IM February 2024 February 24 | Page 40

The addition of Deswik and its mine design , scheduling and planning portfolio has allowed Sandvik to reach upstream areas of the mine development stage
Newtrax , AutoMine and Polymathian businesses : an assortment of companies able to provide data feedback and automated end-to-end process optimisation .
Toodu , Director , Strategic Product Portfolio Management at the division , says the customer feedback on this offering has been strong , with requests continuing to come through about how the division and its solutions can improve mining operation efficiencies .
She explained : “ A lot of the mines that are digitally advanced have different solutions from different providers and end up integrating them themselves . In some ways , they become the software developers , diverting their attention away from their primary mission : to mine the orebodies they have .”
The addition of Deswik and its mine design , scheduling and planning portfolio is a standout here , allowing Sandvik to reach upstream areas of the mine development stage .
Mats Eriksson , President of Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions , said as much during the recent Sandvik Capital Markets Day : “ When you find a new orebody , you need to plan how to extract it and Deswik has this capability . So , already , when we see a greenfield project , Deswik is getting involved .”
Toodu said Deswik OEM-agnostic solutions have provided the Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions business area with the opportunity to “ close the loop ” from mine design , to operations , connected fleet and then autonomous execution , allowing data to be fed up- and down-stream into different time horizons , phases of planning and operations management .
Polymathian is then able to further elevate decision making by applying industrial mathematics to maximise value across key areas
of the value chain , such as optimising mine planning , production , processing , logistics and marketing . This decision automation capability can then be applied in a real-time production environment to enable operations to adapt to ever-changing conditions to ensure productivity is always optimised .
All four business units and the opportunities they offer have allowed the division to engage with customers on their future digital roadmaps , according to Toodu .
“ This is helping the customers as well as allowing us to focus and prioritise areas of software development in the near- , medium- and long-term ,” she said .
“ Our vision is a fully integrated , OEM-agnostic solution for self-planning , self-optimising , autonomous operation ,” Toodu said .
Block caving – considered as close to an industrial operation as you get in underground mining and an area where Polymathian ’ s solutions have already been adopted – is an area where this vision is closer to reality , yet there is potential to apply this vision in all types of dynamic environments .
“ We are working on automating the data exchange between the various parts of the value chain to ensure that learnings downstream come into the upstream mine plan ,” Toodu added . “ Ideally , we want to , for example , automatically notify the drill planner after we change a drill hole location to amend the charging plan , if needed .”
Further advancements could see information from Newtrax collision avoidance and proximity detection systems fed back into upstream mine design to test out different mine plan scenarios that may alleviate downstream traffic interactions .
“ Right now , this type of automation is one of our focus areas ,” Toodu said . “ First , we want to make sure there is a smooth flow between the underground operation and the surface oversight , as well as ensuring there is an optimised data workflow and data governance plan in place .”
It is easy to visualise just how powerful this proposition could be in a mine of the future , removing the inefficient layers of process associated with data entry , data handoff , short interval control and the like , replacing them with automated functions on automated equipment .
And , speaking of equipment , Toodu says her colleagues in the equipment business are starting to reap the benefits of this enlarged digital platform .
“ A strong digital and automated offering is enabling us to sell more equipment , for sure , with the modelling capabilities showcasing how autonomous and electrified fleets can be easily implemented and provide significant value ,” Toodu said .
“ The Digital Mining Technologies division is a strong business on its own that has shown double digit growth , year-over-year . It also has a differentiated subscription-based revenue model that provides stability throughout the cycles .
“ I expect the growth and the wider synergies we are already seeing in the early stages of this digital integration to continue into the future , with more mining operations realising the benefits of using such an integrated offering .”
Secure and sustainable software
RPMGlobal noted a greater interest in integrating process-driven decision making from its clients of late , all with the aim of ensuring a “ greater compliance to plan ”.
The Australia-based company has a suite of products that , it says , generates value at every level of a mining organisation , yet it says integrating features up- and down-stream of points in the value chain provide the most return for investment .
“ With SOT ( a strategic financial optimisation tool ) and Enterprise Optimiser ( mine scheduling ), for example , organisations will look at optimising capital and strategic decisions , which are then passed to MinePlanner to determine the optimal mining schedule ,” the company told IM . “ This is published by way of integration to both XECUTE and ShiftManager for the short-term scheduling and execution , which is only made possible with enterprise integrated solutions and solutions that ensure there is consistency at each level of the planning process .”
Such functionality is being leveraged in sustainability and emission-related decision making by mining companies , according to RPM , with the company ’ s scheduling , optimisation and financial products factoring in the emission profiles of one mine plan or scenario over alternatives at the same time as forecasting and optimising schedule and budgets .
“ While mine planning has traditionally aimed
38 International Mining | FEBRUARY 2024