PROFESSOR Steve Hannah saw the future about 20 years ago when he presented an award to a “bright graduate” at the firm at which they both worked, Honeywell.
KASHIF Saleem had learnt only basic English and was a typically cash-strapped student when he headed to Australia from Pakistan in 1998 with dreams of building a life and a career as a self-made entrepreneur. Fast forward to 2013 and his client list includes WorleyParsons, Downer Group, United Group, Fortescue Metals and Leighton, among others. Saleem says he hasn’t “made it” yet.
THE increasing cyber security threat facing the mining industry has been highlighted in a survey by global accounting firm EY, which believes the industry’s greater reliance on technology may put new strains on the robustness and integrity of current IT systems.
SIGNIFICANT mining industry representation at a large asset lifecycle management technology gathering in Australia has lent weight to the belief in the Bentley Systems camp that top-down directives in some mining companies to “pull ourselves into the 21st century” is going to drive increased investment in new IT.
RUNGEPincockMinarco believes strong reviews from customers for its latest commodity-focussed scheduling product Open Pit Metals Solution (OPMS) support its view that such solutions represent the next evolution in mine scheduling.
RESOURCE Development Group (ASX: RDG) business Intellect Systems will support instrumentation and process control systems at Sandfire Resources’ DeGrussa copper mine in Western Australia under a new one-year service agreement.
TECHNOLOGY developer CAE Mining is attempting to rebuild its team in Western Australia, appointing Jonathan Graham as Australasian consulting manager based in Perth. Graham is crossing from Queensland to “grow the technical consulting team and enhance the local support offering”.
INTERGRAPH says newly released Smart 3D 2014, consolidating its SmartPlant 3D, SmartMarine 3D and SmartPlant 3D Materials Handling products, builds on the developer’s 3D technology architecture to increase quality, interoperability and productivity for clients in the plant, offshore, shipbuilding, metals, mining and bulk material handling sectors.
USER experience and integration have been the focus for RungePincockMinarco (RPM) in its refinement of XACT 1.8, its short term mine scheduling application.
A LONG celebratory lunch and a good break – that was the plan. At least Zhanyou Huang and his Tucson, Arizona, based MineSight Schedule Optimiser 8.0 development team enjoyed the lunch.
A SURVEY of firms and organisations handling exploration data has found more companies want to improve data management to increase reporting visibility and transparency to win over investors and boost discovery rates.
IT’S competed with a greedy algorithm, but can the dig optimisation program for a mining excavator ever hope to beat a human operator?
BIG DATA presents “huge opportunities” for miners, general manager Australia of Maptek, Peter Johnson, told the company’s recent 2013 Users Conference in Australia.
NEW Zealand-based ARANZ Geo has described Leapfrog Geo 1.4 as a “major advance” in the development of its geological modelling software.
AUSTRALIAN mining consulting firm Optiro says it’s come up with a neat graphical aid for performing uniform conditioning (UC) resource assessments using the popular CAE Studio design software.
BENTLEY Systems expects the new SpecWave Composer, the first product based on its acquired SpecWave technology, to work seamlessly with upcoming release, ProjectWise Construction Work Packaging Server, and give work packaging project teams the ability to bring more reliable specifications and other documents into work packages.
AUSTRALIAN mining IT specialist COSOL has maintained its early growth momentum in Mongolia, where it established an office in June this year, winning an appointment as Ellipse support service provider for Centerra Gold at the miner’s Mongolia and Canada operations.
GEOVIA, part of Dassault Systèmes, is targeting what it perceives as a continuing drift underground by its customer base with a new ramp design tool and other changes for underground mine planners in its latest GEMS 6.6 release.
MAKING mine plan changes on accurate planned-versus-actual production reconciliation data will be undertaken with greater confidence by Geovia InSite users after the changes made to InSite 4.4.
RIGHT now, Christian Kunze is looking for greater visibility for his new online mining financial modelling product. But in time he won’t mind if it just sits unobtrusively in the background as the calculation engine for hundreds of project developers and their financial backers. Excel for the 21st century anyone?
TRANSPORT equipment manufacturer and technology developer Emco Wheaton has come up with a new software package that enables automatic monitoring of product levels in individual compartments of fuel tankers.
IMPROVING productivity is now a major focus for the Australian mining industry, and certainly other sectors. For a solution, Paul Faix believes many senior executives and managers need to get their head around the cloud.
OCTOBER 22: NEW functionality in Maptek’s Vulcan 9 targets specific applications in resource modelling and underground design alongside improvements to software architecture to manage massive databases, the company’s 2013 user conference in Australia heard this week.
WHEN Steve Craig was hatching a plan to turn mine scheduling conventions upside down, Western Australia’s best new gold discovery for a decade was already looking like a mine in the making. Now Tropicana is in production and Craig’s Evorelution software has played no small part in some impressive early scheduling cost benefits.
OCTOBER 22: “Ubiquitous sensors rip a deluge of data from the world around us,” spatial business industry leader Richard Simpson said in his keynote address to mining technology company Maptek’s users conference in Brisbane this week.
ATTENDEES at next month’s CRCORE Annual Assembly in Queensland, Australia, will get timely insights into the progress of continuing development of the research group’s Integrated Extraction Simulator (IES), which it describes as “an important step forward for the simulation of mining and minerals processing systems”.
AFRICAN-focused uranium miner Paladin Energy says a close working relationship with MICROMINE, forged over 20 years and stepped up in more recent years through its direct involvement with the software developer’s beta testing program, has “benefited Paladin significantly”.
ROCKWELL Automation executives, including CEO Keith Nosbusch, will lead a range of discussions on network and physical security, transforming supply chains and a vision for smart, connected industrial enterprises at the inaugural Internet of Things World Forum in Spain later this month.
NEW automated mesh generation tools in Itasca’s 3D geomechanical modelling software are going to improve precision and control for users, according to the technology and consulting firm.
AUSTRALIAN company Immersive Technologies has described the first order from a Saudi Arabian mining company for purpose-built mining equipment training simulators – believed to be worth up to $A15 million – as the “largest mining simulation investment in history”.
GLOBAL leader in the mine planning software space, Australian-based Maptek, is on the verge of another major launch.
A “non-fallible” scheduling option is one of the features of Mintec’s just released MineSight Schedule Optimiser Version 7.5.
ATLAS Copco has won an Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) award for the interface design of its new Rig Control System, RCS 5, for mining equipment.
CHAIRMAN of the Olympic Delivery Authority for London 2012, Sir John Armitt will head a strong list of keynote speakers at Bentley Systems’ upcoming Year in Infrastructure 2013 Conference in London.
ENGINEERING software company Intergraph says more than 210 delegates attended its Intergraph PP&M Australia 2013 conferences in Perth and Brisbane, a new record level.
PATIENCE is a virtue for France’s Dassault Systemes, according to its most senior mining executive, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to stand idle and let a good downturn go to waste.
A CANADIAN company set up to commercialise space-flight technologies says a demonstration of its OPAL-360 obscurant-penetrating LiDAR scanner on a P&H 4100 rope shovel at Barrick Gold Corp’s Goldstrike mine in Nevada “went off without a hitch”.
SEPTEMBER 23: Ventyx has been named company of the year in the metals and mining category of the International Business Awards (IBAs) for the second consecutive year.
DRILL down into the key technology trends shaping the future of both the mining and petroleum industries and it’s easy to see the convergence of themes that was lacking 20 years ago and even into the past decade. ‘Field of the future’, ‘remote operations centre’, ‘intelligent energy’, are all now familiar sounding to anyone who’s sat in on a Rio Tinto technology presentation in the past five years.
SEPTEMBER 23: Australia’s RungePincockMinarco (RPM) has used the Exposibram 2013 mining show in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, to launch the openpit metals version of its XPAC scheduling offering.
NOT far from a full commercial release, Snowden’s new mine enterprise-level reconciliation software and related service offering has already created a stir among most – it could be fair to say all – the world’s big iron ore producers and is likely to soon be on other CIO’s menus.
MOBILE mining equipment costing billions of dollars has delivered diminishing returns for the world’s miners over the past decade. Yet it is only now that there seems to be a real awakening in the industry, led by the US and Canada, that productivity has declined, according to the head of what is now financial services group PwC’s mining intelligence unit.
THE Australian-developed ‘Smart Marker’ cave-mine material tracking technology is said to have produced significant results – on a smaller scale – at a Queensland gold mine.
AN enhanced user platform, including a more flexible flowsheet drawer and improved data entry and viewing options, are the most obvious changes to JKTech’s flagship simulation software JKSimMet.
SEPTEMBER 16: Andrew Pyne has been named as the new vice president mining for Dassault Systèmes, reporting to GEOVIA business CEO Rick Moignard.
SEPTEMBER 12: The combination of France’s Schneider Electric and UK-based Invensys could produce a global leader in industrial automation, advanced software solutions and power solutions for electro-intensive industries such as mining, the former company has said in its prospectus for the GBP3.4 billion deal announced in July.
MOORDIUP is no Marvin – he/she/it is far superior! Australian energy major Woodside says the supercomputer ramping up to calculation speeds of 118,000 billion per second is going to help it “solve some very interesting geophysical problems”.
