How General Electric and Mitsui plan to drive down operational costs
General Electric is teaming up with Japanense resources and energy company Mitsui to explore new ways of driving mining operational costs down, signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) earlier this week. The agreement between the two companies will focus on increasing efficiencies and improving overall safety in mining operations.
Efforts to increase productivity and efficiency are two widespread problems currently facing mining companies. A recent report -- MineLens Productivity Index -- said global mining operations are 28 percent less productive today than a decade ago.
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“Miners are seeking to cut costs incurred to produce mining output, or to increase output at no additional cost—in other words, to raise productivity. CEOs have been acknowledging to investors that poor productivity performance must be addressed. Meantime, governments in big mining countries are also trying to understand the productivity challenge, with publicly funded research institutions studying the issue closely,” stated the McKinsey report.
Under the partnership, GE and Mitsui will collaborate together to examine initiatives like switching from diesel oil to cheaper natural gas in order to analyze cost reductions and payoff.
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The new concept is currently being rolled out by energy company Shell, which is looking to introduce LNG-powered fleets at Australian mines. Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton have both expressed interest in the technology.
The partnership is the latest move by General Electric, which recently partnered with Komatsu Ltd. in April to offer big-data analysis services, to implement its Internet of Things platforms. GE has previously stated it envisions a world of smart machines that can diagnose their own problems and find solutions.
As Japan’s largest trader of oil, Mitsui & Co. also holds stakes in iron ore, coal and copper projects in Australia, Brazil and Chile.
Coal India Secures First-Of-Its-Kind Digital Deal
Coal India Limited (CIL) has appointed Accenture Solutions to digitally transform seven of its open-cast mines as the company strives to improve performance and increase coal production. Accenture is due to lay down digitalisation groundwork until March 2022.
The deal aims to increase coal production by 100 million tonnes (MT) by the end of FY’23. Once the minimum quantity has been surpassed, an agreed sum will be paid to the consultant for every additional sum of coal produced. This success fee will only be paid on the procurement of the minimum assured quantity.
The move will see heavy earth moving machinery (HEMM) fitted with digital sensors to monitor performance efficiency at all levels. Additionally, modern data analytic techniques aim to increase mine productivity and project monitoring through functional system management and effective observation.
An Exciting Venture For Global Mining
CIL, which aims to provide energy security in an environmentally and socially sustainable manner, hopes the move will help transform the entire business of mining operations and ensure higher volumes of coal are acquired at a lower cost.
“This is a first of its kind initiative by the company utilising digitalisation to ramp up coal output,” CIL has said.
A Digital Step Towards Enhanced Performance
Digitalisation is expected to take place at open-cast mines in Kusmunda, Gevra, Dipka of Southern Eastern Coalfields (SECL), Migahi, Jayant, Dudhichua, and Khadia of Northern Coalfields (NCL). Nearly 32% (188 MT) of CIL’s 596 MT output in FY’21 was accounted for by the seven selected mines. However, this new deal is set to see a large increase following the subsequent digital changes due to be made.
“Learning from the outcome and success of this model, we may replicate it in our other large mines,” says CIL, optimistic about the future following the modernisation of their mining.
It is expected that the move will help address roadblocks and guarantee corrective measures are put into place, ensuring the company is able to move forward with its aim of increasing output whilst remaining sustainable and eco-friendly.