Engineering & Mining Journal

JUL 2019

Engineering and Mining Journal - Whether the market is copper, gold, nickel, iron ore, lead/zinc, PGM, diamonds or other commodities, E&MJ takes the lead in projecting trends, following development and reporting on the most efficient operating pr

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48 E&MJ • JULY 2019 www.e-mj.com OPERATING STRATEGIES Operational excellence in the mining in- dustry is of critical importance because everyone operates in a similar way. The mining company that has complete end- to-end visibility of its natural resource extraction and marketing processes, that understands the importance of human re- sources (HR) in asset management, and uses operational intelligence to inform its decisions will be the one to outperform its competitors. Colin Beaney, global industry director for Energy, Utilities and Resources at IFS, explained how enterprise software has an essential role to play in ensur- ing not just effi ciency but excellence in mining operations. IFS, through its own resources and in cooperation with part- ners, develops, sells and implements component-based enterprise software. For a mining organization, enterprise resource planning (ERP) and enterprise asset management (EAM) is crucial to standardize and streamline all core busi- ness processes. It is important that min- ing companies are aware of the key areas, which can be enhanced by enterprise software support — from exploration, feasibility and construction, to operation, maintenance, regulatory compliance, fi - nancial analysis and reporting. When integrated across the whole business, this essential enterprise soft- ware ensures that different parts of the organization are operating on the same set of data and can streamline, and even automate the handoff of process- es from one functional group to the next. So, if one takes installation of equipment at a new mine site for in- stance, the software can trigger the scheduling of preventive maintenance and the purchase of required spares and repairs to sustain that equipment over its lifecycle. Next, the preventive maintenance activities can signal to a human capital management module the hiring, labor- hour and skills requirements necessary to complete the work. Or alternatively, a decision from fi nance to wind down op- erations at a mine can signal to a main- tenance department that they can slow down spares and repairs purchases. This is why enterprise software must provide a single, unifi ed way for an executive team to manage operations spanning multiple geographies in a rap- idly changing market environment. Only then will they achieve operational ex- cellence and successfully compete for both revenue and capital investment. HR and Asset Management Interlinked The single most expensive and critical business function in mining is the pre- ventive and break-fi x maintenance of equipment — above and below ground. Assets below ground are the most chal- lenging. They are obviously harder to get to, but mines tend to be in remote loca- tions, distant from supply chains. This is where truly effective supply chain management for spares and re- pairs inventory is critical. But reliably completing planned maintenance work and minimizing downtime due to equip- ment failure is contingent not just on in- ventory, but personnel. This means that ERP and EAM software for the mining sector is essential as it includes embed- ded human-resources functionality to align work that must be done to sustain an asset with the right skills, certifi ca- tions and labor requirements. This will enable an operation's human resources team to recruit, train and retain person- nel to meet these needs. Without these asset management and human resource functionalities, a mining organization's performance will suffer in a number of ways. Common problems could be a lack of maintenance techni- cians required to sustain the asset, or even cases where maintenance and re- pair work has been completed by unqual- ifi ed personnel — leading to enterprise risk and regulatory compliance issues. Mining Brings Challenging Work Conditions These dynamics will affect any asset-in- tensive operation, but in mining they are compounded by the challenging work en- vironment. Transport in the shaft might be available once or perhaps twice during a shift, limiting maintenance technicians to precise windows where work can be performed. If they get to the work site without the requisite tools or materials, it's wasted time and money, and they will be unproductive until they can get back to a tool crib or parts storage area, which could be hours. This means that software used in this setting needs to deliver tight integration between the mobile work order used by the technician and spares/repairs inven- tory. Inventory functionality may also be Mining for Operational Excellence Mining companies face numerous challenges when it comes to optimizing the asset lifecycle. One of the biggest is the need to balance plant lifecycle cost with total productivity, according to enterprise software developer IFS.

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