THE former ASX-listed Polaris Metals, now part of Mineral Resources (ASX: MRL), was able to save capital with a smaller earthmoving fleet at new Carina iron ore pits in Western Australia after optimising the life-of-mine schedule using advanced software.
THERE is plenty of talk around at the moment about mining technology companies having the ‘tools’ miners need to lift their performance and improve profitability at a time of lower commodity prices. Not so much picks and cap-lamps; more high-powered computing. At least that’s what is driving the fortunes of a Western Australian firm that says it currently has the “largest sales pipeline in our history”.
ENGINEERING and technology firm MIPAC is developing a Yokogawa DCS interface for the McArthur River zinc mine in Australia’s Northern Territory as part of that site’s $A360 million expansion.
THE strategic repositioning of the Runge (now RungePincockMinarco) mining technology business that’s been promised since its ASX listing in 2008 now seems imminent following the launch of its ground-breaking XACT for Enterprise product, after nine months of intensive development work.
NEWLY launched XACT for Enterprise has the potential to be transformational for creator, ASX-listed RungePincockMinarco, and for many of the world’s leading mining organisations. For RPM CEO Richard Mathews, it’s the realisation of nearly 12 months of feverish work by the company’s technical team, and significant investment. Here he speaks exclusively with HighGrade Briefing about this year’s major mining IT product launch.
A NEW level of operational rigour and discipline is needed at most mines if they’re going to maximise the benefits from autonomous equipment fleets, according to Australian-based Caterpillar mining solutions region manager Carl Hendricks. But really, he says, it’s the level current operators should be aspiring to anyway.
MINING technology firm Maptek has donated a mobile library to Seatile Primary School in Westonaria, South Africa as part of a social enterprise initiative.
MINING explosives giant Orica’s use of the ServiceNow enterprise software-as-a-service (SaaS) to standardise a number of its primary organisational processes has won it recognition from Australia’s IT Service Management Forum (itSMF).
INTELLECT Systems, part of ASX-listed Resource Development Group (ASX: RDG), will replace part of the ageing Mount Whaleback iron ore mine MOSCAD telemetry control system under a contract with Lend Lease Services.
AN advanced automated surface production drill has followed computer-generated instructions to complete an entire drill pattern without human intervention in a world-first for the surface mining industry and major milestone in the development alliance between Rio Tinto and Atlas Copco.
INITIAL deployments of an advanced underground mine communication and tracking system, including “game changing” CSIRO-developed ‘localisation’ technology, signal the start of what Minetec executive general manager Andy Sheppard believes can be a strong period of growth for the Codan business unit despite the current poor mining market.
US-BASED Strata Worldwide, overseeing something of a relaunch in Australia on the back of its expanded mining technology suite, seems determined to offer mines a comprehensive underground ‘communications-as-a-service’ contract option as it bids to expand its international market footprint.
IMMERSIVE Technologies says it has increased the level of realism at the heart of its mining equipment training simulation technology with the introduction of VirtualGround 3.0 as part of an upgrade to its SimControl software.
AUSTRALIAN company Fewzion has won further endorsement of its mine shift planning system, with a Queensland operator describing the change from a standard system to the Fewzion product as “a revolution”.
AUSTRALIAN mining technology firm MICROMINE has signed an agreement with the internationally renowned Camborne School of Mines at the University of Exeter in Cornwall, England.
THE constant presence of China’s new Beidou satellites over Australian skies is a positive for precise global positioning – whether around cities or in regional mining centres – and not a basis for espionage stories.
MINING software firm Maptek’s expertise and technology has been put to an unusual use – digital preservation of valuable Aboriginal rock art in northern Australia.
ASX-LISTED mine explosives supplier Orica is replacing its environment, health and safety, and sustainability reporting and analytics software with that of new ‘partner’ Enablon, the US-based software developer.
THE new Western Australian School of Mines mining computer lab at its Kalgoorlie campus is one of the few in world which allows for a collaborative learning environment, according to WASM director Steve Hall.
USERS of Xstract Group’s XODB open database mining software will soon be able to store any document spatially and query items using a handy map interface.
INTERNATIONALLY recognised independent expert in matters mechanical, Charles Constancon was sitting in a bar in British Columbia when a local mine superintendent threw down a challenge.
BLAST Movement Technologies will join the swelling Australian METS sector ranks in the USA in the next month or so when it opens an office in Denver.
5DT founder Paul Olckers is confident the company’s strong recent growth can be sustained despite the general downturn in mining investment and a highly competitive simulator training market.
AUSTRALIAN mining services company TMM Group expects a comprehensive implementation of Pronto Software enterprise resource planning, business intelligence and cloud information technology to go live next month.
MINTEC has continued the expansion of its underground design and scheduling product portfolio, introducing MineSight Stope which it says gives mine planners increased flexibility and control in the design and conceptual-level scheduling of underground stope mining.
NORMET senior vice president Mike Rispin expects simulator training of shotcrete application operators in mines to become more widespread in the wake of initial deployment of the company’s simulation technology.
BUSINESS analytics is at the heart of the MineSight Performance Manager, just released by Mintec. The software addresses the countless staff hours spent on detailed mine reports and charts, the developer says.
CSIRO has created a new 3D modelling tool the Australian national science and research organisation says can simulate millions of years of landscape evolution and reveal hidden mineral deposits.
CONSULTING and software firm Itasca has formally released 3DEC Version 5.0, its geotechnical analysis tool designed to simulate responses of discontinuous media (such as jointed rock or masonry structures) subjected to loading.
ABB claims its new hoist performance monitoring service, involving remote mine hoist system monitoring and analysis by its experts, is unique in the underground mining market.
IT HAS been almost 20 years since Harvard professor Clayton Christensen first explained his theory on why technologies that initially receive a weak reception from the mainstream can eventually overturn existing market orders and become the norm. He coined this concept as ‘disruptive technology’.
AUGUST 12: EXPANDING software developer and supplier ARANZ Geo has emerged as a finalist in the 2013 New Zealand International Business Awards on the back of its revenue and market growth over the past three years.
INFORMATION technology supporting the “mine as an open air factory” will be the focus of a presentation at this week’s 2013 World Mining Congress in Montreal, Canada, by RungePincockMinarco’s Glenn Kerkhoff.
ONTARIO, Canada, based Firmex has entered into a partnership with exploration software developer Geosoft as its preferred virtual data room supplier in the mineral exploration market.
AUSTRALIAN-based company Sentient Computing has won further recognition for its 3D virtual-reality training platform, MVX, claiming a LearnX Platinum Award for Best Simulation with client Woodside Energy.
IPHONE and iPad owning visitors to AIMEX 2013 in Sydney next month will be able to take advantage of a customised App that will allow them to more easily navigate the exhibition, get the latest information updates from exhibitors and network with colleagues.
RUNGEPincockMinarco has signed a new strategic partnership agreement with Information Technology Experts LLC, a Mongolian-based mining software consultancy firm.
MATRIXGroup and ISS Group are just the latest two Australian software companies to be snapped up in what remains the hottest mining IT deal market in the world.
NEWLY formed CSIRO Computational Informatics is expected to work closely with a range of external partners and collaborators to create a capability hub in key research areas including next generation data analytics, autonomous robotics, complex systems modelling, and decision making under uncertainty.
THE Australian-based vice-president technical of Mintec, Glenn Wylde says MineSight Atlas has been two years in the making, but its “impact will be felt for far longer”.
ATTENDEES at this year’s Diggers and Dealers conference in Kalgoorlie will get a look at the newly launched MICROMINE Pitram managed service offering, which the software and technology company describes as an extension of the mine control and management reporting product it has deployed around the world.
THE Australian developer of a “rugged communications platform” for remote camps says the portable satellite dish and multi-media communications trailer could save users $A5000-15,000 per site move.
ARANZ Geo, developer of Leapfrog 3D geological modelling solutions for the mining, hydrogeology and geothermal industries, has announced three new senior appointments as it continues in a “period of high growth”, according to CEO Shaun Maloney.
COFFEY Mining has created a quick and easy online tool to help resources companies understand their obligations under the revised JORC Code.
RUNGEPINCOCKMINARCO (RPM) has launched another of its commodity-specific mine planning software products, built around its XPAC scheduling engine.
INCREASED remote-operation of mine sites from city-based control centres could lead to fewer jobs and less economic activity in mining regions, a new report from The University of Queensland’s Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining (CSRM) has found.
A KEY step in the transition to automated mine production reporting at the Diavik diamond mine in Canada has been completed and judged a success by Australian mining software and technology company MICROMINE, which supplied its Pitram product to the site.
WENCO International Mining Systems, part of Hitachi, says it has commissioned its Wenco MobileOT hardware and software on 38 machines in the mining fleet at Agnico Eagle’s Meadowbank gold mine in Nunavut Territory, Canada.
FLEET management software leader Modular Mining Systems will use the upcoming AIMEX 2013 mining expo in Australia to spotlight developments in the mine safety segment of its IntelliMine mine management product suite.
