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November the 22nd signifies National Mining and Related Industries Day 2019, an important annual day that will be celebrated this year at Kings Park in Perth, Western Australia.
A time to reflect, consider, appreciate & champion the mining community and the myriad of benefits to all Australians that result.
Co-sponsored by Roy Hill, Rio Tinto and BHP, this year, as prior years events, will be truly remarkable.
Aside from enjoying world-class entertainment throughout, this year’s 3,000 strong audiences will have the opportunity to listen to National Mining and Related Industries Day Patrons Tad Watroba, Hancock Prospecting’s Executive Director and the pinnacle of the mining industry, Gina Rinehart, Hancock Prospecting’s Executive Chairman.
Special guests at the event include the Federal Resources Minister, the Hon Senator Matthew Canavan as well as leaders from BHP, Rio Tinto and Roy Hill whom will each speak in contribution and in celebration of our industry. Each of which acknowledging just how significant mining and its related industries are to investment, job creation and ongoing significantly enhanced Australian living standards.
This annual celebration presents a brilliant opportunity for us all to show genuine appreciation for Australia’s mining and related industries – as they remain ultimately, one of our country’s most significant and necessary sectors, essential to the ongoing quality of life experienced by every Australian.
Interview with Roy Hill CEO Barry Fitzgerald, courtesy of Mining Technology.
Maptek recently collaborated with Roy Hill as part of a project to find new ways to accelerate orebody knowledge and inform mine planning. One outcome of the collaboration was the delivery of a new machine learning approach to grade estimation.
We spoke to Roy Hill CEO Barry Fitzgerald to understand Roy Hill’s approach to technology partnerships, and how to get the most out of an innovation partnership.
Could you tell me what the partnership between Maptek and Roy Hill looked like?
We’d been looking to make sure our mine planning and understanding of our orebody is at the highest level possible, and were open to leveraging emerging technologies to realise this. We had people within our own team working towards a solution who had worked with people from Maptek previously. By talking with Maptek we identified that we had some common outcomes that we could work towards.
From a Roy Hill perspective we saw that by working with Maptek collaboratively, and in particular by not trying to own all the IP, we could move the product forward in a way which achieved much better outcomes for both of us. We had the operational knowledge and knew where we were trying to drive the product to – adding value – and obviously Maptek had the technology and the smarts and understanding of their system to bring the product to life.
So we had some really clear outcomes together, we had a collaborative environment which wasn’t driven by IP knowledge or ownership or anything like that. We managed it in a very professional way by having key governance meetings where we made sure we resolved issues in a timely manner and had weekly progress conversations both on a technical and at thinking level.
Fundamentally I think it was a really good combination of shared purpose and understanding of what was really going to add value to us and obviously the understanding from a technical point of view about how we could best do that.
Was there anything that surprised you during the partnership?
We knew that there was a lot of value to be unleashed, but if someone asked us to define what that value was, it probably would have been difficult for both of us to put a figure on it. We worked out if we worked together we could probably achieve something significant – and that’s what we did.
We leveraged automation and disruptive technology, to make the geologists the masters of their processes and systems, and that freed them up and that’s where we got the value. It freed our geologists so they now have time to critically think about the world rather than be process driven; and Maptek developed each program to drive that. The outcome we got was a really enhanced process in terms of what we could achieve as a business and I think the other outcome which probably surprised us was the level which we could bring technology and new thinking into the final outcome.
It’s interesting you talk about the critical thinking rather than process drive for the staff and the people. How important is this change of thinking?
If you think about the past, what we did was we spent a lot of time bringing the data together, collating it and putting it into a form which you could understand. We had quite long timeframes to do that, which were quite intensive on people.
Through this partnership with Maptek, we ended up developing a virtual reality model of the Roy Hill project and we used some machine learning technology for the geological modelling. We have been able to automate a lot of the processes and we can then generate a means of virtually looking and walking through the orebody and understanding it. That allows you to understand the complexity and the scale of the project.
I think that is something which is unique because it means the people who are doing the work are changing from grinding out the numbers to saying ‘I’ve now got the model, let’s walk through it and understand it.’ It allows you to visualise it in depth and in cross section so it allows you to work through it in three dimensions. It’s not a big step from there to then add the time dimension as well as the mine develops. There’s a huge amount of opportunity to look at the way things work.
How satisfying is it to see the mine presented in this whole new way?
