A well-known mining and minerals conglomerate has seen a dramatic increase and expansion in operational efficiency and safety as a result of its partnership with Schneider Electric and AVEVA. The project included the development and installation of a state-of-the-art integrated remote operating centre dubbed iRoC.

Already, the mine has experienced significant gains in productivity which has solidified its initial investment and resultant returns and will continue to do so for years to come. The technology is already supporting the mine’s increase in annual production of manganese ore.

The Challenge

In order to centralise its operations, the mine’s management team was looking for a solution that could overcome the disconnect between different business units, while also modernising operational infrastructure.

Additionally, the mine was dealing with legacy systems which didn’t offer consistent and standardised information (one version of the truth) from a single source. With this in mind, the mine’s leadership understood they had to embark on a Digital Transformation Strategy to digitise the mine’s operations to achieve production growth targets, and cost reduction initiatives.

The mine was facing the following challenges:

  • Centralising a highly fragmented environment.
  • Integrating diverse sources of information.
  • Facilitating collaboration among three separate mine locations.
  • Eliminating misalignments between different operational systems.
  • Modernising existing mine infrastructure.
  • Improving sustainable operations.
  • Increasing annual production from 3 million tons to 4.6 million tons while maintaining unit profitability.

A Partnership is Forged

To this end, the mine decided to partner with one vendor to supply an end-to-end solution. The leadership team chose Schneider Electric and its EcoStruxure for MMM solution which included leading-edge industrial software from AVEVA

The project significantly expanded the central room which included surface and underground operations. It also included integration of the water, electricity, ventilation, and security services.

Today, the mine benefits from having a single source of control enabled by the Integrated Remote Operation Centre – iRoC, which features AVEVA’s industrial software.

Furthermore, Schneider Electric’s IoT-enabled hardware is directly connected to the iRoC, allowing for remote monitoring. This means that the iROC team can now effectively monitor the equipment and operations of the process plants from a central control room which includes a 45m-metre video wall.

The mine now benefits from:

  • Centralised operations.
  • Remote maintenance.
  • Consolidated value chain.
  • Increased situational awareness.
  • Improved safety.
  • High system availability.
  • Asset reliability through digital transformation.
  • Efficiency in reducing waste.
  • Improved productivity, data quality, and reporting,
  • Easy scalability – standards and communications,

“The mine leadership understood the gains they could achieve through putting in place a digital transformation strategy, and we’ve worked with them to create and implement a solution that will benefit the mine for years to come,” says Craig Hudson, BDM, Mining, Metals and Minerals at Schneider Electric South Africa.

“The end result is an operation that’s safer, more sustainable, and which will increase productivity for the long-term. The return on investment, within a very short period of time, shows what can be achieved by the mining industry when they put the right technology in place,” he says.

The solution includes AVEVA’s Unified Operations System Platform and Schneider Electric’s Modicon M580 Hot Standby PAC hardware, Magelis HMI multi-touch screens, Lexium switches and Altivar Process variable speed drives.

You can find out more about Schneider Electric here.