GEOSCIENTIFIC information management software leader acQuire Technology Solutions will hold its first “global jam session” for GIM professionals in Calgary at the end of September.
CONSULTING and software group Itasca will introduce new KUBRIX BlockRanger software at its upcoming FLAC/DEM Symposium in China.
ENGINEERING group Aker Solutions has acquired the Scottish developer of advanced asset lifecycle analytical software for an undisclosed sum.
FIBRE optic sensing technology has the potential to revolutionise the way mines are monitored and controlled, according to Australia’s CRCMining, which is working on a technology implementation roadmap and “associated proposals for high-value, low-technology gap systems”.
USERS of Surpac mine planning software have been handed some significant allied program integration links in the latest version of the product.
JULY 11: CAE Mining has delivered a training solution, including two CAE Mining Terra simulators and e-learning courseware, to Fresnillo (LSE:FRES), the world’s largest primary silver producer.
A SOFTWARE product that will help make advice on best practice resource and reserve reporting practices “stick” will soon be commercialised after a lengthy gestation.
FOR shift planning, simple wins, according to Fewzion’s Paul Moynagh. A few simple sums point to the huge potential for the small company’s innovative software too.
SIERRA Leone iron ore miner African Minerals has chosen the Australian-developed Aconex online collaboration platform to help manage rail, port and urban infrastructure development for the Pepel35 expansion of the Tonkolili project.
SOUTH Africa’s ThoroughTec claims to have recently captured mining training simulator market share from its main competitors with military precision, so to speak, with its advance into the opposition’s territory having really gained momentum since the time of the last AIMEX show in Australia.
A CUSTOMISED tagging system, designed and manufactured at an Adelaide factory for a large Australian mining company, will be the centre of attention at Australian company APC Technology’s display at the upcoming AIMEX 2013.
Interoperability and big data integration using high performance computing are enabling scientists to concentrate on what they are good at – science.
SENIOR Outotec plant designer Jason Fryar says 3D laser scanning has been slow to make an appearance in the mining industry, but use of the technology at mine sites and plants has increased in recent times due to the distinct advantages over traditional survey methods.
AUSTRALIA’S RungePincockMinarco (RPM) will look to build on the platform created for growth in Russia via the new “strategic distribution agreement” signed with IT system integrator CJSC NVision Group, the Russian company’s first pact with a dedicated mining software provider.
FIELD trials at Australian mines of a technology package that integrates 3D mine modelling, laser scanning and handheld communication devices are said to have provided “hard evidence of the measurable benefits of the system”.
MICROMINE invited me to their office and gave me a preview of their implicit modelling product before its release. What I saw was quite impressive, so I asked myself, will Micromine’s implicit modeller be a market winner? From what I saw, I expect it will be popular, but only time will tell. For the consumer (especially the Micromine user who is also a current Leapfrog user), these are exciting times. Those who are only occasional users of Leapfrog will finally have a choice other than ARANZ Geo products and I predict that many will choose Micromine’s product over Leapfrog software.
EIGHT-year-old Orelogy is teaching the grown-ups a thing or two about optimisation, a term the company’s founding managing director Steve Craig describes as one of the most abused in the mine scheduling space.
AUSTRALIAN mining technology services firm COSOL has continued its offshore expansion, establishing a permanent office in Mongolia on the back of its involvement at the major new Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold project and what it sees as continuing strong growth prospects in the region.
VENTYX World 2013 in San Francisco has seen the unveiling this week of what ABB Ventyx is calling an “innovative new solution for managing the health of mission-critical assets underpinning the operations of companies in asset-intensive industries such as energy and mining”.
THE state-of-the-art mine simulation lab in a $A18 million ‘leadership’ training facility established by top American metallurgical coal producer Alpha Natural Resources in West Virginia will feature Australian-developed operator simulation training technology.
MEASUREMENT Devices (MDL) will use the upcoming Australian Institute of Mine Surveyors Conference in South Australia to introduce the Void Scanner Mk3, which it says is the latest development of its robotic underground mine laser scanner.
MAPTEK’s Laser Imaging Solutions business, built around the I-Site product range, has achieved ISO 9001 accreditation after almost two years of focus on processes and procedures.
A BREAKTHROUGH said to bring the computer science world closer to solving problems more complex than any current supercomputer can address, in codebreaking, physics, and clean energy, has been achieved by researchers from the University of Sydney and Dartmouth College in the US.
GLOBAL mining equipment simulator training leader Immersive Technologies has renewed its third information exchange agreement with a major equipment manufacturer (OEM) in the past few years, giving it access to the OEM’s proprietary engineering data.
ALAN Cooper has been called a lot of things but he probably hasn’t heard ‘incubator’ too often.
CAE Mining has clinched a deal with emerging gold producer Besra Gold to supply it with a package of its software products over the next two months.
GEOVIA has kept up a current industry theme of haulage cost and dump scheduling efficiency with the formal release of Minex 6.2, its comprehensive coal GMP package.
GLOBAL mining technology and advisory firm RungePincockMinarco (RPM) has capped a busy year of software advances and product launches with the launch of XERAS for Enterprise, which CEO Richard Mathews sees leading a game-changing sequence of Enterprise application releases for the company – and the market. He spoke with HighGrade Briefing about what lies ahead.
WITH the click of a finger now pretty much a standard solution for some of the most complex everyday problems, why should modelling a mine be any different?
US-BASED mining software developer Mintec has a modest enough goal for the underground modelling space. It wants to have “the only software worth considering underground”.
THE latest version of the mine scheduling software XPAC offers seamless integration with Maptek’s popular geological design software Vulcan, delivering on XPAC developer RungePincockMinarco’s (RPM) vow to users to streamline design and planning workflows.
DIRECTORS of Australia’s ISS Group will accept a $A45 million cash offer from US-based P2ES Holdings for the BabelFish software developer if a superior deal doesn’t materialise by the end of July.
ISS Group’s second largest shareholder, Microequities Asset Management, disagrees with the company’s management on the value of its intellectual property, saying the US-based P2ES Holdings’ $A45 million takeover offer for ISS doesn’t cut the mustard.
ARANZ Geo has joined forces with a leading developer of geochemical analysis software to enable users of its 3D geological modelling software, and the ioGAS Link package, to share geochemical and related data in real time via a live link.
NEW Zealand’s ARANZ Geo has signed a new corporate software licence agreement for its Leapfrog 3D geological modelling software, this time with copper, coking coal, zinc and energy producer Teck Resources.
FRENCH geostatistics software developer Geovariances has released Isatis 2013, featuring a new link providing fast access to leading mining GIMS package acQuire.
ANALYTICAL methods used to predict stock market movements will be applied to Australian geological data, collected over many decades, to model the evolution of the Australian continent and pinpoint new mineral deposits.
AUSTRALIAN consulting and technology company RungePincockMinarco has stepped back purposefully into the mining enterprise IT space with this week’s launch of what it is calling the “first fully integrated enterprise financial modelling application specifically built for the mining industry”.
BRAZIL’S Devex has started the first offshore implementation of its SmartMine.UG 3D underground mine management system.
Intergraph has kicked off a multi-phase strategy to simplify and standardise key elements of its SmartPlant Enterprise software suite with the introduction of the SmartPlant Enterprise Control Panel.
THE world’s biggest mining equipment manufacturer, Caterpillar, has chosen patented Australian fatigue monitoring technology to put through its huge global dealer sales network.
SANDVIK Mining says a new Apple iPad app providing access to information on its full range of equipment and services will soon be extended to other mobile devices, giving miners an up-to-date, easy-to-access reference library.
IT WAS back to familiar territory for Hugh Durrant-Whyte this week, though even he now sees something quite different on the horizon for the mining industry.
GAVIN Yeates had a few software developers in the room (and maybe a few others) scratching their head with his remark about “sophisticated” use of mainframe computers in mining in the late 1970s. But the BHP Billiton executive had most of the audience at Austmine 2013 on board when he observed that technology was ready to drive major changes in the industry now.
THE mining industry’s inexorable connection into the world wide machine web – the ‘internet of things’ – is driving an “explosion of opportunities … in the fertile middle ground” between information and operational technology systems, according to CSC Australia and Asia’s chief technology officer Bob Hayward.
MINING software developer Minemax has formally released iGantt 4.0, which features improved 3D visualisation performance and new file handling capabilities.
THE missing link in openpit mine automation – an automated digger – continues to be the focus of intensive R&D led by Australia’s CRCMining, with the work said to be progressing toward an operating mine production trial.
MAL Jones thought of the Remington shaver advert when he discovered 3D-P Technology nearly a decade ago. He didn’t buy the company, but was immediately impressed with its direction and is now vice-president and general manager of its expanding Australian operation.
A reportedly successful trial of a new hydraulic excavator bucket payload monitor at a New South Wales mine has paved the way for wider deployment of the technology and a high-profile ‘launch’ at a major upcoming mining expo for developer Actronic Technologies.
RUNGEPincockMinarco’s (RPM) says it has made its trusted financial modelling tool, XERAS, easier to learn and use by creating a new user interface.
