Western Australia: The Silicon Valley of Miners

Many other industry sectors have the agility to introduce and integrate new technologies quickly and seamless – mining isn’t always so fortunate. The capital-intensive nature of the industry makes it challenging and risky to invest in new technologies and ways of working. However, smart technologies are helping more businesses become intelligent enterprises with automated procedures and data-driven decision making, so it’s time for mining to capitalise on this digital shift.

Technology can be a differentiator for the new revolution of mining entities. Lowering the cost of entry for mining operators is more realistic today, thanks to the evolution of cloud & intelligent emerging technologies. Drone technology for example is helping to reduce exploration and mine maintenance costs. Mine mapping and specialist-parts construction is more effective thanks to 3D imaging and printing. Automated mines are minimising the cost, human error, and injury associated with mining. The constant evolution of technological solutions is leveling the playing field for industry newcomers while bringing innovative new practices to established mining companies. With the ability to now scale quickly, and cost effectively using software as a service solutions, businesses can implement best in class solutions from Day 1, eliminating the need to change platforms as the capability requirements increase as businesses grow and adapt. Platform changes are disruptive and the last thing executives will want during these exciting times.

SAP has long played a major role in creating efficiencies for mining operators – but traditionally only large organisations have capitalised on the company’s expertise and solutions. Every mining organisation, no matter how large or small, needs to be extremely conscious of the risk versus reward proposal, which is why building the capabilities of an intelligent enterprise should be a simple choice for all miners. With the right platform and technology for analysing data in real time and bringing operational data sources together with organisation wide processes (finance, HR, contractor, planning, maintenance, supply chain, procurement, sales), SAP solutions can streamline mining operations while reducing operating costs and risks. Furthermore, since solutions are produced in collaboration with SAP’s clients, miners receive industry aligned solutions that develop and scale according to the organisation’s needs.

Data-driven mining

A recent report from Deloitte highlighted that many of Western Australia’s top mining organisations are benefiting from the rising global demand for battery technology and the electrification of mining vehicles. Companies with the foresight to invest in these new technologies, and the corresponding demands created, are seeing firsthand how the industry is changing and are adapting their business models quickly to capitalise on the shifting markets.

The report also noted that the largest mover in terms of market capitalisation was mining equipment retail supplier Emeco. According to the Deloitte WA Index, Emeco increased its market capitalisation by 340.5% from AU$253 million to AU$1,113 million during the year ended 30 June 2018. “Emeco has recently focused on using big data to drive smarter mining via its proprietary fleet management and mining technology platform, which is used to measure and stream fleet payload performance, dig rates, operational efficiency and machine utilisation in real time,” the report stated.

Emeco is just one example of how mining companies are unlocking the potential of big data and automation to give them a competitive market advantage. This technology is creating efficiencies across the mining sector and now is the time for companies to realise and capitalise by reducing the operational and management costs of a mining site. In my opinion, this can only be achieved if all the data and information is available to make decisions in real time, 24 hours a day, allowing decisions to be made based on events happening throughout a shift.

The resource sector is no stranger to using technology to drive significant advancement across their operations but with the ability to now join data sources across the enterprise, automating and learning from its own processes, using intelligent technologies, companies can reduce operational costs, reduce safety incidents and improve compliance whilst becoming more environmentally conscious than ever before.

For more information on how SAP can digitalise your company and transform it into an intelligent enterprise,  feel free to visit our Mining digital hub.