It’s added a lot for our own staff in terms of what we’re doing with the orebody and it makes it much more accessible to a whole range of other people. You no longer need someone who’s looked at the plans that you get from the normal process to familiarise themselves. Not everyone has the capacity to understand or visualise things, and so what you can do is you can make it much more accessible to a whole range of people by saying ‘Hey, come have a look at this!’ and they can suddenly walk through it and they’re immersed in it.
We have what we call a ROC Ed program where we have school children visiting our office and we allow them to use this technology and walk through the orebody using VR headsets.
It works so well because many young people just get the technology and that allows us to bridge both the knowledge and age gap.
Was there a specific outcome from the project involving Maptek that was the most important or rewarding for the company, and what did that mean for Roy hill?
AI algorithms were included in the project and one of the things we did was compare the algorithms’ outcome with what we would do through a manual process. In the manual process, you had a very time-intensive, human resource-intensive process against the very short AI process. When we did an assessment of the accuracy of both of those we found a very high correlation. This demonstrated its benefits and gave us the confidence that AI was not only time-saving but it was accurate. We’ve moved on from that original one to use it for other challenges and it’s given us confidence to further explore using AI.
The second point relates to the comment I made about it providing an immersive experience. This project has made understanding our orebody much more available to a broader range of people; and given the people who have to use it on a day-to-day basis a whole new perspective, as it allows them to see it differently. It’s really taking our business forward to understand Industry 4.0 and disruptive technologies.
My view is that all of these technologies are becoming consumerised. What I mean by that is that 20 years ago, research used to be very specific, and you had to have a detailed program and then go off and pursue it. But these days, you’ve got technologies and techniques, and it’s very much like going into a supermarket where you can buy them and place them together to make yourself a great cake. What we’re seeing is that we’ve got various technologies around, such as machine learning, where we can apply them to solve problems which in the past would have been too time consuming or too difficult to do using conventional methods.
Another outcome is that it creates an awareness that as we move forward in our professional development, both individually and as a business, we need to change our understanding about the impact of digital transformation. We need to be prepared and challenge the way we work, to look for new ways, and as we develop our skills and workforce, we can change and empower them to be more receptive to using these other, emerging technologies.
What were some other positive outcomes for Roy Hill and its people?
I think the point about ROC Ed is really important. What we’ve got the ability to do now is to demystify mining, which has traditionally been very much a mechanical and physical thing, to a certain extent. To be able to immerse students in an orebody, gives them the insight that there is this huge amount of technology involved in mining and shows them the applicability of STEM in the mining industry. It gives them a really good sense of awareness, and I think in our society the need to encourage people into STEM is really important.
From a Roy Hill perspective it’s given us the ability to give all the people in the organisation who are not very involved in the mine planning – an understanding of our orebody. For people associated with the mining itself but not the mine planning, it gives them a better way to recognise what we do, and to put what they do on a day-to-day physical context into a more holistic picture. It’s enriched the opportunity for a lot of people to understand things in a broader way.
So this new visualisation is powerful for more than just geologists?
I’d agree with that. It does mean that you can you can really make it much more accessible to people, but still in a detailed way. It it shows the complexity but still allows people to understand the complexity whether that be through the visualisation or the AI.
Can you tell me a bit about what’s next?
What we have identified is that there are lots of ways we can leverage the technology. We’ve seen it work for our current orebody which we’ve been mining and it gives us the confidence to look at other orebodies. It gives us the ability to look at orebodies which haven’t been mined because we now have a much better understanding of how we can do it. I think it really does change the way that we start off mine planning – the value adding of orebodies – because we can look at them in a more holistic manner.
Having the confidence with the machine learning and AI means there is now a range of problems, which in the past we would have thought were too hard, too expensive or too time consuming, that are now viable.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
One of the driving principles at Roy Hill is that we see ourselves as a relatively small and agile company. From our perspective, working closely with suppliers and technology companies is a great way of leveraging that. It’s important that we as a company have an operating environment and approach to collaboration, partnerships and innovation that meets the needs of both parties, and this reduces some of the more traditional constraints that people have operated under – about who owns what – and all those other issues. I think what we’re showing is that the speed of delivery and the benefit of delivery outweighs some of those other traditional constraints which others impose on innovation relationships.
