Where Operational Stability Fits in Your Business

By Alexandre
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All mining operations have a number of planning routines that occur throughout the year, which are often referred to as “the planning process”. Generally speaking these planning routines fall into four separate categories:

  1. Strategic Planning – This looks at big picture issues such as should we be selling or acquiring an asset.
  2. Integrated Mine Plan – Often referred to as Life of Mine Planning and takes the longer term view specific to an asset; however, most effort is put into annual and quarterly plans.
  3. Short Term Planning (STP) – Also known as Work Management, it the execution discipline to build a culture of reliability – are we hitting the quarterly and annual budget numbers? Generally speaking the time horizon for STP is inside one month with specific attention to the upcoming week.
  4. Continuous Improvement Planning. All mining companies run these four planning process concurrently. However, STP is the focus of this discussion. The quality of detailed planning (drive short term planning) is often not sufficient to deliver the level Operational Stability that is expected from senior executives, shareholders and other stakeholders.

The primary purpose of drive short term planning is to reliably deliver on short-term plans and schedules established by the mine management. This area of planning is primarily focused on the next 30 days. Generally speaking, variation at the task execution level is driving a large percentage of the variation that results in shortfalls in short term production targets. Improving short-term plans activities can often lead to 10 – 20% improvement in the unit costs with little or no additional capital.

Short Term Planning is comprised of three separate planning steps:

  1. Planning — Here we are planning all aspects of task execution down to the shift level. We are focused on people, equipment, supplies and task location.
  2. Scheduling — Schedules for all the aspects of each task on a shift-to-shift basis.
  3. Execution — All activities relating directly to task execution.

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Read more about operational stability and how to realize it in your business in the eBook “Six Steps to Operational Stability”

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Follow Dassault Systèmes Natural Resources Industry on Twitter: @3DSNR

On the web: 3DS.com/natural-resources/

Management of Multiple Quarry Sites

By Alexandre
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Many quarry operators, especially in an age of industry consolidation, find themselves having to manage and assist numerous operations. With engineers and geologists supporting multiple sites, applications that enable data to easily be shared between remote and central locations are necessary. This allows head offices to update geological data, develop dig plans, plots, and schedules which can be easily provided to local operations.

Acquiring data from drilling results and other sources, share, protect and secure it, along with geology, planning, and scheduling data is essential for a proper management. Data can be centralized onsite or at a corporate office, and quickly synchronized between locations. Geographically dispersed operations can feed data into a central technical center, allowing engineers and geologists located there to more effectively support the increasing number of quarries for which they are responsible, this reduces staffing and travel costs and increases information accuracy through minimized reaction times and the creation of a single version of true data.
Solutions that provide innovative scheduling experience for productivity and profits as well as a strategic mine planning, are ideal for optimizing and planning multiple quarries.

Watch our “Mine Planning for Industrial Minerals Operations” webinar and learn more about how Dassault Systèmes solutions can help you with the management of multiple quarry sites.

Follow Dassault Systèmes Natural Resources Industry on Twitter: @3DSNR

On the web: 3DS.com/natural-resources/

Could mining asteroids save Earth?

By Alyssa
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Natural Resources are critical to society.  Without them, virtually everything that defines the modern world would disappear, including the houses we live in, the cars we drive, the technology we use to communicate and save lives –  even the shoes we wear and the toothpaste we brush our teeth with. .  However, the future of mining natural resources is uncertain.  We have already extracted the easy-to-access materials, and those of the highest grade.  But as the population of Earth continues to grow, demand for natural resources continues to mount. There is no quick fix, but there are a lot of ideas on how to approach the challenge. One of these involves mining asteroids.

It might sound like science fiction, but both public entities and private companies are actively working on figuring out if asteroids can be a new source of the materials we need on our planet.  Scientists think asteroids hold promise because they are made of the same minerals as Earth.  NASA, for example, has created an Asteroid Redirect Mission with the goal of extracting a boulder from a Near Earth Asteroid and bringing it close to the moon so that astronauts can study what it can offer.  Private companies are also actively involved: space exploration company Planetary Resources is aiming for an exploratory launch by 2020.

The concept of mining asteroids may be capturing the most attention, but there are other paths too, such as leveraging more autonomous machinery or encouraging more conscious consumption.  This isn’t something any one group alone can accomplish.  Mining companies, communities, environmental groups, and individuals must work together to find new approaches.

“If we want a vibrant economy with globally high quality of life and also to protect Earth for future generations, we all have a responsibility to get involved and find a balance that works,” says Marni Rabasso, vice president of Natural Resources at Dassault Systèmes.

Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform can play a key role in finding new solutions, due to its ability to create virtual worlds in which ‘what-if’ scenarios can be simulated to visualize, design and explore new technologies.

In conjunction with CNBC Catalyst Content Studio, Dassault Systèmes created an in-depth look at the challenges ahead in mining our natural resources and the different options that could provide us new sources for what is needed to run our world.  Check out the videos and articles here.  Then come back and tell us: what do you think is the best approach for mining more natural resources?



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