From the ground up: Building a solid data foundation

While there’s no telling exactly what the future may bring, these days, relative market stability certainly seems to be a thing of the past. Between the Covid-19 pandemic and preexisting market fluctuations, creating long-term business strategies to plan for the future has become that much more difficult. In the mining and metals industry, those difficulties are compounded by consumer behaviour that’s even more difficult to predict.

Although the price of gold, for example, has been steadily increasing over the past decade, the pricing cycles for gold and other minerals commodities change at breakneck speed. In the commodities market, these changes have historically occurred in 10-, 15-, or even 20-year cycles, but lately, foreshortened price trends have made long-term planning extremely difficult for metals and mining companies. To keep their competitive edge in these uncertain times, they must be more agile than ever.

It’s no secret that the way to achieve such acute manoeuvrability is increased efficiency. The old paradigm still works, of course: If you can increase tonnage while reducing production costs, you’re moving in the right direction. Data is the key to improving operational efficiency, but not all data is created equal.

Just about every metals and mining company out there collects vast amounts of data. Often, though, companies don’t know how to efficiently process such staggering amounts of data or how to deploy it effectively. If you’re not collecting the right information or you’re not processing it efficiently, you’re leaving untold profits on the table and wasting precious time and resources prepping the data itself. Without a sophisticated data management platform, only about 1% of all collected data ends up being used in decision making. To get the most out of your data, you need a solid data management foundation.

With the right data management foundation, suddenly, you can use data to move from a reactive to a proactive approach. AI and predictive analytics provide vital insights, allowing you to streamline operations, maximise operational efficiency, and keep up with those hard-to-predict market fluctuations.

At the outset of their journey to digital transformation, once they’ve decided to integrate a good data management foundation, many mining companies implement site-specific pilot programs and see immediate results; worker safety, productivity, sustainability, and reliability improve quickly as companies apply AI for process optimisation, predictive maintenance, safety monitoring, and machine vision.

Continuing to build on this foundation, companies follow a “reiterate, review, deploy” strategy to review model accuracy and identify their next steps. At this point, data really begins to drive decision making at the highest levels. What’s more, with the right data management platform, data is contextualised, centralised, and accessible to team members company wide, providing for a single version of the truth.

When it comes to improving and optimising your operations, a solid, reliable foundation for your data means that the sky truly is the limit. To learn more about all the ways a data management platform can help you unlock the value in your data, read the full white paper here.

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