MICROMINE has kicked off its Australian national roadshow launch of the Geobank 2013 and Micromine 2013 software packages, keys to the company maintaining its strong business growth of recent years.
WE ARE moving ever closer to a totally connected world, a state that some are calling “the Internet of Things”. It’s a world in which more and more inanimate objects are fitted with sensors that feed data onto networks. This rising flood of data is part of the Big Data phenomenon, and it’s increasingly being seen as a source of vital information that will enable companies to gain new insights into the way their businesses work, so improving performance through better decision-making.
RESPECTED rock mechanics engineer Peter Mikula welcomed aerospace engineering PhD Charles Lilley to the Ground Support 2013 stage with an optimistic aside. “Maybe we’ll get the fastest [rock] bolt we’ve ever seen”. Lilley suggested he and the team at Beck Engineering had something more valuable.
QUALITY data is still the key to valuable predictive studies, but current numerical modelling technology and methodology is proving accurate and more than useful in critical ground support validation and assessment work, as shown again by Itasca at the Henderson molybdenum mine in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains.
MAY 20: Australian mining technology and services firm RungePincockMinarco (RPM) has released the latest version of its TALPAC mine modelling software, TALPAC 10.2.1, and says it is committed to ongoing development of the product.
MAY 20: Presentations by Mintec’s Toronto-branch manager, Richard Moffett at the CIM mining conference earlier this month have helped boost interest in the software developer’s MineSight Implicit Modeler product.
MAY 17: CANADIAN simulator training technology giant CAE booked $C2104.5 million of revenue for the year ended March 31, 2013, up 16% from $1821.2 million in FY12, with the ‘core new markets’ division (including mining software) contributing more than the $100 million targeted for the year.
LONG-TIME Austmine member Micromine will use next week’s Austmine International Exhibition and Convention in Western Australia to preview its flagship Micromine 2013 software.
MAY 15: MINNG technology and services company Maptek has committed to Gold level sponsorship of the 36th APCOM symposium, the major biannual mineral industry computing and operational research event, to be held in Brazil for the first time in November this year.
BENTLEY Systems says it has integrated the former Ivara EXP Enterprise software into its product development process and systems architecture, and positioned the asset performance management software to fully tap emerging mobility apps, with the newly released AssetWise Ivara Performance Management 7.0.
IN THE middle of a hectic new product launch schedule, Mintec says next month’s release of MineSight Atlas is a real highlight. The manual scheduling and stockpile management package could “reshape the world of short-term planning”, according to its developer.
AUSTRALIAN mining simulator developer Immersive Technologies has had a significant breakthrough in Russia with the sale of a UG360-B underground equipment operator training simulator to Norilsk Nickel.
ITASCA is urging those with an interest in the increasing usefulness of high-powered numerical modelling in solving a broad spectrum of engineering problems to get themselves to China in October; Hangzhou to be more precise. Meanwhile, Sweden’s Hexagon has chosen a more conventional venue for its international conference in June. Viva Las Vegas!
XSTRATA, Peabody and Grange Resources are among the early users of a new electronic whiteboard software application from Sundial Technologies.
AUSTRALIA’S Maptek has strengthened its links with one of the USA’s major mining schools with the creation of the $A280,000 Ziggy Hladysz Maptek Endowment.
RESOURCE estimation and geostatistics expert Mohan Srivastava will this month deliver two geostatistics workshops in Indonesia, one minerals focused and the other coal, in events organised by Australian mining software and consultancy group Micromine in association with Mining Media International.
USING technology to identify “massive annual savings through improved load and spot times” has earned Cliffs Natural Resources an acknowledgment from one of its suppliers – a real win-win for the miner.
ENERGY and mining software developer ISS Group (ASX:ISS) remains confident of converting “significant opportunities" in key regional markets into sales over the balance of FY13 after lifting revenues 8% year-on-year in the nine months to March 31.
ITS XRock Automation JV, emerging-market focus and possible acquisitions constitute the ‘X’ factor for ASX-listed XRF Scientific, but after a strong first half the short-term growth prospects for the company have dimmed along with mining’s exploration and capital spending hopes, according to Micro Equities.
MINING software company Mintec is happy to have its first MineQuest event done and dusted for 2013, but even happier clients have walked away acknowledging it is moving in the right direction with its product development.
MINING in Australia is “on the cusp of a major generational change” where smart technology and big data could help deliver productivity gains in an ever more challenging environment, according to leading research scientists.
NOT much coming out of the Triple Point Technology bunker. But there is, HighGrade understands, still a bit coming in – at least from a mining perspective, anyway.
QUEENSLAND engineering companies working with a local university claim to have produced a unique mobile mine dust monitoring device that automatically calculates and analyses dust concentrations as a carrier vehicle moves around a site.
A COMMON-user platform for plant design engineers has been described by its creator as the “emerging pacesetter in information modelling software for multi-discipline plant teams” – and it has received some high-level endorsement of the view.
AUSTRALIAN mining technology company Maptek has donated one of its I-Site laser scanning instruments to the prestigious University of California (UC) Berkeley in the USA.
MORE than 20 student teams from leading universities across Australia and New Zealand will demonstrate their engineering and mechatronics skills on an international platform in the 2013 National Instruments Autonomous Robotics Competition (NI ARC).
APRIL 10: Experienced energy market analyst Rick Nicholson has joined ABB business Ventyx as vice president of transmission and distribution (T&D) solutions.
APRIL 10: Mining technology developer Maptek has provided educational licences of Vulcan geological modelling and mine planning software to the Mongolian University of Science and Technology (MUST), based in Ulaanbaatar.
CATERPILLAR expects to formally add Detect mine personnel protection technology to its suite of equipment management, monitoring and control systems later this year when Detect gets government safety regulator approval to be deployed, at least in the US.
CANADA’S Geosoft has announced a raft of software enhancements, including what it describes as significant advances in 3D visualisation for faster subsurface modelling, in its 2013 flagship product release.
FOR AT least the past 30 years computer applications have assisted mining engineers in developing mine extraction schedules for operating mines and potential mining projects.
CANADIAN-listed China Gold International Resources Corp (TSX: CGG) will use CAE Mining’s Studio 5D Planner mine planning software at the Jiama polymetallic mine in central Tibet, described as one of the largest identified copper-gold deposits in the Gangdise copper metallogeny belt.
BENTLEY Systems is promising high-quality iPad 3D model views via its new Navigator Mobile app, and of course better “collaborative workflows”.
LEADING mining simulator technology company Immersive Technologies has increased its focus on the fuel-saving (or otherwise) behaviour of operators, telling users of its simulators they can achieve significant savings through a new software upgrade it has developed.
RICK Moignard remains confident about GEOVIA’s growth prospects in 2013 despite the widespread budget cutbacks and brakes on expenditure still being applied in the mining industry. His reasoning is straightforward enough: we’ve got something they want.
VENTYX, the ABB enterprise software business that bought Australia’s Mincom in 2011 in a move that ratcheted up its exposure to the mining software market, is set to make a number of significant announcements about technology integration and new mining offerings in San Francisco, California, mid-year.
THE company that claims to be at the forefront of development and definition of an industry standard for mining data interchange is understandably very keen to talk about the need for the measure. As it believes others should be.
GREATER variability and versatility in setting material movement rates and equipment fleet specifics is a key attribute of Mintec’s new MineSight Schedule Optimiser 7 software.
GEOVIA’S latest version of InSite, InSite 4.3, is said to improve “operational visibility” for users with new and improved tools for data analysis, and advanced tools to reconcile production outputs and activities against what was planned.
MARCH 27: Australia’s Minemax has formally opened its doors in Denver, Colorado, with company founder Dr Jim Butler receiving the keys to the new consultant offices, boardroom, and training room during the recent SME 2013 conference.
MARCH 25: NEW iron ore major Fortescue Metals Group has chosen an Australian developer of workforce management software to provide “best cost, staff coverage for Fortescue’s rail workforce, taking into consideration labour costs, FIFO logistics, flexible scheduling, award interpretation and leave management”.
FOUR of Australia’s leading mining software developers and providers, who collectively employ nearly 700 technology-focused staff, plan to introduce a host of new products in 2013 and focus considerable efforts on building offshore markets as they strive for growth in the face of a severe downturn in the domestic market, particularly the exploration segment.
CONVENIENT and “nice to have”, say some; “essential”, according to others. The issue of, and need for, recognised mining data interchange standards continues to be a somewhat polarising discussion point, though rapid convergence of industry information (IT) and operating technology (OT) platforms, and wider use of mining automation system (MAS) management layers by the likes of Rio Tinto could tip the debate more towards a serious examination of the advantages of open data protocols sooner than people think.
IN MARKETING, you put forward the positives and spin the negatives into a more favourable light. Unless of course there is a big negative that is too heavy to spin.
MARCH 20: When Mintec launched MineSight Axis in 2010, Mark Gabbitus said it was the best grade control system ever designed. Now the experienced former mining engineer in the Australian industry is Mintec’s product manager for operations products and, not surprisingly, he still feels the same way about the software and believes it’s about to get even better.
