After the commodity boom that peaked in the year 2011, the mining industry is in the process of adopting different ways to operate efficiently. The global mining industry is witnessing pressure from declining commodity prices, falling cash flows, declining ore-body replacement costs, and maturing of existing mines. Improving field service productivity and performance is highly required for the mining industry to earn positive business outcomes.
A recent study by McKinsey reveals that global mining productivity has been declining at a rate of 3.5 percent a year over the past decade. There has to be an increase in the analysis of critical data from which valuable insights can help in making important decisions to improve mining productivity. The first step towards this is to understand the key challenges that plague the mining segment today.
Here are a few of them:
Resource-intensive manufacturing, consistent reduction in mining prices, a sudden surge in demand for mining materials, and a fall of profits from mining have increased the investment costs. Besides, the ever-changing market scenarios are also affecting the industry’s growth.
The scarcity of high-quality resource deposits is a major concern. Presently, a lot of the existing mines are maturing or almost drained of resources. This results in the extraction of ores of lower grades and quality. In many cases, deposits are locked up in remote areas that are difficult to access. This results in increased production costs, where businesses need to spend more on new tools and equipment that can spot and extract resources from remotely located mines.
Assigning repetitive tasks to the workforce can reduce their productivity. The workforce needs to focus on other core areas of work. They will fail in diversifying their skills and lose focus on the right opportunities. This will also impact turnover rates significantly.
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Technically skilled labor is crucial to address day-to-day issues in mining. The operational talent requires to be skilled and ready to adapt to technological advancements. Skilled labor will exhibit more productivity and reduce unwanted overheads.
Digital technologies can unlock a multitude of mechanisms to enhance productivity and operational efficiency in the mining industry. Adopting the right field service software solution can help you leverage the following benefits:
Since the mining operation is scattered across geographies, it is crucial to have a deep understanding of the resource base, data sources, organizational models, and boundaries. The application of statistical techniques and predictive maintenance helps in analyzing accurate targets. This can also eliminate the traditional methodologies such as core logging, manual plant assays, and so on.
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Estimating resource requirements and utilization is important for forecasting future deployments. Since most of the activities related to mining are labor-intensive, resources need to be deployed within timelines to ensure optimized operational efficiency.
The mining supply chain involves the usage of both fixed and mobile equipment, which are mainly interdependent systems. For instance, Overall Equipment Effectiveness or OEE is a metric used to gauge operational efficiency. While such kind of tools and metrics can improve operational efficiency, chances are that they might fail in understanding the complexity of systems. This is where real-time data and analytics techniques play a major role. These techniques can optimize machine movements, thereby improving equipment flow and efficiency.
Automation plays a crucial role in enhancing mechanization capabilities. In addition to reducing operational costs, activities like hauling, drilling, equipment configuration, and operational transitions are made easy through automation techniques.
Various studies state that only one percent of the information accumulated from mining activities is used for planning and forecasting the next set of operations. Miners can make use of the large volume of data extracted to derive critical insights to estimate future activities. This can prevent unplanned interruptions and machine failures.
Technology is transforming various industries and the mining segment also is a beneficiary. By adopting the best field service management software solution, you can bring a drastic change in the way your mining business operates and manages resources and equipment. Talk to our expert and understand how ReachOut will help you in managing your field service operations.
Aarathy is a Senior Digital Marketing Analyst at ReachOut Suite. She is majorly into content marketing and focuses on getting the messaging right across a host of marketing collaterals. While not working on content, you can find her juggling SEO, social media, branding and more. She enjoys exploring new frontiers in digital marketing and the associated challenges keep her going.
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