Orica has revealed its new Digital Immersion Centre in Brisbane, providing an advanced foundation for the company’s digital transformation aspirations.
The specialised hub provides a dedicated space for Orica to work with its development partners and customers to promote innovation, spur collaboration and also establish an Orica data and analytics centre of excellence.
A celebration of Orica’s 140-plus years as a blasting trailblazer, the centre of excellence brings together data science, artificial intelligence (AI) and modern cloud computing.
Orica has also enhanced its digital foundations by selecting Microsoft Azure as its strategic cloud platform.
Orica is establishing data rich and artificial intelligence-infused tools to enable step-change improvements in customers’ productivity, safety and sustainability.
Azure will provide Orica with the proven performance, reliability, scalability and security needed to carry out this vision.
Orica vice president of digital solutions Rajkumar Mathiravedu said Azure is already in use at an Australian iron ore mine, while it also has the capacity to be rolled out across oil and gas settings.
Microsoft is already working on open digital platforms that integrate Orica’s expertise, with the aim to create intelligent production workflows that offer mining engineers insight into what they are working with in real time and provide live design recommendations.
“Whether it is hard, medium, soft, and how the rock changes and where the most valuable ore is located,” Mathiravedu said of Azure’s scope. “So what it really means is now you can actually optimise the right explosives energy specific to the desired outcomes.
“This has a huge impact from a sustainability perspective. By using the right energy to break the rocks, we’re optimising the chemical energy.
“We are materially reducing the water and electricity, which is used for grinding and processing later, while readily managing environmental factors such as dust and vibrations.”
Orica has committed to net zero emissions by 2050, while Microsoft has its own sustainability ambitions to be carbon negative by 2030.
Orica has designed its digital platforms to allow information to be shared openly across mining ecosystems – from geological exploration, through blasting, extraction and processing.
The platforms integrate sensor and Internet of Things (IoT) data with AI infused analytics to provide mining customers with the insights to enable them to go “deeper, steeper and cheaper”.