Unearthed potential. Harnessing IT and OT in mining

Chris Holmes WA State Manager Linkedin Profile
Unearthed potential. Harnessing IT and OT in mining

Few industries are as rewarding, or as risky, as mining. But the clever application of technology can help organisations hit pay dirt sooner.

Chris Holmes, Brennan’s WA State Manager and Mining Advocate , digs deep into the convergence of IT and OT, how a technology strategy can speed up production outcomes, and why a cohesive tech ecosystem is the bedrock of efficiency.

Mining. Simple in theory and yet fiendishly complex in reality, the art of extraction demands eyewatering capex, colossal manpower, huge reserves of patience, and risk-taking by the tonne.

But the yields are truly extraordinary. Mining and mineral processing deliver $245B to Australia’s annual economy and it is still the countries’ largest industry by almost every measure.

Small wonder operators of every size are leaning into Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT) solutions and systems to extract every ounce of value from their operations. Here’s how the landscape looks.

Success cascades down

Tier 1 operators – those working the large-scale, long-life, low-cost “company making” mines – have sunk enormous capital into IT and OT. And that long-term capital investment is reaping rich rewards.

AI, robotics, and autonomy are all delivering enormous upsides. Improved yields. Nominal downtime. Risk and safety improvements. The upsides run deep. All of which means mid-tier miners now get to reap the benefits.

IT and OT architectural systems – interdependent and convergent – now exist; solutions have been stress tested and refined; systems integration runs smoother; and the costs have shrunk.

The learning’s mining giants and their technology partners have extracted from their IT and OT investments are invaluable. And that backbreaking work is now ready for more organisations to leverage.

In short, the backbreaking work has already been done. Extraction opportunities on tier 2, 3 and 4 deposits mightn’t be as rich as the tier 1 leaders, but the learnings they and their tech partners have gained are invaluable.

Leveraging an experienced technology partner can help frame the conversations around time-to-value in production, as well as time-to-safety increases.

Priming the production pump

Modern mining contains a multitude of moving parts. Telemetry and testing. Command and control. Public and private cloud. Asset availability. A mobile and tethered workforce. The list goes on.

But the equation to unlocking peak output is simple: minimum maintenance debt equals maximum machine availability.

With the tiniest differences in efficiencies having a huge impact on output, organisations with a full 360 overview of operational availability puts you in the box-seat for benefit gains.

And selecting technology partners that enhance operational visibility are vital in helping you prime your production pump. Predictive maintenance schedules lengthen machine run time, maximise output efficiencies, and improve workforce safety.

Shorten the on-ramp to production

Whether developing greenfield or brownfield sites, the lag between identifying a prime site and shipping the mined and refined materials hinges on how quickly you can build your full environment. Missed opportunity costs can lead to months of remediation.

But the development and implementation of technology strategies, built in a hyperscale environment that work on in tandem with your engineering, procurement and construction schedules can deliver early outcomes.

It means that by the time the facility keys land in your hand, your databases are up and running, ISV (Independent Software Vendor) integration is proven, and all the autonomous and fixed plant workloads have been stress tested. All of which can significantly shorten your on-ramp to production.

Building a rock-solid ecosystem

On premise datacentres. SKIDS. Diggers and dozers. Rolling stock. Command and control centres. The staggering breadth of operational and support systems integral to modern mining demand specialist partners who can seamlessly dovetail the disparate parts into one cohesive whole.

As a partner of the Operational Technology Alliance, Brennan can tap into a broad-spectrum of core OEM , Nutanix and strategic partners spanning command and control, public and private cloud, near- and far-edge equipment, and mobile workforce capabilities, ensuring your investments are better aligned.

The complexities of mining are never far from the surface in daily operations. But digging a little deeper to unearth strategic technology strategies and partnerships can yield rich rewards if you know where to look.

Brennan Mining: empowering borderless IT & OT

Check out our mining focused industry page where we discuss the common challenges and pain points experienced in the mining industry and how we are helping our mining customers to identify cost savings and efficiencies across all areas of their operations including commonly overlooked fields such as networks, infrastructure, telecommunications, applications, and wider procurement strategies.

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