Software Solutions for Planners Pressured to Nix Costs, Handle Change

When reality in the pit departs from the original plans, some software solutions empower the control room to react quickly and still meet energy cost reduction goals

Mining is an industry “in which nothing is as you think it is,” according to University of Alberta Professor John Sammut, former mine engineering consultant and Komatsu area manager. “It is almost a horror story in a way.” Sammut said this gives context to what he sees as the top challenges faced by planners and the office folk tasked with making reality in the pit match the goals of the bosses. “You could be digging granite, but it could be completely different 50 meters (m) away from where you are,” he said. When planning and scheduling, “we rely upon a certain amount of homogeneity and a certain amount of assumptions that things are going to be like this and like this, and it is not like that in the real world.”

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Squeezing the Stone

Faced with cost pressures and declining ore grades, mineral producers need to squeeze every ton, ounce and gram of value from their resources

Yesterday’s discards form tomorrow’s resource — at least that was the way it used to be. Not anymore, though, as concentrator operators work continuously to optimize their circuits and improve their product recovery as a way of combatting the scourge of rising operating costs. Sometimes installing completely new technology provides an answer. More often, however, plant audits and modeling can show where existing equipment can be tuned to become more efficient at doing what it is intended to do, and at a lower cost. And once in a while, some blue-sky thinking can result in recovery improvements that had previously been thought of as unattainable.

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CSR Earns a Seat at the Boardroom Table

Tighter external scrutiny, expanding internal initiatives and rising penalties for noncompliance are pushing corporate social responsibility considerations into a more prominent position

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) concerns — and the willingness to report CSR and sustainability activities and issues — are becoming increasingly woven into the fabric of routine business practices, according to a recent survey.

The 2017 KPMG Survey of Corporate Responsibility, the 10th in a series that began in 1993, reviewed CSR and sustainability reporting from 4,900 companies in 49 countries and regions, and came up with some surprises as well as expected results (See infographic below).

Perhaps one of the most unexpected findings — at least, perhaps, to an outside industry observer — to emerge from the survey is that mining companies are high on the list of major industrial sectors that recognize the validity of human rights. Just under nine out of 10 (88%) mining respondents reported that they consider human rights to be a legitimate business issue. This level of acknowledgment compares with other resource-oriented industrial categories such as Oil & Gas (77%), Construction & Materials (71%) and Forestry & Paper (70%). However, mining’s high ranking on human rights concerns in the latest report isn’t just a statistical aberration, it has consistently scored strongly in similar KPMG surveys in the recent past.

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