RUNGEPincockMinarco (RPM) has flagged the availability of its new Coal Seam Aggregation (Coal Seam Agg) product for technical demonstrations, at the same time marking the launch of its fourth new software product this year.
MICROMINE is preparing for the release of the latest version of its flagship software product, Micromine, with Micromine 2013 currently slated for launch in May.
GEOVIA says its new Dynamic Shells module allows GEMS 6.5 users to “rapidly produce and evaluate solids from the drill-hole information in ways that were not previously possible”, which apart from anything else freed time for evaluation and analysis.
IMPLICIT modelling is the technological theme, ‘productivity’ the underlying one, in Mintec’s formal launch of MineSight Version 7.8, which the developer describes as a bundle of new software with the MineSight Implicit Modeller at its centre.
QUICK planes functionality, stereoscopic 3D visualisation and 64-bit data handling are key features of the latest version of the widely used Surpac geology and mine planning software.
COAL miners may have been forgotten by investors, but not by software developers, with CAE Mining the latest to announce a new modelling product for engineers working on coal and other stratified deposits.
WHAT to do with a trusted name in short-term scheduling? RungePincockMinarco’s Alun Philips says the company’s continuing focus with its XACT software is improvement.
CAE Mining is aiming to leverage a growing customer base in Mexico, and parent, Canadian simulation technology company, CAE’s long-term presence in the country, with the opening this week of a new office in Zacatecas.
RUNGEPINCOCKMINARCO (RPM) looks like it is borrowing from a Microsoft playbook with this week’s launch of ‘Pre Feas with Ease’, its new purpose built pre-feasibility software package, at the giant PDAC Convention in Toronto.
SOFTWARE and consulting firm Micromine has delivered on its promise to bridge data collection from portable XRF geochemical analysers via its Geobank geological data management software, made when it launched the latest Geobank package in the second half of last year.
EXPOSURE to the latest mine laser scanning technology is expected to prove beneficial to University of Kentucky mining engineering students, with a senior academic also highlighting improvements in faculty research resulting from the use of specialised hardware and software from Australian company Maptek.
AUSTRALIAN-based international mining advisory and technology company RungePincockMinarco (RPM) is in the midst of a significant period of transition that new chief Richard Mathews expects to transform its profitability, global presence and growth prospects. Here he gives HighGrade Briefing an update on progress.
BUSINESS benefits of new generation implicit geology and mineralisation modelling software can “often be measured in millions of dollars”, according to the developer of Leapfrog 3D software, ARANZ Geo, which has released its new workflow-based product.
QUINTIQ and Dassault Systèmes GEOVIA will reveal further details about their “complete mine to port solution” for the Australian mining industry at next week’s Pit-to-Port Mine Logistics Optimisation Conference in Western Australia.
AUSTRALIAN mining services and technology group RungePincockMinarco (RPM) has expanded its operations to India through the establishment of a joint venture agreement with strategic partner, Deepak Mining Services.
FEBRUARY 20: ASX-listed ISS Group (ASX: ISS) is still looking to positive outcomes from its recent BabelFish User Group (BUG) get-together in Perth to give its sales a boost in the second half of FY12-13.
FEBRUARY 20: Mining made a stronger contribution to the New Core Markets (NCM) business of Canadian training simulation technology leader CAE in the three months to December 31, 2012, also spurring the division to a better nine-month result.
AFTER a brief bout of anxiety, the president of US-based mining software firm Mintec is feeling much better about the prospects for 2013, such that further substantial growth in the company’s personnel numbers is anticipated. John Davies spoke to HighGrade about the reasons for his optimism.
CRAIG Stewart, creator of one of the world’s most widely used niche mining software products, is on the road (or in the air). And there is plenty more of that to come in 2013 despite his expanding network of distributors.
MINERP’s Mine2-4D v15 has seen significant sales worldwide only a month after its release, according to the company, with early adopters including Xstrata, Randgold Resources, Yamana Gold and Rio Tinto.
AUSTRALIANS have been elevated to new, senior positions within the US-based Modular Mining Systems organisation as the company pursues “new … strategic goals”.
SURVEYING and machine guidance technology group Position Partners has linked with Kentucky, US-based Carlson Software to offer the latter’s mining machine guidance and fleet management technologies in Australia.
RUNGEPINCOCKMINARCO is following up its recent XERAS 7.12.1 release with the launch of the industry’s “only software package focused exclusively on underground coal” at this year’s Mining Indaba in Cape Town.
IMMERSIVE Technologies of Australia has continued to round out its mining equipment simulator training range with the introduction of new simulator kits for continuous miners, shuttle cars, roof bolters, longwalls and miner-bolters used in underground coal mines.
IN what is shaping as an extremely busy year for new mining software releases it is almost inevitable that rival developers will tread on each other’s toes to gain an advantage. An early spat has erupted between GEOVIA and RungePincockMinarco, with the former saying RPM’s marketing of its new XPAC Underground Coal product has been a tad overzealous.
ASX-LISTED Resource Development Group (RDG) has won a contract with a major equipment supplier to provide electrical and control systems, and commissioning and engineering support services, for Rio Tinto Iron Ore and Sino Iron in Western Australia through its subsidiary Intellect Systems.
ENTERPRISE software developers Mainpac and Syspro are targeting the potentially lucrative (for them) mine maintenance area with a new jointly produced “pre-integrated” offering that has resulted from about a year of collaboration.
US software developer Mintec says its newly released MineSight Strategic Planner Version 3.6 offers engineers a significant long range planning and scheduling efficiency boost, along with the level of detail demanded by the industry for full feasibility studies on new and existing mines.
SOUTH Africa’s MineRP says its new Mine2-4D software has been launched internally and will be available to users this month.
GEOSCIENCES services firm DownUnder GeoSolutions has opted for TSX-listed Acceleware’s Reverse Time Migration library (AxRTM) product to enhance the seismic depth imaging services it provides to clients.
WIDELY lauded, along with advanced communications infrastructure, as the digital backbone of intelligent mines, fleet management or mine production management systems are also seen as the industry’s key failure point to date.
SOME miners understand that operational inefficiencies are occurring everywhere from blast-hole to the board-room and all places in-between. They have made modest investments in operational visibility, spanning people and processes and technology to pinpoint and help resolve lots of small (and a few large) operational inefficiencies across their supply-chains. They have tapped into the massive data stores and mined the insight that this information holds. They have turned data into information.
SINCE the early 1990s, manufacturers and vendors of automation or manufacturing software have been talking about the value of moving from ‘islands of information’ to a collaborative model in which the right information is available to the right person, at the right time. Latterly, it was recognised that data, out of context, was just data, so an additional axiom was added: with the right context. What is needed is actionable intelligence.
DECEMBER 17: New equipment launched at the recent major mining expo in Las Vegas, MINExpo 2012, has been loaded into an update of leading mine haulage and loading simulation software, TALPAC.
AUSTRALIAN mining technology and services firm RungePincockMinarco (RPM) has opened a ‘software classroom’ at the Mining School at the Mongolian University of Science and Technology (MUST).
MINING software company Maptek has established a permanent presence in Mongolia while also appointing a company with 20 years’ experience dealing with the mining sector in India as its agent in the country.
THE Australian-headquartered Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider Aconex Ltd has been chosen by Chinese-backed Canadian iron ore developer Alderon Iron Ore Corp to upgrade the data sharing platform for its Kamistiatusset (Kami) project in western Labrador.
DECEMBER 7: Christchurch-based ARANZ Geo, developer of Leapfrog 3D geological modelling software, has been named in the Deloitte 2012 Technology Fast 500 Asia Pacific list, a ranking of the region's 500 fastest growing technology companies, based on percentage revenue growth over three years. ARANZ Geo grew 149% and ranked number 338 on the list.
ONE of the companies hard hit by Christchurch’s devastating earthquakes of two years ago, software developer ARANZ Geo has had its new headquarters and R&D centre officially opened by New Zealand science and innovation minister Steven Joyce. The move to its new digs was the firm’s fifth since the quakes, with the opening marking “a very special day for the company”, CEO Shaun Maloney said.
XSTRACT Mining Consultants, part of Calibre Global, has made available free, open-source mining software it says “provides much of the functionality available in the existing software on the market without the hefty price tag”.
DETAILS of the latest pioneering mineral exploration technology to emerge via Australia’s Deep Exploration Technologies Cooperative Research Centre (DET CRC) were aired at the centre's annual conference in Adelaide this week.
CONSULTING and technology firm Itasca will hold a webinar on December 4 to fully outline the flexibility and new capabilities of the newly released FLAC3D Version 5.0 geomechanical software.
MINING software developer Maptek has released Vulcan 8.2 to a global licence base of more than 6000 users. New tools, updates and features offered users increased speed and efficiency, the supplier said.
THE gloves are off in a now heated fight between veteran Leapfrog software user (and one-time developer) Jun Cowan, and, um, the Big Kahuna in the mining software space, GEOVIA (formerly Gemcom), owned by France’s Dassault Systemes.
ENGINEERING software company Intergraph has introduced a new viewing portal for its flagship SmartPlant Enterprise design software, a collaboration with Leica Geosystems.
