A few short years ago, there was a lot of hype around digital transformation delivering the new Mining 2.0. Fast forward to today, and even the biggest miners in the world are still on their journey to unlock the benefits that digital transformation offers.
Alan Seery, chief operations officer at Aqura Technologies has developed and implemented a lot of strategies for transformation and shared some insights on things he has learnt working in resources organisations, and as a tech provider.
He is optimistic, that even with major global challenges around us, resources companies are in the box seat to exploit technology maturity.
“The seeds that the larger resources companies planted only a few short years ago are bearing fruit now,” Seery said. “A significant amount of strategy, planning and human focus was directed to creating the new vision of Mining 2.0.
“Even though the technology hadn’t evolved back then, the alignment is now what we see in operation today. Autonomous trucks didn’t just spring up overnight. It was years of development, and a great ecosystem from connectivity, through to applications and equipment now enables it.”
Mining 2.0 now available to all
Seery points out that even though going ‘digital’ may seem like it’s a long way off for miners that don’t have the resources or capital the tier ones have, there is a sizeable shift that is making the technology available for many more now.
“Many mid-tier miners don’t have the deep research and technology teams of the tier ones, but with the trickle-down effect now very evident, digital first mining operations are now realisable for all,” he commented.
“An example is long term evoluction (LTE). Once thought of as too expensive, too hard, and too complex, we’re having numerous conversations with mid-tier operators who can see that the complexity and cost of acquisition are no longer what they were.
“What is very significant is that that these mid-tier operators can see the benefits in production by leveraging digital technology trickle down in their operations and shortcutting the long research and development time, and getting straight to the benefits.”
Tips to ‘new’ players
The mining, engineering and technology sector (METS) ecosystem is now a significant adjunct to the broader mining industry and there are new vendors appearing every day.
Seery shared some tips to help bypass a lot of the puff, and get straight to the benefits.
Spend some time on strategy
“Time invested in a solid strategy is well invested time,” said Seery.
“It doesn’t need to be war and peace, but focus on the fundamentals – goals, success drivers and the path to achieve that success.
“Too often people set off on the ‘journey’ of digital transformation, dump a bucket of money on tech and are quickly derailed when they don’t have guiding principles to provide focus.”
Focus on interoperability
“There’s a lot of bespoke technology in market. We’re seeing a lot of operators getting locked into tech without an escape plan,” said Seery.
“Ask the interoperability question of your vendor. We’ve helped many of our customers bridge the divides between vendor tech stacks, and we’re more than happy to, but call it out early and save yourself some time and money in the process.”
Communicate communicate communicate
“I can’t stress how important this is. Talk to your internal stakeholders. What do they need? Talk to your vendors early. Tell them what you’re trying to do before you surface your ideas via an expression of interest or request for tender. A tender is normally too late to respond with clever ideas,” said Seery.
“And the most important communication is with the people in your organisation. They need to be onboard with the strategy as tech doesn’t work without great, committed people making the most of the tools they’re given. That’s been the secret of success for our Aqura team.”
Seery concluded, “There are great rewards to be had in resources from the application of technology, but simple approaches can avoid being blinded by the light and gain real value with lower risk.”