Data analytics solutions are helping mines of all sizes to digitalise

by | Jul 17, 2023 | Mining Services

Dataloop MD Sean Langton

Each mine and mining company, and its needs and operations, are different; however, small, simple applications that can serve a single fit-for-purpose build or a fully integrated system that monitors and reports on every aspect of operations, can be set up for mines, says data analytics consultancy Dataloop MD Sean Langton.

Dataloop’s range of solutions caters to the full spectrum of size and digital maturity, and helps clients to drive digitalisation across their organisations.

The company has developed various customised solutions for mining clients, including to track loads of material being transported between different locations on the mine, to track component wear rates on critical mining tools to enable predictive maintenance and to identify conglomerate versus singular large rocks on the oversize conveyor on a diamond mine using a computer vision application.

Additionally, it developed a reinforced learning model solution to help desalination plant operational teams with clean-in-place cycles and membrane change-outs in which the model is trained to maximise treated water throughput, while minimising cost.

“Our experience developing a range of solutions within the mining industry means we are able to translate complex requirements into simple, intuitive solutions that add value from the beginning, and lay a foundation for future digital solutions,” Langton notes.

Dataloop has developed robust data engineering processes to take the complexity out of data management and data warehousing, and provide simple, scalable solutions across mining, he adds.

“Our team has extensive experience within the mining sector and has implemented data management solutions on mining sites. We understand the practical considerations needed to ensure these solutions gain traction and add value from the get-go.

“The systems we develop can easily be scaled,” he says.

“Further, as we continue to broaden our offering, we are placing special emphasis on advanced analytics solutions that leverage the extensive data available to each of our clients through their structured data management solutions,” Langton highlights.

A common solution architecture for mining clients includes the development of a custom data management portal application, which digitises their current data capturing processes, as well as providing a full spectrum of business intelligence reports and dashboards for access to live metrics and data across their operations, he explains.

“Integration of data sources across operations provides all stakeholders within the business, from operator through to senior management, with the correct and relevant information to make data-driven decisions,” he highlights.

Dataloop typically starts by building out a solution for the greatest pain points a client is faced with and, once those are addressed, it adds on different modules or for different aspects of the business, as and when required.

“Most often, once a client is able to derive insight from data-driven solutions in one aspect of their operations, they want to extend that value to other parts of their business too, at which point we start building those out,” Langton explains.

Dataloop maps a client’s current data architecture and ecosystem, and then designs a solution that leverages the client’s existing infrastructure, while also developing new or custom solutions and applications for data collection where gaps might exist.

“The basics of our solutions always include the systems that clients already have in place for collecting data of any and all kinds. We determine what measures are in place for tracking data, such as supervisory control and data acquisition systems, instruments, programs, documents, WhatsApp and Global Positioning System data, among others, and we find ways to integrate all of those to bring value to the organisation.

“By combining their current and future data streams into a single data warehouse solution, an end-to-end business intelligence solution can be developed with no disruption to their current processes or ways of working,” he emphasises.

“The driving design consideration for these types of solutions is simplicity. The end-users require a solution that is simple to use, simple to scale and easy to understand.

“The underlying complexity of the data integrations and processing is managed and developed within the solution back-end and proprietary data architecture, taking complex processes and translating them into simple client-facing products.”

Additionally, once a platform has been developed for a mine, the mine is able to track operations from pit to port with financial integration and is, therefore, able to get detailed cost-per-ton analysis across the business, he adds.

“Management is able to drill down into operations. For example, if the operation ran over budget in the last period, managers could analyse the key cost drivers from a financial and operational perspective. Having the full picture provides clear insight into all the metrics that drive all key performance indicators across the business,” he illustrates.

Meanwhile, the Microsoft platforms that Dataloop builds on provide inherent storage security and multifactor authentication on the products that the company develops, he notes.

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