Real-Time Mining Reporting

Louise Smyth

Introducing a breakthrough digital application for real-time integration in open-pit and underground mines.

The new ABB Ability Operations Management System (OMS) is designed to maximise coordination between weekly production plans and dynamic situations in the mine to improve efficiency, increase productivity and maximise profitability.

Developed in collaboration with Boliden and ArcelorMittal Mining Canada, the new system connects and coordinates mine operators, workforce, equipment and all mining activities in real-time, from face preparation to crusher.

The Limitations Of Forward Planning

Mine planners often have to build a short-term plan with limited visibility of ongoing activities in the mine. While mine operators constantly consider and evaluate a complex set of operational constraints, adjusting to ever-changing, day-to-day and hour-to-hour situations. This can impact operational efficiency and raise costs.

By integrating short interval control and closed-loop scheduling into a single digital platform, the new OMS improves responsiveness to unplanned events and reduces production variability through all the mine stages. The system can present “what-if” scenarios in case of task failure or operational change. This helps mine operators and planners make better decisions faster ensuring ongoing operation of the mine and increased productivity. Equipment availability is also improved by moving from a reactive to a predictive maintenance model. Through all the stages of the production cycle, the production flow from the mine is maximised.

“Although it may seem simple, the coordination between the tactical plan and the operational plan is one of the top challenges faced in modern mining,” said Eduardo Lima, product manager for integrated mine operations at ABB. “By offering advanced short-term planning and increased automation, ABB Ability OMS enables the mine to act as an ore factory.

“Ore inventory can be tracked and controlled to allow maximum flow and optimal grade. By integrating operational technology and information technology, operational awareness is increased for all personnel,” he adds. “Staff see the same information at the same time and can jointly decide what actions to take in real time with no need to wait until the end of the shift.”

A Short Interval Control Application

A short interval control application allows mine operators to monitor and review operational plans and performance based on targets, metrics and KPIs. Variances can be analysed and mitigated in real time during a shift for immediate corrective action.

The closed loop scheduling application combines high-level planning with low-level control through heuristic auto-scheduling algorithm. This allows mine planners to achieve new levels of production scheduling efficiency from bench preparation to crusher, optimising resource usage in real time and following the production plan more effectively.

In developing the new system with ABB, project teams at both ArcelorMittal Mining Canada’s Integrated Remote Operations Centre and the Boliden Mine Operation Centre provided operation expertise, existing infrastructure and dedicated resources support. The technology was piloted at Boliden’s Renstrom underground mine in Sweden and by ArcelorMittal at the Mont-Wright open pit mine in Canada.

Recent Issues