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Big Data Analytics : the Hottest Disruptive Technology in Mining Right Now?

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Big Data Analytics : the Hottest Disruptive Technology in

Mining Right Now?
Contributor: Megan Edwards
Posted: 07/13/2014 12:00:00 AM EDT | 0

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Tags: big data | big data 2014 | big data analytics

Data analysis is not a new thing in mining. However, the volume and most importantly the extent to which big data
analysis is now being used in the sector has taken off over the last 12 24 months. Major companies like Rio Tinto
and BHP Billiton are unsurprisingly leading the way (and investment levels) with huge projects, but they are far from
being the only organisation to uptake the big data trend.

Weve seen value immediately. The world is talking about big data and how you use it.
Sam Walsh, CEO, Rio Tinto, March 2014
Fortescue Metals earlier this year, as reported by IT News, were well on their way to achieving an impressive
$30million in savings thanks to intelligent use of real-time productivity reporting that was shared with its field
operations teams at Cloudbreak iron ore mine.
Impressively FMGL compiled data from fleet management systems as well as their plant SCADA system in order to
identify and fix problems that can occur during each shift, or of course spot efficiency or productivity gains
opportunities, such as redirecting a truck from one area of the pit to another. This is a big leap from excel document
analysis at the end of each shift. Vito Forte, CIO of Fortescue said The lessons learned from this project are being
applied to numerous other projects that can have direct, measurable benefit to Fortescue.


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Panaust have also been using real time data acquired from their SCADA system in the plant to help maximise plant
productivity and efficiency, plus improve the utilisation of fleet equipment. Panaust overhauled their process control
system at the Phu Kham copper plant in Laos, using a 5 tier hierarchy approach through the upgrade. Once they
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The benefits seen from this project (which Mining IQ reported on in much fuller detail back in May) were extensive,
including a rise in the volume of copper recovered, equipment availability increase of 9%, equipment utilisation (of
both plant and fleet) improvement of 11% and operating time increased by 12%.
Iluka Resources have also been avidly jumping on the multi-million dollar saving bandwagon that is big data,
focusing on their metallurgical accounting system. Its been an ongoing journey, as big data projects typically are,
working closely with their supplier in order to make sure the end system does just what Iluka needs it to for their
purposes. Both Iluka and Fortescue emphasised the importance of getting teams involved in any big data project or
system upgrade. In the case of Fortescue, they involved IT, Business Improvement and Operations. Iluka brought
together IT, Process Engineers, Metallurgists and Commercial to help standardise processes, and configure and test
the new system.
Rio Tinto, unsurprisingly, has fully embraced big data and claims to have saved over $80 million through tracking
data from both their processing plants and trucks. Their Processing Excellence Centre in Brisbane is the latest
development in their Mine of the Future technology and innovation programme and allows them to see processing 15-07-2014

Big Data Analytics : the Hottest Disruptive Technology in Mining Right Now?

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data from 7 operations around the world including Mongolia, the USA and Australia and make real-time decisions
through a giant interactive screen. This has already helped them to increase recovery rates of copper and gold at the
Oyu Tolgoi processing plant in Mongolia.
BHP Billiton has also secured hundreds of millions of dollars in savings through big data, partly through their 1SAP
project and sharing data enterprise wide which allowed significant improvements in maintenance planning and
scheduling, plus procurement due to a better understanding of global spend on certain categories.

Contributor: Megan Edwards

Interview with Karan-Sumbaly,

Senior Electrical & Control
Systems Engineer, Rio Tinto

Event Industry Preview: Big

Data Analytics in Mining and
Driving Actionable Intelligence

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