Uncovering the strength of digitalisation

Mine owner or operators and the contractors who work for them have been riding a wild wave of mineral price fluctuations over the past decade.

During mining booms, projects can’t get built fast enough and skilled workers are worth their weight in gold.

But mining busts create large-scale layoffs that take their toll, not only on the newly unemployed, but also on the companies tasked with “doing more with less.”

Amidst this market volatility, Australia’s mining industry has earned the reputation as a leader for its advanced, sustainable exploration and innovative thinking.

The region is well positioned to make a significant impact on the mining landscape with several ongoing, high-profile major projects, such as Gold Fields and Gold Road Resources’ Gruyere gold mine in Western Australia and BHP’s South Flank iron ore project in the Pilbara.

Against this backdrop, those who take the lead in adopting new project management technologies – solutions capable of streamlining and centralising the mounds of data captured during a project – will stand to gain the most as the market landscape evolves.

For your mining company to remain competitive during these “boom to bust” cycles, you need to be able to manage, process and leverage your organisational data.

After all, if you’re not on top of your digital game during good times, how can you expect to survive the lean times?

The ability to properly analyse this information to mitigate potential roadblocks before they escalate into project delays and overruns can yield significant advantages in the race to remain competitive.

Increasing your digital agility in project documentation, project cost management and field execution will help you adjust and adapt operations through any and all market conditions.

Create a single source of project truth

Asset-intensive projects generate extraordinary amounts of documentation. Unfortunately, commonly used shared file sites aren’t able to manage and transfer that information throughout the project life cycle, resulting in data loss, data integrity issues and time wasted looking for documents.

This is especially evident when generating project turnover documents.

By employing a purpose-built document control and management solution at the onset of a project, you can collect and manage all project-related information in one place.

In addition, you can easily define your project’s operations and maintenance folder structures and set the rules for populating these folders for your project handover.

This enables a more streamlined approach to the handover process, giving critical stakeholders full project visibility.

Optimise balance between caution and courage

Comprehensive project cost management solutions allow you to easily assess historical resource information and costs related to past projects, which reduces the time and risk involved in creating and validating new estimates and budgets.

In addition, these tools can help in analysing workflows and quickly centralising cost and productivity data, which is especially important as new process trains are established for extracting metals such as lithium.

Being able to capture, analyse and capitalise on this type of information allows you to understand the key variables that can drive productivity to move from best-case to more likely or probable outcomes.

As mining companies embrace digitalisation, they are seeing an increase in yield.

In 2016, Australian companies delivered 14,300 tonnes of metal, an increase of 1300 tonnes from 2014.

The ability to understand which costs are truly fixed, and which can scale based on quantity variances, is your key to pricing the next job competitively.

Enjoy consistency from the field to the front office

In today’s always-on and connected environment, it’s wise to choose a digital solution that provides a mobile option for daily construction reports.

This helps you create and distribute work plans, communicate to your crew and capture results at the end of the shift.

Once this data is captured at the source, you can establish an open line of communication amongst the job site, office and field, and link to the back-office enterprise resource planning.

And you can easily and consistently provide foremen with all the information they need to achieve performance goals safely, while meeting quality requirements.

The importance of a digital solution with a mobile option cannot be understated. With construction data being generated faster than ever before, it’s vital that the entire team stays connected during every phase of a project.

Proven software increases competitiveness

Technology is revolutionising the mining industry. Forward-thinking companies are utilising construction project management software to improve performance, reduce operating costs and maximise safety at mine sites.

Want to learn more? Read here on how a leading multinational gold producer used digital project management solutions to increase efficiency and improve communication, or contact us  to request a free demo.

Rick Deans is executive vice president, industry engagement, for InEight. Rick spends his time with InEight’s largest and most strategic customers, oversees InEight’s Industry Advisory Group and is constantly exploring innovative ways to provide accelerated value to clients. Rick has a 20-year background serving the infrastructure, power, mining, oil and gas and public utility industries.

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