Element 25 has joined forces with digital transformation specialist I4 Mining as the company looks to streamline its business and the Butcherbird manganese operation.
Element 25 is building a world-class zero-carbon manganese business, with its Butcherbird project in Western Australia becoming a key piece in the global electric vehicle (EV) puzzle.
Butcherbird has a nameplate production capacity of 365,000 tonnes per annum and, after achieving a record production day in January, the project is operating at full tilt as it optimises production and transitions through a four-stage development timeline.
Organisational transformation requires a trusted partner and as Element 25 grows, the company has teamed up with combined artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) platform, I4 Mining.
Launched by Rayven in October 2021, I4 Mining’s suite of interoperable digital mining solutions is designed to help miners quickly adopt Industry 4.0 technology while delivering measurable results and ensuring profitability in the present from pit to port.
I4 Mining seeks to consolidate and simplify a data-intense industry and unify multi-faceted businesses through a holistic approach.
Element 25 managing director Justin Brown said I4 Mining arrived at just the right time for the emerging miner.
“We’re in the first year (of production), where we figure out which bits are working well, which bits need to be worked on and we know a little bit about what our needs are,” he told Australian Mining.
“So I4 Mining’s timing was good because one of the things we’ve been wrestling with is how do we bring disparate threads of information together to form a coherent picture of the business and how it’s progressing and how it’s performing against KPIs (key performance indicators) and so forth.”
Butcherbird is a contained operation from pit to port, which includes a processing plant and a logistics solution connecting the project to the Utah Point facility at Port Hedland in WA.
Element 25 needs to synchronise several different components to ensure Butcherbird is firing on all cylinders. This is where I4 Mining comes to the fore.
“For us to understand Butcherbird and de-bottleneck the process, we need to know where the bottlenecks are,” Brown said.
“We need to know the mine fleet’s performing to the required level and is moving the right material at the right volumes in the right timeframes.
“We need to know the processing plant is doing what it’s supposed to do. We also need to know that different ore types impact differently on the pumps, the ore sorters and other different components of the plant.
“Having those available to us in near real-time gives us control over where the problems are or whether things are just coming along or whether we’ve got more headroom regarding the capacity of the plant to generate a few more tonnes in a given period.”
Element 25 is currently implementing I4 Mining on a pilot basis, whereby the company employs the solution small-scale to see how its business responds. All things being equal, this will be the start of a long and fruitful partnership.
Not only is I4 Mining a suitable solution for synchronising Element 25, but the miner aligned with Rayven in other ways.
“There’s not a lot of solutions around that are nimble and flexible enough to work with, with a business of our size and slight uniqueness being a manganese operator,” Brown said.
“A big iron ore miner might go to some of the big multinational global software companies and choose solutions that probably cost you $10 million to install and had been around for 30 years and far more than what we would need.
“I4 Mining’s attractiveness to us was the company could come in at a level that we needed them to and develop up with us rather than us taking on some gargantuan software giant where we’d use five per cent of it to give us what we need in the immediate sense.
“I4 Mining can give us that five per cent but, untested yet we hope the company can grow with us to continue to build the system for our needs.”
Pairing an emerging miner with an emerging solution seems like a perfect match. As Element 25 and I4 Mining come together, an inspired new partnership could pave the way for a new frontier in data consolidation in the mining industry.
This feature appeared in the May issue of Australian Mining.