ONE thing Runge investors – new and old – can count on with Richard Mathews at the helm is change. It’s what the man himself had in mind when he joined the board of the 35-year-old company and became a significant shareholder 10 months ago.
NOVEMBER 7: Australian mining technology and service company Micromine has signed an agreement with Uzbekistan’s education ministry and the country’s 90-year-old Tashkent State Technical University covering the use of Micromine’s mine design software for teaching and research purposes.
GLOBAL software developer Quintiq has moved to a bigger Perth office and welcomed a new business development manager on the back of Western Australia’s resources market sector growth.
HOW does one adapt traditional mine planning software to an operation 1600m below the surface of the ocean? US-based Mintec has the answers.
THE Australian mining software and services firm Micromine plans to build a series of in-field data logging and field/office synchronisation features into its newly released Geobank Mobile product, a launch audience in Perth, Western Australia, heard this week.
MAPTEK’S new Eureka software represented a “paradigm shift in the way exploration data is used”, the company’s CEO Barry Henderson has told a user group forum in the USA.
HEXAGON group member Intergraph has somewhat belatedly flagged Anglo American’s deployment of SmartPlant Foundation at its new Los Bronces copper project in Chile, which started production last year. Intergraph said the software was being used to support the “information management handover process” for Los Bronces.
OCTOBER 15: Engineering and earth sciences students at Mexico’s University of Zacatecas have access to the latest Maptek Vulcan software following a recent donation of 20 licences by the Australian-based technology company.
SUCCESSFUL Australian mining technology and services exporter MICROMINE has got another international feather in its cap in the form of a Russian Mining Excellence Award.
NEW Zealand-based exploration software company ARANZ Geo says it has made two new personnel appointments to support its international growth.
TWO major new deals in the asset lifecycle information management technology space signal “not only desire but intent and action” on the part of large miners to address long standing challenges in this area while also vindicating Bentley Systems’ recent capability build-out, a senior executive has told HighGrade Mining IT.
AN Australian company has described its new commercial mobile data collection and reporting product for mining services organisations as a “world-first … cloud solution”.
MINERS, meet Bernard Charles; Mr Charles, miners. And so the charismatic Frenchman and head of Dassault Systemes, one of the world’s leading software companies, began his maiden public address to the mining industry. Those in attendance would no doubt have walked away with a similar first impression to the man who made the introduction.
OCTOBER 3: Tucson twosome Mintec and Modular Mining Systems flicked another ‘connect’ switch in the increasingly coupled worlds of mine planning and mining machine control, at MINExpo International 2012, and suggested there would be more collaboration in future between the technology stalwarts.
OCTOBER 3: Leapfrog 3D software will be used by tertiary students in a new University of New South Wales course designed to improve knowledge of current groundwater, mining and oil and gas geological modelling methods and technology.
OCTOBER 5: US-based mining software developer Mintec expects to open an office in Sonora, Mexico, next month.
OCTOBER 3: GEOVIA (formerly Gemcom) has flagged a series of upcoming software updates in a notable procedural departure from the past.
OCTOBER 3: Caterpillar has extended its MineStar technology range into the longwall coal mining arena and is working on a mine personnel proximity detection system for continuous miners, the company announced this week.
OCTOBER 3: Australian mining software and consulting firm MICROMINE expects to provide sales and service support in Swedish, Finnish, Danish and Norwegian from its new office in Gavle, Sweden.
OCTOBER 3: Sandvik used MINExpo International 2012 to change the packaging on its AutoMine technology suite. The Swedish company said the “new Sandvik AutoMine” product family offered reliable fleet automation technology for drilling, loading and hauling, single loader automation, block cave draw control and process/information management systems.
OCTOBER 3: SkyAngle, developed by mining machine maker Hitachi in partnership with Clarion Co, gave mine truck operators a superior “bird’s-eye view” of their surroundings, a spokesman for the former company said at a MINExpo International 2012 launch.
OCTOBER 3: Earthmover tyre manufacturer Bridgestone has commercially released the BTAG ‘intelligent tag’ through its Bridgestone Commercial Solutions (BCS) division.
SEPTEMBER 27: Emerson Process Management has struck a formal global agreement with US-based P&H Mining Equipment to integrate its state-of-the-art machine vibration monitoring devices with the remote diagnostic sensors on the equipment manufacturer’s new rope shovels.
SEPTEMBER 27: SOUTH African information and communication technology company Gijima has completed the divestment of loss-making mining software business MineRP to a local private equity consortium for R175 million ($US21 million).
SEPTEMBER 27: Brazil’s Devex and CAE Mining of Canada have forged closer ties through a distribution agreement under which CAE will sell and support Devex’s mine operations management technology in 14 countries.
SEPTEMBER 26: THE first commercial rollout of Caterpillar’s surface mine truck fleet automation technology in Australia could take another 18 months, group president resource industries Steve Wunning said at the MINExpo International 2012 show in Las Vegas.
SEPTEMBER 26: LEICA Geosystems has rebadged and rebooted its mining technology suite and, with no small contribution from a rising Australian star of the international ground-based GPS guidance technology industry, has set its sights on capturing a very large slice of the mining fleet management and autonomy market.
SEPTEMBER 27: Jim Butler and Phil Edmiston of Minemax weren’t the only ones impressed with the calibre and volume of visitors at this year’s MINExpo in Las Vegas, but they were particularly rapt with the response to the official launch of Minemax Scheduler 6.
SEPTEMBER 26: AUSTRALIAN mining software and surveying technology company Maptek has formally launched its I-Site laser scanning technology at MINExpo in Las Vegas. It is said to combine the physical robustness of a new mobile scanner, with the manufacturer’s latest advanced processing software.
SEEING mining equipment, pit benches, even people, as data points in a “live” 3D operational model seems like a vision from a science fiction movie. It is the vision Rio Tinto head of innovation John McGagh has for the company’s Pilbara iron ore operations – or more precisely, its Pilbara Mine Automation System. It’s a futuristic vision of the past.
SEPTEMBER 26: LOGIMINE Inc has introduced the latest version of its PCC4 fleet management software at MINExpo International 2012, claiming the open-architecture product continues to underpin the only mining dispatch system that works with a “cost effective” UHF radio network.
SEPTEMBER 26: TOP tier mining tyre manufacturer Michelin has promised fleet-wide tyre monitoring capability with its new MEMS Evolution 2 software and monitors, launched at MINExpo International 2012.
SEPTEMBER 26: AUSTRALIAN-based engineering services and technology firm BMT WBM has further extended its presence in the Americas by forming a partnership with Chile’s Fintech SA to support the Pulse TerraMetrix RS mining machine health, production and payload management system in South America. BMT WBM has announced several significant new Pulse deals in Canada and Chile in the past week.
SEPTEMBER 26: US-BASED Bentley Systems has immediately leveraged newly acquired Ivara EXP’s asset performance management software via an alliance with 3D-P of Canada to present the mining industry with a “long-awaited” mobile fleet maintenance data solution.
SEPTEMBER 24: CAE Mining will present to visitors at MINExpo in Las Vegas new generation technology for creating 3D mine photographs, developed with Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).
SEPTEMBER 24: Better visualisation and compatibility are the core elements of Mintec’s ‘bundle’ release of products, announced today at MINExpo International 2012 in Las Vegas. MineSight Version 7.5 comprises improved versions of five products.
SEPTEMBER 24: NO shortage of mining software and IT releases at this week’s MINExpo International 2012 in Las Vegas. A slightly unusual one is Leica Geosystems’ collaboration with UAV design specialist SwissDrones. The pair is presenting the working prototype of their “groundbreaking” new mining UAV at the expo.
SOUTH African defence simulation leader ThoroughTec maintains it is well positioned to be a simulator training technology provider to new block cave mines after being chosen to supply Rio Tinto’s landmark block caving centre of excellence at Northparkes in New South Wales.
NEW Zealand’s ARANZ Geo has teamed with DHI-WASY of Germany to develop and market an improved 3D hydrogeological modelling product for mine dewatering and remediation applications.
IT’S getting down to the nitty-gritty of the National Instruments (NI) Autonomous Robotics Competition in Australia, with 17 student university teams from across Australia and neighbouring New Zealand now qualified for the finale at Swinburne University in Melbourne on September 21.
EXPERIENCED Bentley Systems executive John Sanins is seeing a steady migration of plant design and engineering information management software developed primarily for the oil and gas, and power infrastructure sectors, to the mining and metals industry rather than the rapid transfer one might expect given the uplift in scale and complexity of projects in mining in recent times.
TEN years after taking on exclusive worldwide distribution of JKSimBlast, Soft-Blast is seeing no sign of a slowdown in demand for the smart blast design and analysis software. In fact, nomadic principal Mike Higgins is on the lookout for new agents as sales activity builds in most regions of the world – a fair return for a small firm with a very niche product.
SEPTEMBER 4: VENTYX, SAP, Hexagon and Infosys will be among the international information technology firms to pick up Stevie International Business Awards in Seoul, South Korea, next month after winners were announced this week.
SEPTEMBER 7: CANADIAN-based CAE Mining has appointed experienced mining operations and financial manager Terry Burns as consulting manager – Australasia, based in the group’s Perth office.
