Mining companies encouraged to invest in big data processes

Mining companies embracing big data processes such as daily operations scheduling and increased mechanisation can reap a potential $500 billion by 2025, according to a new McKinsey report.

Many existing mines are maturing, resulting in the extraction of lower ore grades and longer haul distances from the mine face; ore-body replacement rates are in decline; and new mine-development times are increasing.

Global mining operations’ productivity has fallen 28 percent in the last decades as companies attempt to achieve similar equipment effectiveness rates as the oil and steel refining industries, standing at 92 per cent and 90 per cent respectively.

According McKinsey report author Ryan Geragthy, a number of digital technologies that have been developing for the last few years are now available and affordable enough to operate across the mining industry.

“The industry has shifted its focus to improving productivity by “sweating” existing assets, but this strategy will only go so far. Despite the industry’s booms and busts, the nature of mining has stayed the same for decades,” Geragthy said.

By driving geological modelling, daily operations scheduling, increased mechanisation, managing hazardous conditions and predictive maintenance, mining companies could make better decisions that would help improve their understanding of the resource base and optimise materials and equipment.

Achieving a breakthrough on the productivity performance encourages those in the mining industry to reconsider how mining works –optimising drill and blast patterns and reducing the amount of wastage.