Backed by its esteemed software division, RPMGlobal has developed an end-to-end ESG solution that considers the project lifecycle from start to finish.
For more than 50 years, RPMGlobal (RPM) has been the mining industry’s trusted partner for advisory, consultancy and software.
The company has constantly evolved its capability and on its path to fostering better and more sustainable mining practices, RPM has also become a leader in industry training.
RPM’s next development sees it harnessing the world of environmental, social and governance (ESG) to assist companies in understanding their business profile and reputational risks.
While RPM has provided ESG-specific services for years, it acquired Australia-based ESG services company Nitro Solutions in June 2021 and established its dedicated ESG division, before adding environmental consultancy services firm Blueprint Environmental Strategies in September 2021.
Acquiring a copy of ESG-focused software Eden Suite in December 2021, RPM has a world-leading platform at its disposal with the flexibility to further extend, integrate and develop software specifically aimed at the sustainability space.
With the foundations set, the company’s ESG service offerings are now in high demand and, according to RPMGlobal executive consultant David O’Brien, it’s supporting clients on both the operator and investor sides of the coin.
“(The challenge) can be approached from two sides. There’s the operator/issuer side – the people with mining projects that are looking to raise capital. Then there’s the investor/lender side,” he said.
“(The investment side relates) to people with money looking for a home. And there’s been a huge investor focus on ESG in recent years – nobody wants to end up in the papers for the wrong reasons – but it now goes beyond that to issues like climate commitments that various banks or investment funds have made.
“(Investors are looking to) exclude any investments from their portfolio that they don’t consider to be meeting their standards on ESG.”
ESG can be considered from hundreds of angles. When it comes to advising on a framework, RPM sits down with its clients to understand their immediate landscape.
“We workshop with companies to identify the frameworks that best reflect their values and the issues they’re dealing with,” O’Brien said. “We look at their stakeholder concerns, whether that’s investors or lenders, their customers … and the community, however you define that and whoever is impacted.
“Then the next step is to look where they are on the road to alignment with those frameworks.
“Where RPM is unique is and offers competitive value is the advantage of truly understanding the issues related to mining, and mining’s investors and customers.
“We understand where there are gaps in clients’ alignment towards specific projects that need closing. Things like a decarbonisation study or haulage analysis, to provide value you need to deeply understand mining and associated processes, and this is where RPM can go the step further and help with the implementation.”
Having supported the mining industry through decades of evolution and advancement, RPM understands the sector’s workings back to front. It’s an expertise of the entire mining value chain, from the mining companies to the mining equipment, technology and services (METS) companies, investors and beyond.
This is just one trait that separates RPM’s ESG solution from the competition.
“It is our deep domain expertise in mining and mining-related infrastructure that makes us stand out,” O’Brien said. “We also have the technology to support it. We have a very sophisticated software business that we are able to lean on to support the strategy that’s developed.
“This could be simulations to see how your mine will run with electric trucks, financial modelling to see what the cost of that upfront investment will do to your life-of-mine financial model, or mine scheduling to determine the optimum ground disturbance.”
In an ever-digitising mining industry where expertise in software and technology is at a premium, RPM’s ability to provide both ESG and digital expertise is a significant differentiator. O’Brien elaborated on RPM’s software capabilities.
“Our ESG knowledge and these types of criteria and decisions are feeding into the ongoing innovation of that software and adding features that support decision-making around these aspects,” he said.
Whether RPM is consulting a mining or METS company, a lender or investor, ESG poses many different questions that necessitate critical thinking, creativity and flexibility. In many situations, having access to a versatile software offering is critical.
“When talking about mine decarbonisation, not all mines are necessarily suited to electric trucks,” O’Brien said. “It depends on the maturity of the pit, the type of mineralisation and maybe certain pinch points. It needs careful consideration; if all your trucks are queuing up waiting to replace their batteries, then you’re not moving dirt.
“So it’s about looking at those kinds of issues, making the most of the existing software offering and adopting it to some of these challenges.”
RPM recently completed a haulage decarbonisation analysis for a major international mining company to assist in the decarbonisation of its operations. It was imperative for the miner to reduce its diesel-fuel usage.
The company suggested the possibility of electrifying its haulage operation, through technologies not just limited to the trucks, but also the overhead trolley line infrastructure and other integrations.
This specific combination of technologies had never been applied to mining and RPM had no existing reference on which to base its solution.
Nevertheless, RPM adopted a dynamic and strategic approach to the project scope that enabled solutions to be developed and changed in response to study results and client feedback.
RPM was able to utilise its open-pit metals scheduling solution, OPMS, and discrete event simulation tool, HAULSIM, to model options to chart the volume of diesel that could be saved, and the depth of battery discharge required.
This was just the beginning of RPM’s solution for the mining company and while it addressed one key concern for the client, RPM has ESG capabilities built into its software solutions.
RPMGlobal considers the project lifecycle from start to finish and nothing is unachievable, whether a client needs assistance on initial approvals, requires advice on mine closure and rehabilitation, or anything in between.
This feature originally appeared in the April issue of Australian Resources & Investment.