THE crowd that gathered around Geosoft’s exhibition booth at PDAC in Toronto to hear company co-founder Ian MacLeod was large for a very brief presentation on the sidelines of the world’s biggest annual ‘blue-sky’ mining investment event. The sky, MacLeod promised explorers in his three-minute pitch, was no longer the limit.
AUGUST 31: SCHNEIDER Electric’s acquisition of its 2012 Integrated Planning & Optimisation Summit organising partner, Australian-based SolveIT, continues its push into the mining IT space while also adding technical depth to its supply chain optimisation offering to resources companies.
AUSTRALIAN mining services and technology firm Runge is promising a “great lift” in performance for users of its financial modelling software, XERAS, following the release of its 7.12 version.
WITH playtime for its cool new drill program app for exploration executives now in full swing, and a record year of growth behind it, Australia’s acQuire heads to the US next month with plenty of wind in its sails. Mining investment levels in the past 20 years may have been dependably fickle, but one thing CEO Warren Cook hasn’t seen since acQuire was formed is a reversal of the company’s positive annual sales growth.
AUGUST 24: STAFF at global mining software company Mintec have taken a collective bow with the Tucson-based company presented with a 2012 Excellence in Global Business Award by Arizona congressman Ron Barber.
SOFTWARE enhancements have enabled users of Remote Control Technologies’ Control Master Guidance System (CMGS) to – literally – step up a gear with mining equipment fitted with the technology. The company, meanwhile, is accelerating deployment of CMGS’s in offshore markets.
WE know that drill and blast is fundamental to the cost effectiveness of a mining operation, given its interrelationship with downstream processes. Digging rates, toe and wall control and loss or dilution of ore provide a good measure of blast performance, and demonstrate the effectiveness of site controllable factors like efficiency, productivity and product quality.
AUGUST 21: Saudi Arabia’s largest miner, Ma’aden Gold and Base Metals Company, will deploy Ventyx Intelligent Mining Solutions software across four of its gold operations under a $US2.8 million deal with ABB company Ventyx.
BRAZIL’S Devex plans to make a statement at the upcoming MINExpo 2012 after posting strong growth and rolling out a number of new mine fleet control products since the previous instalment of the Las Vegas mining show.
NEW mathematical algorithms that allow Mintec’s general mine planning software to automatically build complex shapes from drill-hole data will enable users to spend more time interrogating their models, according to the software developer.
‘GEOLOGISTS tap into digital revolution’, was the headline from the recent 34th International Geological Congress in Queensland, Australia, but what did it all mean?
AUSTRALIAN mining consulting and software group Runge is helping a major Canadian university prepare students for “the real world of mining”.
A MORE cautious outlook for the year ahead hardly means much when you’ve had the year that Maptek did in 2012.
AUGUST 8: GEOPHYSICIST James Goodwin is this week presenting latest results of collaboration between Geoscience Australia and the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) Facility at the 34th International Geological Congress in Australia. They include supercomputer generated high-resolution 3D images of sub-surface geology said to eliminate the often degraded resolution and scales in today’s standard models.
A FORMER mining fund operative in London and Toronto, now heading up international mining software developer Mintec’s regional office in the UK, says the company is being kept busy with project work throughout Europe and north Africa.
MAJOR diversified US contracting and mining group Kiewit has reported glowingly on the benefits of advanced fleet management and training technology in use at the Buckskin coal mine in the Southern Powder River Basin.
A LEADING US project cost management software product has been integrated with one of the mining industry’s most popular mine planning packages, creating what the integrator claims is the first mine design, scheduling, financial and productivity modelling program for project lifecycle planning.
AUTOMATED mine fleet management and reporting introduced by Gold Fields at the Damang gold mine in Ghana is expected to help boost production and reduce costs at the large openpit operation. A senior Gold Fields manager says more African miners are being convinced of the benefits of “automation solutions” such as the one introduced at Damang.
TECHNOLOGY used to map an alteration halo around an iron oxide copper gold (IOCG) deposit 100km south of the giant Olympic Dam mine in South Australia might have helped enlarge the “needle in the haystack”.
QUINTIQ says ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe has improved its level of visibility over its supply chain planning processes through the use of Quintiq’s planning and scheduling software.
NEW Zealand software company ARANZ Geo has signed a new enterprise software sale agreement with gold producer Newcrest Mining, which has operations in Australia, Indonesia, west Africa and Papua New Guinea.
TWO MINES, same fleet management system, vastly different results: that’s a scenario Mining Plus senior mining consultant Steve Tang sees playing out a lot in the industry. The reasons range from poor initial deployment, to operator resistance and limited management buy-in.
MINING companies are spending more on, and seeing greater potential for profit in, fleet management technologies, according to a senior manager with one of the firms who should know.
FORMER Calibre Global chief financial officer Kevin Fitzpatrick says he is excited about the future growth prospects for Australian exploration and mining software developer MICROMINE after becoming the firm’s CEO.
SWEDISH mining and construction equipment manufacturer Sandvik has struck a SEK2 billion (EUR229 million) deal with technology giant IBM to outsource IT infrastructure over the next five years.
GEOVARIANCES has formally launched the updated version of its geostatistical modelling software, Isatis, describing the 2012 version as offering features “long time expected by geostatisticians”.
A BIG Western Australian base metals operation expects to reduce its annual power consumption by as much as 15 megawatts by using energy management software supplied by NASDAQ-listed EnerNOC.
CONTESTANTS, start your robots! That will be the call soon as Australian and New Zealand universities compete in the National Instruments Autonomous Robotics Competition in Melbourne in September.
SNOWDEN is ready to find a partner, or partners, to commercialise its Evaluator mining optimisation software after demonstrating its robustness and value in a series of major studies by its consulting team.
A YEAR ago Phil Edmiston was in uncharted territory with a big Canadian technology firm looking to make its mark in the mining software market. That company’s recent ‘downsizing’ in Western Australia created an opportunity for Edmiston to return to more familiar ground – and he’s sounding a little euphoric about the move.
SOUTH African marine exploration company AuruMar is using 3D modelling software developed in Australia in its continental shelf search and development program.
SANDVIK Mining has moved to match the resounding success rival Atlas Copco has been having with its drill rig automation system by introducing a new 3D navigation system for its surface drills.
A VIRTUAL mining environment that exposes trainee mine workers to equipment, routine tasks and common hazards – sans any of the usual risks – is a core part of the CoalStart operator induction program launched in New South Wales this week. The technology at the centre of the program was recently recognised with the 2012 Simulation Australia Award.
GEMCOM, soon to be Geovia, could have a roadmap for the creation of new mining software products ready by the end of this year. Speaking to HighGrade on a visit to Australia, Gemcom president Rick Moignard said the Dassault Systemes business unit would hit the ground running once Dassault’s $US360 million acquisition of Gemcom was concluded in July.
A COMBINATION of ABB’s widely used 800xA automated process control system and Atlas Copco underground machinery smarts has opened the door to creation of a “world first” integrated operations management tool, according to the two companies.
MINE fleet management technology firm Modular Mining Systems has engaged former Freeport McMoRan maintenance and engineering superintendent Justin Johnsen and fellow Arizona engineer Oliver Torres to present a webinar focusing on ‘lean’ mine maintenance on June 26.
DASSAULT Systemes senior executive Jeff Ray is the new CEO of Ventyx, the industrial enterprise software arm of Swiss engineering and technology group ABB.
LEICA Geosystems and Locata Corporation say a “huge body of work” in the mining fleet management market has underpinned their joint decision to extend a technology partnership to mid-2014.
CANADIAN miner Teck has provided positive early feedback on its coal-business wide deployment of Maptek mine laser scanners, citing better workflows and surveying accuracy.
SIGNIFICANT merger and acquisition activity in the mining information and communication technology (ICT) arena in recent years (HighGrade, May 9-15, 2012) is clearly predicated on an earlier shift to the high-tech landscape outlined in IBM’s new report, ‘A snapshot of Australia’s digital future to 2050’, than the study’s timeline suggests.
THE big miners are moving from an era of asset optimisation to a focus on control of data to ensure head office and site are on the same page, as well as preparing for automation. According to Runge managing director David Meldrum, the past 18 months has seen a change in the technology demands of the company’s tier one clients.
AUSTRALIAN mining technology and consulting firm MICROMINE has landed its first Pitram mine control system contract in Spain, with installation due to start later this month.
A SENIOR mining consultant with a leading firm who questions the effectiveness of much of the industry’s mine fleet management system implementation and use, sees a combination of human and organisational obstacles that need to be overcome before the technology reaches its potential.
AUTOMATED particle size monitoring is reported to have boosted iron ore yield by the equivalent of more than 400,000 tonnes a year at Rio Tinto’s Paraburdoo operations in Western Australia.
MAY 28 - ADELAIDE research Professor Gus Nathan will talk about the potential for combining energy sources in next-generation power supply units at the user conference of an Australian mining technology firm which has successfully merged several technology platforms to significantly grow its business over the past decade.
