Newcrest Mining has rolled out Microsoft cloud, artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies at its Cadia Valley gold mine in New South Wales to monitor and manage crushed ore bin levels.
The technology was developed by Newcrest with Microsoft and its partner, Insight Enterprises, as its previously used hard sensor was unreliable.
Using Microsoft Azure, Newcrest, Microsoft and Insight created an Intelligent Edge solution, which pulls data from other upstream sensors such as tonnes tipped, apron feeder speeds and weightometers.
The model then analyses the data to predict the level of crushed ore in the bins and uses the information to control the flow of ore to the crusher, keeping it moving at the best level for productivity, preventing the bins from being over or underfilled.
“Having continuous, accurate information about the amount of ore in the crushed ore bin is a critical component of our operation,” Newcrest digital and data science architect Gary Slater said.
“By always knowing how much ore is in the bin, we can regulate the level to keep production high and avoid shutdowns.”
Prior to this, Newcrest had to use spotters to physically watch the crushed ore bins to ensure they didn’t overfill.
If the bins overfilled, they had to be emptied manually, causing lengthy and expensive production delays. On the other hand, if the level dropped too low, it is unable to efficiently feed the collection conveyor.
“The hard sensors in our crushed ore bins were failing at a rate of two or three times every month per crusher, and it often took hours to get the process up and running again,” Slater said.
“Over a period of six months, our Cadia Valley mine experienced 4780 minutes of downtime due to sensor failure in one of the crushed ore bins, which equates to a significant dollar value in lost opportunity.”
The solution is achieving an 85 per cent accuracy rate and delivered a return on investment within the first three months of operating.