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Digitisation boosts performance across mining’s value chain

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Mining digitisation connects key assets in and across the mine and across the mining value chain, including people, technology, and processes. Image credit: iOCO

Digitisation boosts performance across mining’s value chain

It has been proven that digitisation boosts performance and production across the mine value chain. In this article Alana de Wet (A), iOCO’s Industry Lead for Mining, Energy and Industrials, discuss the transformative power of digitisation in enhancing mine performance.

WhyAfrica (WA) Why should the mining sector fully embrace the trend of digitisation?

A: Technology is a key driver of competitive advantage as the digital and physical realms are merging. The mining industry cannot afford to ignore this trend because mining digitisation connects key assets in and across the mine and across the mining value chain, including people, technology, and processes. This results in improved operational performance by enhancing visibility across the mining value chain and enabling real-time decisions based on current information. Mines can respond to changes in production, supply and customer conditions with greater speed and agility.

WA: Data is key to digitisation. How do mining groups efficiently ‘harvest’ it?

A: It is possible for mines to transition to an operational environment where they collect and interpret relevant data to reduce business and operational complexities while optimising performance. Data is typically gathered from processes and equipment. To ensure solutions deliver the necessary benefits and scalability, adopting a holistic approach that focuses on processes, people, and technology investments is crucial.

Alana de Wet (A), iOCO’s Industry Lead for Mining, Energy and Industrials. Image credit: iOCO

WA: What drives a holistic approach in digitisation?

A: Digitisation and process improvement are intricately linked; you can’t achieve one without the other. Therefore, miners must prioritise processes over technology alone, ensuring optimisation and integration across the entire mine value chain.

WA: Now, talking tech. What should we consider for digitisation?

A: Digitisation should enhance visibility into operations and business, transforming information into a valuable organisational asset. It must facilitate data-driven decision-making, making connectivity and the integration of sensors and data crucial focal points in technology investments. These elements also serve as the foundation for broader organisational digital transformation.

WA: What characterises data-driven decision-making?

A: Data collected during production should serve as an input in business processes, empowering mine employees to make necessary modifications or notifications for performance improvement, breakdown prevention, or expedited tasks. To contextualise and derive meaningful insights from data, a comprehensive solution spanning different departments is essential. This may involve incorporating data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, predictive analytics, and digital twin technologies.

WA: Digitisation boosts mine performance. How does it increase return on investment and what’s vital for organisations to fully leverage its power?

A: Digitisation significantly enhances performance across all functions in the mine value chain by empowering informed decision-making. It has the most significant impact in areas with real-time information potential, leading to a higher return on invested capital. To fully leverage digitisation, an organisation needs technological proficiency and an appreciation for the value of information and the power of informed decision-making.


WA: Delving into the implementation stage. What key steps define a winning strategy?

A: To implement a digitisation strategy effectively, begin by defining the target architecture encompassing data collection, connection, digestion, and integration. Develop a growth-aligned digital roadmap grounded in an integrated architecture framework. Evaluate technology options according to business priorities, creating a business case for each solution based on practical application and ROI assumptions. Architect the chosen solution within the overall framework, highlighting risks and dependencies. Oversee implementation, evaluating success through user acceptance and operational value. Finally, integrate learned lessons into digital programme governance, all driven by clear target values for the digitisation agenda and strategy.

iOCO is an end-to-end transformation and technology integration partner to the mining industry.

 Digitisation boosts performance across mining’s value chain

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Digitisation boosts performance across mining’s value chain

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