutral platform to capture performance data for electric surface and underground equipment based on the industry’s knowledge and experience, GMG says.

GMG helping miners leverage machine learning

The Global Mining Guidelines Group (GMG) has published a new whitepaper that, it hopes, will better equip mining companies to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-learning technologies.

The Foundations of AI: A Framework for AI in Mining offers an overview of the process of planning for and implementing AI solutions for mining companies, GMG said.

GMG explained: “AI-based innovation is being used increasingly in the mining industry as a means to improve processes and decision-making, derive value from data and increase safety, but the levels of operational maturity are variable across the industry.

“Though many mining stakeholders are adopting AI, there is still uncertainty about the technology and how it can be harnessed in the mining industry.”

This white paper – developed collaboratively through workshops, conference calls and online collaboration tools – addresses a variety of concerns, such as the challenge of establishing data infrastructure, apprehensions about the effect on the workforce and worries about failure after investing substantial time and funds into an AI project, GMG said. “It offers a realistic strategy for building a foundation for planning, implementing and moving forward with AI.”

The primary audience is those in charge of introducing or expanding the use of AI in mining companies, according to GMG.

Rob Johnston, Project Manager at CITIC Pacific Mining and GMG AI Project Leader, says: “There has been a recent explosion in the application of AI in industry, and this document aims to assist mining companies to fully embrace this exciting technology and drive business value.”

Having this information available will also help cut through the hype that surrounds AI, according to GMG.

Andrew Scott, GMG Vice-Chair Working Groups and Principal Innovator at Symbiotic Innovations, said: “Although mining stakeholders generally recognise the value of understanding the technology, many are intimidated by the concept and see expertise in AI as a very specialised knowledge set, so this will help them start off on the right foot.”

This document will also be useful for those who are part of the ecosystem that surrounds mining companies, which comprises those assisting in applying the technology, culture and safety considerations and regulatory frameworks that are necessary for a successful AI strategy, according to GMG.

Speaking from his perspective as a solution provider, Kevin Urbanski, CTO at Rithmik Solutions, says the white paper will provide “current and future customers with a macro view of artificial intelligence and related solutions”, while helping mining operations to “identify opportunities to apply these powerful algorithms within their organisations.”

He added: “Mining companies know best what their needs are, and this document will help them match those needs with what’s possible.”

Urbanski thinks the document will also help to standardise communications around the technology, saying it will “provide great level-setting, ensuring that we and our customers are speaking the same language when talking about AI”.

Johnston, meanwhile, says that while this publication is an important step, the document will be reviewed and updated as needed: “The field of AI moves so fast that this will be a document that will be updated regularly in order to remain relevant to the industry.”