May 17, 2020

[VIDEO] AngloGold Unveils Ground-Breaking Technology

South African Technology Project
Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan
Admin
2 min
[VIDEO] AngloGold Unveils Ground-Breaking Technology
A new technology from South Africas largest gold miner, AngloGold Ashanti, could significantly alter how gold mining is conducted. The company produced...

A new technology from South Africa’s largest gold miner, AngloGold Ashanti, could significantly alter how gold mining is conducted. The company produced 1,600 oz of gold utilizing the game-changing technology, which mines “all the gold, only the gold, all the time, safely.”

The technology, which is referred to as the South African Technology Project, eliminates blasting and dilution, and introduces a safer working environment. According to AngloGold Ashanti CEO Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan (Venkat), the technology “is making significant inroads.”

The latest quarter saw the company implement drastic cost cuts across the board, reducing its all-in sustaining cost by 22 percent. The budget for the technology, however, was one of the few that remained untouched.

“We’re putting more effort into the technology, which is the key lever we have to improve the productivity levels in South Africa and also turn the declining trend,” Venkat said.

The South African Technology Project is being utilized at AngloGold’s Tau Tona gold mine. The project is already into its 25th drill hole and now has machines that are drilling narrow reefs in local orebodies.

The outlook for the technology looks promising. AngloGold expects 10 to 20 percent of its South African gold to be produced by the technology in the future as it has the potential to change the face gold mining.

Although the technology is still in its infirmary, a number of non-group gold and platinum miners have already approached the company about making use of it.

 “We’ve not sought to keep this to ourselves. We’re looking at the greater good of South Africa,” Venkat said.

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May 12, 2021

Smarter Technologies: transforming operations with IoT

IoT
Automation
Smart Mining
Smarter Technologies
4 min
Mining smart with the latest tech isn’t just for the majors. Smart Mining Technology can unlock the future for more connected and productive operations

Digital technology has become a key enabler of margin improvement and an enhancer of competitiveness in the mining sector. Although the majority of the top mining businesses have already started their digital journey in some capacity, many of the smaller players are lagging behind when it comes to digital transformation. 

Smart Mining with IoT

Recent analysis by Allied Market Research, which estimates that the global smart mining industry is projected to reach $24bn by 2027, relays fears that those that don't join the big players in the digital uptake of solutions like IoT, will be left behind.

“As a traditionally risk-averse industry, many mining sector stakeholders struggle to invest in new technologies without a guaranteed return on investment (ROI),” explains Matthew Margetts, Director of Sales & Marketing at Smarter Technologies – suppliers of IoT solutions to the UK’s Ministry of Defence and the Royal Air Force. “Innovative miners at all levels are using new technologies to make mining operations safer, more productive, and more cost-efficient.”

Safety

Mines are often dangerous places to work, and worker health and safety are top priorities for mining operations. Smart Mining Technology keeps track of your assets and has the potential to improve mine safety in several ways: locate people, recover machinery and reduce the risk of serious injury.

Automation 

Autonomous mining vehicles have been around for nearly two decades. During this time, these vehicles have revolutionised mining by allowing humans to communicate with and control machinery remotely. In this day and age, the focus has shifted from the original autonomous mining vehicles to autonomous mining systems, which can carry out a series of integrated tasks automatically. Removing the need for humans to be on-site increases workforce safety. 

The benefits of autonomous mining functions include:

  • Improved safety
  • Decreased incidents
  • The ability to work in areas that would be too dangerous for humans 
  • Increased productivity
  • Reduced labour costs

Predictive analysis and insights 

When mining assets are connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) and a central management system, this enables operational intelligence. By analysing operational data, mining operators are better equipped to foresee and prevent any dangerous incidents from occurring. The ability to conduct predictive maintenance also means a lower risk of mechanical breakdown and failure. 

Personnel tracking 

Wearable technologies have become more advanced and non-invasive, making it easier to track the mining workforce, even deep underground and in remote locations. With real-time visibility of all staff, key workers can be located instantly. In the event of an emergency, response times and recovery rates are significantly improved. Along with improved safety, workforce tracking data can also be used to monitor staff attendance and identify where productivity can be increased.

Condition monitoring 

A series of smart IoT sensors can measure virtually anything - from pressure to humidity, temperature, air quality, gas levels, sound and more. If the conditions in a specific area change in any predefined way, instant notifications can alert teams of potential safety risks and potentially prevent incidents before they occur.  

Increase efficiency and reduced operational costs

Making mines “smart” has the effect of lowering operational costs. In a smart mine, key assets are digitised by embedding smart sensors that report data to a central system via a wireless network. Many of the same use cases of smart mining technology mentioned above not only improve mine safety, but also help to reduce operational costs. 

Wireless monitoring systems that relay real-time data lower operational costs in a number of ways:

  • Reduced reliance on paying human resources 
  • Reduced reliance on vehicles and petrol costs for data and asset collection
  • No need for expensive cabling and system maintenance operations
  • Maintaining critical assets more effectively increases return on investment

Asset visibility 

Having real-time visibility of mining assets allows you to track the location of your mining equipment when you need to use it. This is especially useful as self-driving machinery becomes more widely adopted in the industry. Instead of wasting time searching for various assets, you’ll be able to optimise productivity and profitability by streamlining your operations from your central management dashboard. 

Data collection

Automating the data gathering processes using smart technology reduces the need for time-consuming and potentially dangerous data collection. Access to real-time data is critical to optimising efficiencies and reducing costs. In contrast, by the time a worker has collected information and returned to the office, the data they have gathered is already outdated.

Maintenance and management 

With real-time data connectivity and data analytics, you can optimise your mine’s maintenance schedules and production rates dynamically. With predictive analytics enabled by smart tracking and condition monitoring, you’ll be able to quickly identify required changes to predefined maintenance schedules to keep your equipment running efficiently and safely. This too avoids potential incidents that can disrupt or halt operations for weeks or months, in turn keeping the mine running and generating profits.

 

Although there are barriers to mines adopting new technologies, these must be overcome in order for mines to remain competitive and successful in an increasingly digital age. From improving safety to enhancing productivity and efficiency, smart mines are the future of the industry.

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