Sunday, 6 December 2020
Interview: George McCullough, Interlate
Austmine Limited

Interview: George McCullough, Interlate

Real-time data analysis is proving to be a point of difference for Brisbane based Interlate, and according to the company’s Director of Strategy, George McCullough, this live reaction to changes in the value chain provides outstanding results.

Recently, George explained to Austmine how Interlate is integrating their platform with the operations teams of mines around the country, and detailed how Interlate’s systems work to identify potential efficiencies.

Highlights include:

  • The importance of live data and historical context
  • Human factors amidst digital and automation changes

The data revolution is sweeping the mining sector, with Interlate at the forefront of the charge, taking a holistic view of the complete value chain for mines.

By not only looking at live data, but also historical information, as well as the context of a given mine’s processes, Interlate provides around the clock feedback to operations teams in real time.

While there may not necessarily be anything fundamentally wrong with the procedures of a given operation, Interlate’s systems work to find possible efficiencies that can significantly impact on productivity, or operating costs. The company estimates that of the 1,400 mineral processing plants globally, improvements are possible in 70% of those facilities.

Taking an Alternate Approach

George McCullough, the Director of Strategy for Interlate, explains that by looking at the overall value chain of a given mine in real-time, inefficient sections can be more accurately identified.

While a traditional approach to data analysis sees isolated portions of a mine scrutinised, Interlate seeks to minimise disruptions over the entire production chain.

George said, “By having a total picture of what’s happening we can find patterns, which gives us insight to how mining operations can improve.

“The operations teams can react to those insights in the right timeframe and increase their productivity.

“Also, by having access to the right information when operations teams need it, they can avoid potential stoppages or downtime. In that way, delivering data in the right timeframe can actually reduce operations’ risk.”

Tunnel Vision

A core strength of Interlate is the fact that the company’s staff come from operational backgrounds, and thus, understand the constraints and stresses of the task.

While the attention of operations teams is on mine safety and continual operation, often focus can be lost on the bigger picture.

George said, “We’re not in any way implying that people are doing something wrong in their operations teams, it’s just that in our experience there is a lot of local optimisation; people focus on the things that they know. They take care of those components, but they are not necessarily aware of downstream impacts of their decisions, or what is happening in other areas of that value chain.

“In our experience, the cause of inefficiency is not incompetence, it’s being limited to a view of your local area of operations, rather than an overarching perspective.”

Want to read the full interview with George? Access it now on the Austmine 2019 conference website here.
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