Thursday, 3 December 2020
Highlights from the Natural Resources Forum

Highlights from the Natural Resources Forum

The Natural Resources industry is looking to innovation to help maximize productivity and achieve operational excellence. 

In today’s economic environment where demand, supply and commodity prices are more volatile than ever, it is imperative to think “outside the box” to solve some of the industry’s most complex issues.

Bold moves are needed to propel the industry forward. At the recent Dassault Systèmes Natural Resources FORUM held in sunny Perth, Western Australia for the third year running, attendees heard from a number of thought leaders and technical experts on this very topic and explored solutions that challenge the status quo.

From a cloud strategy for the mining sector to sub-surface 3D EXPERIENCE cities, the one-day FORUM addressed topics to future-proof the industry and ensure its survival through downturns.

We round up the top five takeaways from the FORUM:

1. DIGITALIZATION OF OUR BUSINESS MODELS AND PROCESSES 

The Natural Resources industry is unique in that every mine operation is different and a long-term investment in assets is required, however it can still learn a lot from the successes of other industries, such as automotive and aerospace. Both these industries are heavily digitalized, particularly in the areas of collaboration, and with a strong emphasis on innovation.

“The Natural Resources industry similarly needs to digitalize their entire business model on a large scale to ensure that decisions are made quickly, operations run at their most efficient levels, safety is improved and that full visibility and accountability is made possible through global dashboarding,” said Alexandre Parilusyan, Vice President of Business Transformation, Asia-Pacific at Dassault Systèmes.

2. SILO-BASED THINKING NEEDS TO BE BROKEN DOWN

One of the key topics explored over the past two years at the Natural Resources FORUM has been silo-based thinking and working – and how to break down these silos to enable individuals within an organization to collaborate effectively.

“Silo-based thinking means a lot of bad decisions made by people with a limited strategic view of the business,” said Adrian Hale, Natural Resources Director, Asia-Pacific at Dassault Systèmes.

“There is a massive value opportunity that our customers can take advantage of by linking the workforce with the objectives of company, and equipping them with the best information and resources possible.”

Changing the way companies think from the top down will make it easier for the adoption of technology across departments to do things smarter, cheaper and more efficiently – particularly in an age where deposits become harder to exploit and traditional methods of exploitation become uneconomical.

3. THE FIRST STEP TO OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE IS VISIBILITY

One of the key concepts explored during the FORUM was achieving operational excellence through stability and visibility at all levels of a mining operation. Typically, mining operations are not 100% material balanced and validated, which has the flow-on effect of inaccurate reporting and decision making that is not fully informed.

Paul Fenner, Senior Manager Technical Sales at Dassault Systèmes, talked about the importance of visibility through mine production management, from tracking material movement and stockpiles through to activity management.

“With increased confidence in data accuracy at site and enterprise levels, mining companies can better validate their data in real-time, reduce reliance on manual spreadsheets, understand variance from plan and importantly, provide a basis for continuous improvement.”

4. TAKE A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO CLOUD COMPUTING

Cloud computing is not a new buzzword. Many other industries have been storing data and software on the cloud for decades – but for mining, it has yet to be adopted on a large scale. As the world becomes more connected, miners need to consider what cloud capabilities mean for them holistically, what the security and backup implications may be, and the end-to-end business impact.

One of our guest speakers, Telstra’s General Manager of Mining, Oil & Gas, Eric Nettleton, talked about what cloud strategy means for the industry today, the challenges and potential solutions.

“All the ingredients are there for mining to move forward. Organizations need to understand what the cloud capabilities mean for them, where they want to position themselves, then take small logical steps to put the right technology systems in place and build upon that to reach the desired scale,” said Eric.

“Mining data is very site-centric, given the nature of the industry, and it will be challenging to get to a stage where centralized data  is accurate at both the company and site level. It will take time and work, not just from a software perspective but also from a workforce and workflow perspective.”

5. DISCLOSURE IN AN EVOLVING MINING INDUSTRY 

In today’s digitalized world, disclosure moves beyond ‘hard’ statements of profit and loss, cash flow and forecasts to also include ‘soft’ avenues of communication such as social media, newsletters, online media and public forums.

According to Ivy Chen, Principal Consultant at CSA Globaland a speaker at the FORUM, mining companies also need to factor in disclosures that could affect their license to operate such as sustainability, diversity, environmental management, land use and political developments.

“A disclosure strategy should include what is material to the company and needs to be disclosed, templates for different scenarios, roles and responsibilities, mechanisms for board approval and of course the subsequent release."

"Major sources of information such as newsletters, TV and social media need to be monitored regularly and a plan needs to be put in place to manage disclosure.”

To view a highlights video of the forum or a Q&A interview with Vice President of Natural Resources, Marni Rabasso, click the link below:

 http://www.geovia.com/blog/highlights-natural-resources-forum 

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