Barrick and Cisco Partner for ‘Digital Reinvention’ of Mining

Barrick Gold Corp., the largest gold producer, and networking specialist Cisco announced they will partner to digitally reinvent Barrick’s business through a combination of advanced technology and expertise.

Barrick’s Cortez mine in Nevada, USA, will be the first to benefit from the partnership. (Photo: Barrick Gold)

“Harnessing the potential of digital technology will unlock value across our business, helping us grow our free cash flow per share,” said John L. Thornton, Barrick executive chairman.

“In so doing, we will make ourselves into a leading 21st century company—enhancing productivity and efficiency at our mines, and improving decision-making and performance across every area of our business. We mean to create value and push the boundaries of our industry in entirely new ways.”

Cisco Executive Chairman John Chambers said, “Any company that fails to reinvent itself by harnessing digital technology will soon be left behind.

“Barrick has long been known for its focus on innovation, and with Cisco’s advanced technologies and strategic network of partners, we can extend the frontiers of the natural resources industry.”

In the first step of the collaboration, Barrick and Cisco will work together to develop a flagship digital operation at the Cortez mine in Nevada—embedding digital technology in every dimension of the mine. Advanced sensing technology and real-time operational data will be used to inform decision-making. Equipment will be automated for increased productivity, while predictive algorithms will enhance the precision and speed of maintenance and metallurgy. The goal at Cortez, said the two companies, is to redefine best-in-class mining.

Building on the Cortez mine digitization experience, Cisco said it will support Barrick as it transforms its business over time—bringing digital technology to all of its mines as well as to its head office. Interactive data rooms outfitted with real-time data, analytics and predictive tools will allow company leaders to work together across the organization. An enterprise-wide analytics hub will enable performance management, and financial and operational benchmarking.

New digital tools will improve scenario planning and portfolio management. These new technologies will permit Barrick’s leaders to make decisions with greater speed, precision and productivity; to assess and mitigate risk more effectively; and to provide greater transparency to partners.

Digital technology will also improve Barrick’s environmental and safety performance, according to the announcement. Predictive data and analytics will improve management of energy, water, and emissions. Real-time data capture will allow the company to be even more transparent with, and accountable to, its local partners—for instance, by providing water monitoring information in real time. And the use of digital technology will enhance Barrick’s permitting activities, further increasing transparency to stakeholders.

Barrick said it will apply the same “rigor and scrutiny” to its new digital projects as it would for any other capital allocation decision.

Ultimately, Barrick expects digital reinvention to help it deliver on its vision of growing free cash flow per share over the long term.

Sandvik Gets Contract for Chambishi Copper Project

Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology has entered into a long-term agreement with NFC Africa Mining Plc (NFCA) to supply equipment and technology to mine the South East Orebody (SEOB) of the Chambishi copper mine in Zambia.

The four-year agreement will provide mine automation, equipment, services, training and Sandvik’s Trans4Mine equipment-utilization optimization program. Sandvik will begin to supply NFCA with a complete suite of mining equipment in March 2017.

“We believe this is just the start of a bright partnership with NFCA and its mother company, China Nonferrous Metal Mining Co. Ltd.,” said Daniel Banister, sales area manager for Central Africa at Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology. “Our investment in increasing the competence of our personnel is clearly paying dividends as we have the right people and products to support even the largest operations in the Central African region. It certainly paves the way for future similar successful partnerships with other mines in the region.”

During the signing ceremony held at the mine recently, NFCA senior deputy chief executive officer, Donghong Zhang, commended the company on its ability to leverage its local and international expertise to find solutions for the Chambishi mine. “This is just the kind of company that NFCA needs to be doing business within the future,” Zhang said.

Kal Tire, UBC to Collaborate on Tire Technology

Kal Tire’s Mining Tire Group and the University of British Columbia (UBC) have formed a research partnership for collaboration in developing technology and innovative solutions for the mining tire industry.

In the recently signed memorandum of understanding (MOU), both parties agreed to pursue research and innovation as part of a partnership that matches expertise from UBC Okanagan’s School of Engineering with the innovation goals of Kal Tire’s Mining Tire Group.

“We wanted to harness the knowledge and ideas of our team members to advance innovation, and through this partnership with UBC, we now have access to the skills, knowledge and facilities that we didn’t have prior,” said Dan Allan, senior vice president, Kal Tire’s Mining Tire Group.

The MOU lays out an initial three-year term of collaboration on mutually beneficial areas of research as well as Kal Tire’s significant investment in the partnership. Individual researchers will submit their project ideas for consideration to a small committee that represents both Kal Tire and UBC Okanagan’s School of Engineering. The projects may include everything from robotics and metallurgical design to environmentally responsible ways to use recycled tire crumb.

“Being in so many different countries and geographies has really brought the need to innovate to the surface, and we’re glad that at the same time, we can support local education and opportunities,” said Allan. “In 2015, we opened an Innovation Center in Vernon, British Columbia, to begin to develop some ideas brought forward by our team members—this partnership is the next evolution of that.”

Newmont Ghana Mines Go With GuardVant

Newmont Ghana has selected GuardVant’s fatigue monitoring, proximity detection and collision avoidance systems for its Akyem and Ahafo gold mines. By combining these safety technologies, Newmont expects a decrease in safety incidents and operating costs as well as an increase in equipment availability.

Operator fatigue and close-proximity areas of reduced operator visibility or blind spots are widely recognized as two of the leading causes of mining accidents involving mining equipment. “By combining fatigue monitoring, close proximity detection and collision avoidance, Newmont Ghana is combatting two very common safety issues at mines,” said Emmanuel Kwame Attifu, IT country manager for Newmont Ghana. “These systems prevent accidents and the data generated also enables managers to implement operational changes and develop employee programs that further reduce the number of accidents. The reduction in accidents also positively impacts equipment availability and productivity.”

The OpGuard Operator Fatigue and Alertness Monitoring System uses a non-intrusive infrared camera to monitor an operator’s eye closure and head movements for signs of fatigue and distraction, and alerts them when signs of fatigue are detected. OpGuard automatically turns on when a haul truck is in operation, which helps operators easily and consistently adopt the technology.

Newmont Ghana selected both ProxGuard and CollisionGuard to reduce close-
proximity accidents caused by blind spots. ProxGuard uses long- and short-range radars and video to detect objects in close proximity. The in-cab video screen immediately displays the view when a sensor detects an object within its range. CollisionGuard uses GPS and peer-to-peer communication to display the relative position of any equipment outfitted with CollisionGuard on the in-cab monitor. As a result of implementing these safety solutions, the operator’s situational awareness of other heavy equipment, light vehicles and pedestrians is expected to increase.