The Role of Data Analytics in Improving Mining Production Processes

The Role of Data Analytics in Improving Mining Production Processes
9 min read
I have been working for many mining conglomerates as an IT solution provider. Most of the mining companies are into extracting the valuable minerals. It might sound simple, but it isn't that simple at all. Trust me, the mining industry is a complex and challenging sector. Companies operates in the mining requires human resource, equipment, infrastructure and transport vehicles. And this leads to a significant amount of investment.
Every business looks for a good return on the investments irrespective of industry. In mining the investments are the highest what I can understand from my experience. Along with investments, these companies must qualify to a range of environmental guidelines. Making profit often seems difficult for companies with huge investment and sustainability challenges. Additionally, mining companies operate in remote areas, so attracts more investment on logistics.
To make a good profit in the mining sector, most companies are leveraging technology. Technological interventions helps companies to imrove performance. Whether it's to check the fraud, monitor the production or qualifying quality guidelines. Data analytics is one such vertical in the technology that's helping the mining companies.
Today I will be uncovering some facts on data analytics in mining industry. And how it helps in improving the production monitoring and companies bottom-line.
Mining is an industry that is heavily reliant data from various operations. The data comes from many automated operations in the mining sector and IoT devices. Data is something that can help in taking decisions towards betterment.
These data can provide an insight to improve performance and help to take a decision that impacts. Data shows the area of improvements allowing companies in taking the right decision. The data analytics process extracts the data and show in an organized dashboard. Which allows companies to improve production and reduce costs with the data-driven decisions.

1. Data Analytics for Production Monitoring

Data analytics has proven to be particularly useful in mining production monitoring. Production monitoring systems uses sensors to track the performance of equipment in real-time. Equipment can range from machineries used for mining to trucks or vehicles used for transport. This system collect data from various sources such as sensors, equipment, and workers. The data collected here are sent to a centralized data analytics system. Then data analytics combine all these data to provide valuable insights. Which helps the mining companies to gain a better understanding of their operations. And also helps in identifying areas for improvement to reduce the overall cost.
Data such as equipment utilization, downtime, and maintenance can provide insights into the performance of the equipment.
Likewise, the data analytics identify that a particular truck is consuming more fuel than expected. Then this could indicate a problem with the engine or transmission that's affecting the performance. Thus allows the mining company to take actionable steps to improve the performance.
In mining sector, data analytics for production monitoring is an essential tool to improve efficiency, reduce downtime, and increase profit.

2. Data Analytics To Improve Efficiency

Data analytics can also be used to improve the efficiency of mining processes. Mining is a complex process as I told earlier. It involves many different stages, from exploration and planning to extraction and processing. Software solutions are used to collect the data from each stage and send to a data analytics system. Then the data analytics system allows mining companies to gain a visibility on the performance of each stage. Which allows the mining companies to take intelligent decisions on improving the efficiency.
If you are into mining, you might know the importance of blasting. Blasting is the process which us used to break rocks to extract minerals.
Imagine, the blasting process shut down due to break down. You can estimate the loss the mining company has to bear. This is where data analytics can bring a better impact.
How data analytics can here? Data from the blasting sites are received using sensors to the central data system. The data could be vibration, air pressure, noise levels etc etc,. Data analytics system can analyze this data to provide areas for improvement. This is for a single stage out of many stages. Data analytics can provide an insight for all the stages. Which in turn will improve the mining companies' efficiency.

3. Data Analytics for Predictive Maintenance

Data analytics can be used to improve mining operations is in predictive maintenance. Mining companies operates 24/7 without taking a rest. And I told earlier that mining companies use a lots of equipment and machineries. In terms of human resource, companies use shifts to maintain a better coordination. But in terms of machines it's a little difficult. That's where the predictive maintenance comes in. Predictive maintenance is the process of using data to predict when equipment is likely to fail or need maintenance. To improve the operational efficiency it's important to maintain/repair the machines before it breaks down. Sensors are used to collect data from the equipment sends the data to the analytics system. Data analytics then match the data with the historical maintenance records by identifying the patterns and trends. Data analytics predicts when the machine could fail and suggest the next maintenance. Which helps the mining companies in reducing downtime and maintenance costs, and improve equipment reliability.
For example, data analytics can predict when a conveyor belt is likely to fail. Or can predict when a large excavator is likely to experience a hydraulic failure.
By performing maintenance, the mining companies can reduce downtime. And hence can improve the overall equipment effectiveness using predictive maintenance.

4. Data Analytics for Safety Measures

Data analytics can also improve safety in mining operations. Mining is a dangerous industry that poses many risks to workers. To outline some risks such as exposure to hazardous materials, accidents, and injuries. Data analytics can collect data from safety inspection audits and from historical incidents. That could be a site in the mining pit where extra safety measures are required. Or could be a machine or equipment that's overused and about to breakdown.
Based on these insights, mining companies can take proactive measures to address safety issues. Mining companies can achieve significant improvements in safety using data analytics. This can result in a safer work environment for employees, reduced risk of accidents, and improved compliance with safety regulations.
One example of how data analytics can improve safety in mining operations. Imagine, the slip and fall accidents are more common in certain areas of the mine. Data analytics system can bring this into companies notice. Data analytics system can also suggest the precaution to take like adding more lights, or anti-slip coats etc,. By addressing this kind of issues, mining companies can reduce the risk of accidents.

5. Data Analytics for Sustainability

Sustainability is one the compliance standard that companies have to qualify to mine. Failed to which might terminate the mining contract for the company. Data analytics could help in improving the sustainability in mining operations. Mining is a resource-intensive industry that has a significant impact on the environment.
Data analytics can analyze environmental impacts to identify areas of impact. It can also suggest strategies for sustainable resource use. Some of the environmental factors those can help in taking decision are air quality, water quality, energy consumption, biodiversity etc,. Mining companies can gain insights into the environmental impact using data analytics.
Imagine the data analytics tool identifies a significant impact on local water quality. The mining companies can implement water treatment systems to improve the sustainability.
A more sustainable mining operation can reduce the environmental damage. Which not only helps in improved operation but also in compliance with environmental regulations.
The Role of Data Analytics in Improving Mining Production Processes
Data analytics plays a significant role in improving mining production processes. Data from production monitoring systems to safety regulations can be analyzed using a central data analytics system. Which in turn bring in visibility to mining companies on the scope of improvement. This can lead to increased production, reduced costs, improved safety, and enhanced sustainability. Mining industry today becomes reliant on technology and data. The use of analytics will continue to be a key driver of innovation and success in the mining industry.
With this blog I tried to make you understand the potential impact of data analytics in the mining industry.
Are you considering implementing a data analytics tool for your mining company? Check out the benefits it can bring to your mining operations. And please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments to add more value to the article.
Judy Macias 2
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