In their drive to minimise operating costs, maximise production and gain full transparency of key financial indicators, best-of-breed software solutions and emerging technologies have a lot to offer the mining industry.
Over the coming years, it is predicted that: “…advanced technology in mining operations will accelerate; increasingly becoming a necessity for firms to remain competitive.” Source: Mining Review.
Each stage of mining operations from extraction through crushing and onto processing comes with its challenges. Based on our experience working with the industry, Progressive TSL have developed finance, asset management and supply chain solutions that address the specific operational needs of a mine.
Here we provide our insights into this sector.
Critical Challenges for Mining
- Ensure all stages of the mining process are running at optimum levels with no hold-ups between stages. This may require stockpiling of essential inventory materials necessary to feed a specific stage of the process, e.g. arsenic and sodium cyanide for gold processing, zinc dust used as reducing agent during smelting at metals plants, and hydrogen peroxide to enhance leach discovery at gold and silver mines.
- Keep track of all inventory levels and locations, to avoid unnecessary purchases, materials (e.g. chemical) obsolescence or material shortages.
- Develop robust maintenance strategies for both static and mobile assets to prolong life, and avoid where possible, making additional capital expenditure during the life of the mine.
- Ensure stages downstream of extraction, e.g. processing of the extracted raw materials, are kept running at optimised levels. These processes need to be balanced against maximising the payload of the trucks carrying these raw materials, minimising the total number of trips over the life of the mine. Every journey will take its toll on the wear and tear of the vehicle as well as incurring extra fuel costs.
- Correctly depreciate critical assets including mobile (trucks, loaders, dozers) and static plant (ball mills, conveyors, etc.) over the mine’s lifetime in-line with applicable financial regulators.
- Guarantee maintenance activities are scheduled as efficiently as possible to minimise Mean Time to Repair (MTTR) while being mindful also to minimise Mean Time to Breakdown (MTTB). Make reactive maintenance decisions so that when an asset is offline, the downtime is as short as possible.
- Mines can be dangerous places to work and are often located in remote, inhospitable areas. For HSE reasons, as well as efficient allocation of jobs, it is imperative to have full visibility of workforce status and availability, both Operations and essential support staff (i.e. Medics, Security and Welfare.)
- Budgets for a mining project will be tight, so it’s always essential to have accurate reporting of costs across all stages (in some cases including discovery costs), as well as standard G&A costs, to identify inefficiencies and manage profit margins.
- Manage the full asset lifecycle from commissioning to end of life.
Though effective asset management will always look to prolong an assets life, towards the end, tough decisions need to be made. For example, if machines are underperforming, but the site has less than a year’s worth of extraction, should a significant amount of outlay be spent on a new mill, truck or other expensive assets?
How Progressive TSL can address these challenges
Key deliverables of this functionally rich solution
- Data Harvesting
These robust solutions assist in the efficient operation of a mine by simultaneously harvesting data. Such data can provide a rich analysis of your operations allowing informed decision-making and driving global reporting, in near real-time to all levels of the business.
- Maintenance Management
Our mining clients have used the Infor EAM CMMS module to track the status and performance of critical equipment for mobile and fixed plants including trucks, pumps, lift shafts etc.
In mining, as a rule, 80% of your maintenance should be planned or predictive, and 20% should be corrective or reactive. EAM can help you to keep this balance so that you aren’t over or under maintaining any of your assets. Operators can take action when equipment starts to underperform before it breaks down – if something needs to go offline to be repaired, EAM can plan and track your corrective maintenance down to the hour. For more information on the CMMS module, see our blog.
- Fleet Management
Infor EAM offers integrations with IoT sensor technology which can record many variables about the health and performance of the fleet of trucks, including temperature, fuel consumption, tyre pressure, tyre wear, the weight of trucks and their average speed. For more information on how EAM can manage your fleet, read our recent blog on Mining Fleet Management.
EAM facilitates the use of industry standards such as the VMRS maintenance classification system. For more information on the capabilities of IoT, read our recent article on digitalisation.
- Workforce Management and security
Infor EAM provides visibility of operatives availability for work. Work Orders can be allocated to operatives, matching skill requirements to Tasks, equipment requirements (e.g. PPE like; harnesses, breathing apparatus and other specialist equipment) and tools. EAM provides visibility of resource utilisation and will enable work to be allocated appropriately to meet the objectives.
- Inventory Management
Procurement and Inventory Management provides full transparency from purchase requests right the way through the entire asset life cycle. You will gain visibility across all your warehouses and sites. This clarity enables you to make the right procurement decisions at the right time and in the right quantities, to keep your mining processes flowing while retaining a handle on expenditure. For more information on EAM and inventory, read this blog.
- Financial Management and Depreciation of Assets
Infor EAM, alongside your accounting system, e.g. Infor SunSystems, provides flexibility in financial models used to depreciate key assets. Example of models used includes depreciation based on distance travelled (for your mobile fleet) or production quantities (for your mobile and fixed plants). SunSystems supports a wide range of financial regulations to reflect the requirements of different geographical locations across the globe, including Syscohada and IFRS. Multiple rule sets can be implemented at the same time. You can read our recent blog on Financial Management for Mining Businesses for more insight into this and other financial issues.
Progressive TSL in action
“We chose Progressive due to their detailed understanding of Infor’s SunSystems and EAM products, coupled with their African industry experience. Over the years they have proved to be an excellent partner working closely with our teams across the 3 sites in London, Abidjan and local mine sites to deliver solutions which have brought clearly demonstrable benefits to Endeavour.”
Michael Sumares, Vice President – Finance, Treasury and Tax, Endeavour Mining Corporation
Progressive TSL are Gold Channel Partners of Infor. This accolade recognises our experiences successfully implementing Infor solutions including Infor EAM, Infor OS and SunSystems into asset-intensive industries across the globe. Progressive TSL would welcome the opportunity to talk to you about your finance, asset management and supply chain challenges and requirements.