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Digitally transforming the Indian mining industry: The impetus to use technology and Innovation to take operations to the next level.

Indian mining is an old industry. Many aren’t aware of the fact, but India was the first country to deliver diamonds in the world before Britain entered into the picture. With time, these roots strengthened as Indian mine exploration and exploitation witnessed transformation over decades through modernisation.

Despite the industry transforming, India still wasn’t at pace with the technological advancements made by her international peers.  The course of Indian mining had never rested in the lap of luxury but struggled through infrequent crests and troughs which were resultant of amalgamation of various contributing factors over time. These factors include illegal mining coupled with technological gaps, lack of resource availability, regulatory challenges, inadequate infrastructure and policy impasse. In the past few years, economic and bureaucratic hurdles and challenging environmental factors have constrained the Indian mining industry. These have led to operational management and execution falling below their potential.  These woes were further compounded by the recent global economic meltdown and drop in commodity prices that adversely affected the profitability of mineral extraction which resulted in a shrinking of overall production, reduced investment and job losses.

Challenges breed opportunity, and after suffering a series of setbacks over an extended period, it can be clearly stated that the opportunity for the Indian mining industry to recover from this situation is greater than ever.

The present and upcoming years have lots of opportunities stored in for Indian mining industry. Speedy urbanisation and growth in the manufacturing sector have taken over the toll. This increase will automatically lead to rising demand for metals and minerals. However, to cater to this regular request in the market, the mines need to be operationally sound to reduce any bottlenecks that may hinder their productivity and create a backlog in material supply.

The answer is to implement a solution that results in an operation that is so well planned and executed, that its end to end activities can be tracked and monitored by multiple stakeholders through a centralised platform. By having such a platform so rich and transparent, the mining companies will be able to absolve from the shackles of an operational environment hindered by the use of multiple disparate systems (or lack of systems entirely) and departments.

A time-bound and well-coordinated mine plan should encapsulate a series of complex tasks, further broken down into activities with resource assignment and cost estimation to execute these activities. As the execution is carried out, the decision makers should be able to monitor these activities and the outputs on a real time basis. In earlier days, the lack of transparency and timely reporting had resulted in burnout of time, resources and efforts.  Considering all these factors if the miners work towards reducing the time and effort and optimising them for better usage, the Indian mines will certainly save a huge amount of cost which will reflect directly on the ROI earned.

Mining technology is divided fundamentally into two areas: back-office technology which represents the administrative department and operational technology which touches the ore. By consolidating operational data from various systems into a single view, mine management is empowered to plan and monitor productivity from drilling and blasting through to order fulfilment.  The consolidation allows room for effective planning, optimising and scheduling of processes, logistics, maintenance and other mine activities in an optimised and coordinated manner. By using domain-wide data for reporting and analytics, a mining company can differentiate itself from other companies as it has enhanced operational awareness and its output is cost effective.

Mining companies need to adopt a more robust and sophisticated uptake of technology to improve their operations. The actual expenditures are derived when there is accurate monitoring of productivity. The productivity data is interrelated with existent resources used during production. This information allows stakeholders and management to have oversight related to resource intensive operational costs. Improving the accuracy of the value chain activities and their scheduling, increasing maintenance efficiency and productivity of the workforce are all vital. We can achieve all these efficiencies by using the right management tools. Accurate, real-time condition based monitoring of equipment powered by analytics, reduce poor, ineffective maintenance, stoppages and errors during operations to ascertain, why, what and when and how to avert downtime in the future will help mining companies to increase productivity and reduce costs.

Other on-site innovations include the likes of tracking people and equipment, where mines use geolocation technology within a local area network or  RFIDs. With this technology, mines ensure a more efficient use of resources at the faces as well as better safety practices and procedures. Through personnel tracking functionality,  the details of a particular miner can be easily tracked to retrieve his current location, his attendance and all his movements and activities within the mine premises.

Through cameras, sensors and thermal imaging systems, mines have been able to maintain the physical security of mine sites. Now the data can be fed from multiple disparate systems and will generate automatic alerts for any strange activity or any anomalies that indicate a security breach which helps mines reduce their cost of security monitoring while having complete access to the situational awareness, based on which they can improve safety and minimise several risks at their mines.

Another popular and trending technology for miners are the mobility solutions that offer powerful analytics to mine managers through mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. This allows them to gain access to real-time, highly-visual data on all the aspects of the operations from any location, saving time through taking timely decisions related to shifting their strategies to improve productivity and efficiency.

To continue the expansion of the Indian mining industry,  and to preserve and increase the interest of profit-seeking investors, digitisation needs to be carried out in every area of the mining operation to assist in achieving a greater ROI.

With industries the world over clamouring to adapt and leverage the benefits of the next industrial revolution the timing is perfect for the Indian mining industry to take advantage of this and digitally transform their operations.  Nowadays, a wealth of new mining technology is available for mines that are committed to adopting and capitalising on it.

Reactore offers a single platform that provides a multitude of solutions across the mining value chain leveraging leading edge technology to transform mining operations digitally. Through Reactore’s integration technology, in addition to the ERP itself, mines can expeditiously supplement existing hardware and software infrastructure for a complete 360-degree view of operations. These technologies would revitalise Indian mining operations by enhancing their efficiency and productivity and while simultaneously improving safety.

Through Reactore’s software solutions, specifically designed for the mines, miners can benefit by taking a quantum leap in the way they manage their mining operations by leveraging all the advantages of the 4th industrial revolution. Team reactore believes that the Indian, and mining industry around the globe, need to imagine beyond the usual technology gadgets and buzzwords and instead, work out on a plan for their execution to maximise their utilisation. Understanding the challenges faced by every member of the mining value chain and catering to their requirements is imperative.  Following are few of the features that Reactore offers to mines which help them carry out their mining efficiently across the entire value chain.

  • Operational Planning: A unified and collaborative planning and budgeting solution that bridges the gap between the science of mining and operations for the entire mining value chain
  • 3D Visualisation: Enter the real mine environment, view and monitor live operational data and analytics and leverage the power of decision making. Enable all of these from a control room environment with rich and detailed 3D interface
  • Asset Management and Tracking: Track assets in real time and enable condition-based monitoring for effective planned and predictive maintenance strategies.
  • Production Management: Schedule, execute and monitor all mining production activities using performance management shift monitoring features.
  • Real-time data: Make proactive decisions using accurate, mission critical data, in real time and stay ahead of the curve. Reduce costs and improve productivity.
  • Human Resources Management: An HR solution designed specifically for the mining industry. Stay legally compliant by maintaining personnel competency through regular training, interventions and SOP conformance. Manage personnel records, and benefit from a host of other employee service features available.
  • Material Delivery Management: End to end automated material handling and transportation management for both internal and external logistics management requirements.

Indian mines are now ready to adopt new operational processes with a bold, innovative and visionary leadership. Moreover, this is the best time to have technology flourish in the Indian mining sector.

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