Tuesday, 17 September 2019
Perth Mining Innovation Roadshow Review - Rebbecca Kerr, General Manager Technology, Roy Hill

Perth Mining Innovation Roadshow Review - Rebbecca Kerr, General Manager Technology, Roy Hill

Disruption to Innovation: How Disruptive Technologies Can Enable Innovation and Value

Austmine was joined by Rebbecca Kerr, General Manager Technology, Roy Hill Holdings at our recent Mining Innovation Roadshow in Perth. She discussed the pathway forward for finding value from innovation and highlighted key advancements such as the digital twin, communications networks and geological data.

Rebbecca began by outlining Roy Hill’s current innovation agenda and their aim of ‘creating tomorrow’s mine, today.’ Central to this vision is the implementation of Smart Programs, which run across people, orebody, systems and assets, and aim to create safer operations, higher productivity and consistent and sustainable performance.

Roy Hill will be making this innovation journey incrementally, ultimately moving from manual decisions to automated decisions and then full automation. Key to this change is the concept of the digital twin, which integrates artificial intelligence, machine learning and software analytics with data to create living simulation models. Roy Hill are utilising this to prove business value and ensure associated process and organisation design is optimised.

Roy Hill came up with four digital twins, each examining the old way of doing things and creating incremental changes towards optimisation.  

  • Deep Learning Concepts – Orebody Modelling: Traditionally, orebody modelling and interpretation involved 4 months to each update and the manual nature was susceptible to errors. Roy Hill is transitioning to a smarter way of doing things, utilising deep learning to understand the measure of uncertainty of estimation in the orebody. This is enabled by analytics techniques and computer processing power and is now fundamental to risk based decision making in the mine planning and execution space for Roy Hill. 

  • IoT Concepts – Lighting Towers in the Mining Pit: The old way was monitoring and control of lighting towers by field workers, which is time consuming, costly and energy inefficient. Roy Hill then moved to electronic control which turns on lights at pre-set times, but this is still wasting energy and time in manually tracking assets. The smarter way is now utilising the IoT for automatic and remote lighting based on ambient light levels and forecasts, while GPS auto-tracking is used for smart refuelling and maintenance. Lighting is now used when required, with reduced maintenance and energy costs. 

  • Spatial and Scanning: Previous methods of collecting data used monitoring and control by field workers, but now drones and robotics are utilised to capture this information. These technologies have massively increased the scale and detail of data, and the analytics can be applied by skilled inspectors. 

  • Technology and Skills: Roy Hill have recognised that you can have all the technology in the world, but without people you are not going to have anyone to deliver it. People are integral to the digital journey in mining.

Rebbecca finished by acknowledging the suppliers of Roy Hill and emphasised that relationships with partners and collaborators are critical. This enables methods to solving their challenges and effective implementation and integration of new technologies. Relationships with vendors are also a centrepiece of Roy Hill’s Smart Mine vision.

You can find Rebecca’s slides in the member portal. Contact Nicole.colomb@austmine.com.au if you have forgotten login details.

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