Real-time data analysis failings are hurting miners' brand.
A lack of real-time data analysis capabilities in the mining sector is failing workforces, communities, and the environment.
I've often spoken about the data problems that miners (and other) businesses are facing, equating it to being the 'missing piece' in enabling the sector to achieve its strategic and sometimes lofty objectives. Whilst true, this failure is having other immediate, more serious consequences in the mining sector.
The inability to integrate data sources, collate in-field real-time metrics to provide an accurate picture of what's occurring on the ground, and to rapidly analyze the data to give predictive insights as to what's about to happen to assist with short interval control decision-making, is not only leading to a failure in terms of performance, but it is leading to harm.
Real-time data analysis stops (real and reputational) harm before it occurs.
In the simplest terms: the mining sector is under the microscope more than ever before. Every death, leak, carbon release, or ESG failing is reported on and impacts the individuals involved through to the share price of the businesses responsible for them.
What's more, the existence (or not) of these shortcomings is now a significant lens through which capital investment is assessed, governments (directed by the populous zeitgeist) legislate, and brands are judged.
The Industry 4.0 revolution has created an answer to the problems outlined above. The adoption of a new, foundational piece of technology is critical if businesses are to find answers to the 'zero' challenges (harm, carbon and waste) because it gives miners a way of not only mitigating the impacts of an incident, but the ability to prevent it from ever happening in the first place - prevention is always better than cure.
‘Not more technology!’, I hear exclaimed, but let me explain - it’s actually about doing more with what is already in place.
How next generation Sustainability Performance Platforms can change the game (and what they are).
A Sustainability Performance Platform (SPP) is a Hybrid Cloud SaaS technology upon which ready-to-use sustainability solutions and your own applications can be built to achieve specific or overarching business objectives - it's only limited by the data that's connected to it and the number of business challenges that you set it.
Capable of 100% interoperability with existing systems, it has the ability to analyze all your data instantly to provide accurate real-time monitoring, apply machine learning simultaneously to give predictive analytics, plus the Industry 4.0 functionality necessary to take immediate action following custom business logic (automations) or via AI-led intervention.
In practice, what this means is that it can provide those in the field with accurate real-time measures, trigger alarms and alert personnel to current or forthcoming problems, or intervene should machine learning algorithms detect anomalies in performance or other data that are likely to lead to an incident. Use case situations where this could occur include:
- Real-time catastrophic failure prevention. A Sustainability Performance Platform (SPP) can be used to analyze real-time data measures from plant and implement fail-safe machinery shutdowns should a catastrophic failure be impending. It does this by understanding operational norms, the outcome of previous breaches of them and by being able to identify from real-time measures where recovery won’t be possible; directing machinery to shut down immediately.
- Real-time environmental monitoring. Using the technology, miners can unite real-time data feeds from sensors on-site with internal systems and third-party data sources to deliver readily accessible, accurate real-time environmental monitoring. This can be used in the boardroom and field at all stages of a mine’s lifetime. It also unlocks other benefits, such as: fault and leak detection, geo fencing, reduced energy consumption, compliance guidance, remote tracking, plant class comparisons.
- Establish real-time employee safety + environmental scores. Through the analysis of real-time data monitoring via technologies such as drones, wearables, or other in-field sensors, a Sustainability Performance Platform (SPP) can monitor employee performance based on individual aspects of their role, such as how safe they’re being within operational norms. This could help identify when, for example, an employee is distracted, tired, regularly following rules, or could be about to make a mistake that would lead to serious environmental consequences.
- Aggregated risk profiling. The platform enables the creation of algorithms that can better explore the impact of certain activities on others to establish true risks via aggregated profiling. For example, the impact that atmospheric conditions can have on a tailings dam and when that becomes a problem.
- Deliver proximity alerts + real-time Permit To Work. Many of the injuries and deaths that occur on mining sites are due to people being in the wrong place at the wrong time, doing something that they shouldn’t be doing (e.g. using a tool close to electric cabling), or through an unforeseen failure resulting in an action, such as inundation, gas explosion or rock fall. A Sustainability Performance Platform (SPP) enables you to, via the use of wearables and the real-time monitoring of environmental and mine conditions, aggregate data in real-time and identify when someone is going to come to harm, sending alerts before an injury occurs.
Immediate improvement is possible - the technology challenge has been solved and it's affordable for all - so it's no longer good enough for mining companies in the developed world to be failing to provide their workforces and decision-makers with the insights that they need to prevent harm.
I4 Mining is a sustainability technology provider to the mining sector, offering ready-to-deploy ESG solutions that help miners to succeed both strategically and operationally without ever getting in the way of good business.
Our solutions enable you to easily develop strategies, deliver accurate sustainability metrics and reports in real-time, improve sustainability and business performance, as well as make predictive analytics and forecasts part of your everyday so that you can reduce risks and optimise from mine-to-market.
Speak to us today to book a demo and discover how you can get started on your digital sustainability journey.
Want to know about industrial AI + IoT more broadly?
If you'd like to find out more about the technology that underpins all of our digital mining solutions, other industrial uses of AI + IoT, or are eager to get into the detail of precisely what AI and IoT technology are then visit the Rayven blog.