- Profit for the year after tax up 147% year on year to $1,376 million
- Operating Sales Revenue up 34% year on year to $5,156 million
- Production up 7% year on year to 55mtpa design capacity
- Net borrowings down by $1.7B in financial year
- Voluntary prepayments of $1.5B to reduce debt being made subsequent to year end
- Paid $332 million of West Australian State Royalties
Article courtesy of Australian Mining
23 October 2019
As mining companies face increased pressure to optimise operations, industrial software company AVEVA is perfectly placed to provide the next wave of innovative solutions.
The next leap in productivity at mine sites is set to stem from advances in the dynamic technology market, as operators figure out new ways to optimise output from assets.
While mining companies are already beginning to introduce a broad range of innovative solutions to maximise productivity, reduce costs, and improve safety, including artificial intelligence (AI), mixed reality (XR) and the Internet of Things (IoT), there is a race of sorts in the tech industry to constantly provide the next advancement.
AVEVA, which has built a strong reputation in the mining industry with its software platforms, is leading the way in providing digital technology that spans companies’ global portfolio across operations and asset lifecycles.
Its solutions unify data from first engineering designs to operations, analysing and managing engineering information, processes and supply chain, so that companies can maximise productivity, reduce downtime using predictive analytics, and bring new projects online faster and more cheaply.
Against the backdrop of global uncertainty and a volatile commodity market, AVEVA is in a “sweet spot” as mining companies become increasingly demanding for innovation in digital technology, according to head of Pacific Zone, Damien McDade.
“At AVEVA, we encompass industrial Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, alternative realities and virtual reality all together within a unified operational lifecycle platform that can help companies maximise profitability, minimise risk and enhance automation and control,” McDade explains.
“You only have to look at a world-leading mining company like Roy Hill, based in Perth. They have embraced AVEVA’s solutions to create a remote operating centre that spans the entire mining value chain.
“Not only does this enable their team to optimise their efficiency from pit to port, but it also dovetails perfectly with their global supply chain, ensuring that they can pinpoint revenue opportunities before they arise, and scale their operations to fit. This innovative approach is adapted from a concept first developed in the oil and gas industry, but it’s a flexible model which all mining operators can benefit from.
“This is our sweet spot and opportunity. Typically, across the board, the mining industry is trying to squeeze more out of assets and empowering its workforce through digitisation. This is where we come into play.
“Our technology can help companies increase operational efficiency and give their teams better data on which to base their day-to-day and strategic decision making. Those two things together can transform return on investment and sharpen operational focus.”
McDade and the team will be at AVEVA’s World Conference in Brisbane (at Howard Smith Wharves) on November 19-20.
With leading practitioners from around the globe and subject matter experts as speakers, the AVEVA team will offer Australian users a snapshot of the technology future, showing customers and industry peers what the company is working on.
Some of the company’s top partners will also be able to showcase their capabilities, including Stratus Technologies and Callisto.
“We believe we have some of the best industrial software and we want people to see the very latest, relevant content,” McDade says.
Much of the discussion will revolve around digital engineering, operations centres, asset predictivity, and cloud operations, which is the next leap in information storage and analytics.
While cloud-based analytics are available today, mining companies are only using it for what McDade describes as “non-critical infrastructure”, to be put simply – information that, if lost, wouldn’t be catastrophic.
The big question AVEVA challenges the mining industry with is “are you truly ready for cloud?
Embracing the full potential of cloud-based operations will require a reorganisation of how many traditional mining companies operate, but AVEVA has numerous concrete examples of the benefits this can bring, including at Roy Hill’s base in Perth.
AVEVA will also showcase its hybrid model, which allows mining companies to take noncritical performance information to the cloud and leave critical infrastructure on its current systems.
This progression is just one of the company’s bold plans for how digital technology can benefit Australian mining companies. These are available today, capitalising on Australia’s track record of leading the way in innovative technology, according to McDade.
“It comes down to what it takes to make a business stand up in Australia in terms of cost of doing business – other countries would argue that the competitive cost base we have here is due to technology, which Australian companies are often the first to introduce,” McDade says.
While AVEVA works across a range of industries, mining accounts for a significant proportion of business, which justifies its recent announcement that Brisbane will be the new base for its Pacific region headquarters.
The city offers a central location and is described by McDade as an emerging “tech hub”, making the decision a logical one.
From its Brisbane base, AVEVA intends to ramp up a focus that spans across a broad range of mining and other industrial companies’ operations, such as value chain optimisation, which allows for visibility across the entire value chain, from planning to scheduling to inventory.
Optimisation also extends to mining companies’ production data, which AVEVA turns into insights with downtime analysis, delay accounting and process optimisation.
Critical to companies maximising productivity is also the management of asset performance, with AVEVA offering tools that predict potential equipment failures so they can be planned for and averted, alongside digitising operating procedures and maintenance activities as part of a holistic approach to engineering, operations and maintenance, all based on unified, accurate and up-to-the minute data.
This provides a glimpse into the potential offered by digital mining at a time where companies are under increasing pressure to maximise productivity amidst volatile market conditions.
AVEVA is in the perfect position to capitalise on Australia’s dynamic mining market, with the nation’s reputation as the epicentre of resources technology only continuing to grow.
NEWMAN, Western Australia. August 15, 2019. UK-based Trans Global Projects Group (TGP) has delivered a shipment of 62 modules weighing 68,000 tonnes to the Roy Hill iron ore mine near Newman in Western Australia.
Roy Hill, owned by privately-held Hancock Prospecting, encourages its suppliers to paint their equipment pink in support of breast cancer awareness. In 2018 Berge Bulk showed its support by painting the superstructure of its 210,000 DWT iron ore carrier Berge Toubkal pink.
According to Hancock executive chairman Gina Rinehart, with a net worth over US$15 billion, breast cancer is Australia’s most commonly diagnosed cancer and now affects nearly one in eight Australian women.
Rinehart established the practice of painting Roy Hill mining equipment pink in recognition of cancer sufferers and naming them after employees. In May this year it christened two more 296-tonne capacity Hitachi mega trucks with the names of two female cancer survivors.
Speaking at the ceremony (pictured) Rinehart said 42 percent of the mine’s truck drivers are women – a record in the Australian mining industry.
To deliver the latest pink mining equipment, TGP shipped the modules from Dalian to Port Hedland and after “intensive” biosecurity checks they travelled a further 400 kilometres on a single lane road to the Roy Hill site.
“Through expert planning, innovative engineering and careful coordination, our team was able to successfully deliver these modules, despite the particularly challenging conditions,” commented TGP CEO Colin Charnock, “We are very proud to have helped our client support such an important cause with the delivery of these pink modules. Thanks to the diligent and tireless efforts of our team, these modules will now help the mine further demonstrate its commitment to breast cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and survival.”
In addition to project logistics management, TGP services include ship chartering, logistics consultancy and transport engineering.
Article courtesy of Freightweek.
Roy Hill has won the 2019 ‘Digger of the Year’ award at the famous Diggers and Dealers Mining Forum. The award is in recognition of the outstanding performance of Roy Hill’s operations which have now reached their full production capacity of 55Mtpa on a consistent basis over the past 12 months, and are in the process of heading to 60Mtpa.
The Executive Chairman of Roy Hill, and all at Roy Hill congratulates Jodi Moffitt for winning the prestigious ‘Excellence in Mining’ award at the 2019 Women in Industry Awards, at an event held in Melbourne overnight.
The Women in Industry Awards acknowledge exceptional women who have achieved success through their invaluable leadership, innovation and commitment to their sector.
As is tradition several times each year at Roy Hill, we have a special occasion to honour and support breast cancer survivors and women employees of Roy, and/or Hancock. Mrs Rinehart gave a speech today at the seventh pink truck ceremony in support of breast cancer sufferers. These events are very special occasions where Mrs Rinehart and members of the Hancock Prospecting and Roy Hill communities show their sympathy, support and love for those touched by breast cancer and related cancers.
Roy Hill and North Metropolitan TAFE are working together to meet mining skill demands by providing apprenticeships and traineeships to Roy Hill employees.
More than 150 Roy Hill employees will be offered traineeships in Surface Extraction Operations and Resource Processing to prepare them for job roles including mobile plant operators, mineral processing operators and port operators.
32-year old employee Jana Buvari is learning to maintain the communication systems on Roy Hill’s railway as part of her Electronics and Communications apprenticeship with North Metropolitan TAFE (please view video here).
In his 10-year career as a train driver, Brad Main has never been involved in anything quite like Roy Hill’s pink trucks and locomotives initiative to support and raise awareness of breast cancer.
On Friday 15 February 2019, Brad, who has been contracted to drive Roy Hill trains for three years by Karijini Rail, had the honour of being at the helm of the first ever pink locomotive’s six-hour journey to the mine.