NEW Zealand’s ARANZ Geo has followed up its recent major new Rio Tinto software licencing deal by striking a similar arrangement with gold giant Barrick.
MINTEC says it is aiming to cement MineSight as the “go-to software for mine planners” with the introduction of an improved schedule optimiser.
NEW mining software sales to Vale and Goldcorp, and a contract for “a workforce development strategy” with the University of Saskatchewan were among the slivers of good news on the ‘new core markets’ front in CAE’s latest financial report. But there’s not enough – yet – to buoy the struggling division of the Canadian simulation technology major.
ITASCA’S aptly named Blo-Up software, a product of its 11-year involvement in the Hybrid Stress Blast Model (HSBM) project, has reached a new phase of development with the quality of Blo-Up model predictions being tested against real world blasting results. Field-scale bench and underground blasting tests currently are being used to validate and improve the model, the consulting and technology group said.
ACQUISITIONS have pushed ABB to No.2 in the world in the expanding enterprise asset management segment of the global enterprise software market.
US-BASED Mintec has rebadged its international seminars for software users, launching the MineQuest series of “global learning experiences” in Arizona last week. About 170 MineSight clients heard about a short-term planning tool set to achieve “killer application status”, Mintec’s Mine Performance Management system, and new MineSight Stope tool.
MAY 8 - NEARLY one billion dollars worth of mining IT sector deals in the past two years shows the market is now really being discovered by big technology firms while doors to greater innovation in the sector have been opened. HighGrade found in a series of interviews over the past week widespread optimism about technology advances, powered in part by miners keen to break from the past. Stand by, too, for more consolidation.
THE growth of a US coal company will be reflected in expansion of its asset management and ERP software user base under a $US2 million deal with the ABB software business Ventyx.
MAY 7 – GEMCOM’s new patent-pending block model conversion engine is the standout update in GEMS 6.4, the company’s flagship geology and mine planning software.
MAY 8 – MINING simulator training technology company Immersive Technologies has gone deeper into underground simulation with the addition of popular mine truck and jumbo ‘Conversion Kits’ to its product range.
DASSAULT Systemes’ assault on the mining software market won’t start officially until July, but past ‘intellectual’ barriers to the integration of market leading mine planning software and the 3D platforms of the French company are already down.
SMARTPLANT 3D engineering design software author Intergraph has released an updated version of its AutoCAD-based, intelligent 3D plant design and modelling suite, CADWorx.
APRIL 27 - MINING software is becoming more expensive, as Dassault Systemes’ $US360 million acquisition of Gemcom shows. The latter, a Canadian-based global mining software developer and supplier that earned $C6.7 million on sales of $C54.2 million in 2008, was bought for $C190 million a few months after those results were reported.
MINERP (formerly GijimaAST) is seeking to regain the front-running from former collaboration partner Datamine (now CAE Mining) and others in the battle for Mine2-4D users, saying this week the mining industry wanted a “clear answer” to questions about the future of the brand.
WITH the “rebirth” of Minemax Scheduler getting close, the developing company’s founder Jim Butler remains confident the product will retain its strong positioning in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
LEADING international mining software supplier Gemcom has updated solids validation, pit design, block modelling, CAD import, and support of third party file formats in the latest version of its Surpac geology and mine planning software.
A UNIVERSITY of Queensland openpit mine planning researcher says he’s tweaked the conventional floating-cone based pit optimisation algorithm, and come up with improved scheduling tools, with potentially significant results.
SWEDISH mining equipment manufacturer Atlas Copco says it is tapping into increased use of smart phones, tablets and other hand-held devices with new customer product ‘apps’. First into the app world at the end of this month will be the company’s Underground Rock Excavation division.
IT GIANT Oracle has unveiled new “industry-specific functionality” in its JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 9.1 enterprise resource planning software, which an executive with one large gold company said demonstrated the supplier’s focus on “providing the tools for a company to grow and adapt to the changing global environment”.
INTEROPERABILITY is a fundamental component for the mine of the future. To achieve success at a mine we must optimise mine and treatment processes using all available knowledge, including mineral resources, environmental and economic constraints. Interoperability between the systems used to facilitate core mining functions is essential and will become even more vital with wider adoption of automation.
‘GRAPHICALLY traversing a product assembly’ may not be quite the way mining maintenance managers put it – ‘check the gearing’ perhaps – but no matter, they can now do it faster and better with Ventyx’s LinkOne WebView 3.7.
APRIL 10 - A LONG-TERM user of MineSight software can’t wait to get his hands on the next generation of Mintec’s flagship mine planning package.
APRIL 10 - MAPTEK has commenced the formal release of Vulcan 64-bit to global mining customers at Expomin in Santiago, Chile.
TOP five global managed security service provider (MSSP) Orange Business Services has extended its 10-year “working partnership” with mining giant Rio Tinto in a big way, landing a five-year contract to deliver global networking and security services to more than 280 Rio sites around the world.
VETERAN mining boss John McKinstry is one fan of the work being done by Orelogy that will culminate this week with the launch of the company’s Evorelution V2 software.
STRONG growth in the competitive mine production management technology market will give companies such as MinLog further opportunities to build a bigger international profile in the business, according to the company’s managing director, Karel Gilliland.
MIRA Geoscience has significantly expanded the functionality of GOCAD mining software, which has become an important minerals modelling and planning tool since being adapted from its original petroleum industry form.
GEMCOM has added a ‘Production Calendar’ module and improved data entry and security features to its InSite mine production management software.
IT TOOK eight years for SolveIT to hold its first Integrated Planning & Optimisation Summit, and the result surprised everyone involved.
GREG Lew knows a thing or two about mass-market brand positioning. Somewhere at the other end of the promotional spectrum is mining simulation training hardware and software, which is where he finds himself now.
AS THE only company in Queensland to be selected to participate in the Australian Government funded Interactive Skills Integration Scheme (ISIS), Brisbane-based mining consultancy GBI is aiming to take the “guessing game” out of mine planning.
WHILE still rare in the mining industry, the PAS55 specification for asset management is gaining momentum worldwide and well on its way to becoming an international standard. Behind the scenes the mining industry is working to develop the standard for Australian businesses.
AS THE mining boom continues to unfold, resource companies are striving to manage their total IT systems landscape and spend with the approach of doing more with less, optimising their existing investments with suppliers as much as possible and attempting to standardise and reduce the number of individual software applications in use in the business. While this goal is often clearly stated and defined, few organisations succeed in executing. Vendors can assist by improving collaborative development and moving towards and integrated operations systems view.
STAND BY for some repackaging of Snowden software, says the company’s new group general manager – technologies, Nic Pollock, who believes a couple of the firm’s “premium brands” can achieve greater market penetration without his budget taking on extra dimensions.
IT’S NOT often that Vulcan takes a back seat to anything else at Maptek, but that could happen over the next couple of months.
IN 18 years at Runge Alun Phillips has seen the consulting and technology company’s flagship XPAC software figure prominently in fundamental shifts in the business, from coal into metals, the move into Canadian oil sands, and riding advances in mine plan scheduling speed and accuracy. Now the software is leading an overhaul of Runge’s technology business.
THE spotlight on Runge’s major software overhaul is naturally on portfolio patriarch XPAC, but Darren Rostron would like to see XERAS get its rightful share of attention.
CHRISTCHURCH-based ARANZ Geo, developer of Leapfrog Mining 3D geological modelling software, has entered into a new ‘Umbrella Software Licence’ agreement with Rio Tinto after a steady build-up in the mining giant’s use of Leapfrog since 2007.
GEOVARIANCES claims to be giving geostatisticians what they’ve asked for for a long time in the upcoming release of Isatis 2012.
NO NEED to worry about a successor to Mine 2-4D if you’re an underground mine planner. CAE Mining claims to have the answer.
MICROMINE has formally launched its new Geobank managed services solution in Toronto.
NICTA, Australia’s ICT Research Centre of Excellence, has kicked off a $A5 million ICT-enabled geothermal energy hunt in conjunction with the Australian Centre for Renewable Energy (ACRE).
THE $A2.5 billion Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal (WICET) project in Queensland, Australia, due to commence operations in 2014, will use project management software developed by a UK firm.
TONY Hampton concedes the mining software market is running a little hot and cold at the moment, making predictions about the year ahead difficult, but right now the strong workflow for Cube Consulting’s software development team arising from long-term relationships with some major mining houses shows no signs of abating.
ICONIC Australian mining software brand Mincom has become Ventyx following last year’s acquisition by Swiss engineering and technology group ABB.
FEBRUARY 7 - RAPID growth in mining information and communication technology investment in Australia is expected to continue, according to a Rio Tinto-commissioned report by BAEconomics.
AUSTRALIAN microcap software firm ISS Group can beat the effects of a strong local currency and withstand fierce competition to increase annual revenue by up 40% during this year and next, but it faces ongoing margin pressure from these market forces.
FEI Company vice-president and general manager Paul Scagnetti says the company’s recent acquisition of ASPEX Corporation would prove pivotal to its ongoing strategy aimed at moving automated mineral and petrographic analysis “outside the laboratory to where mining, and oil and gas companies are exploring, extracting, processing and refining”.
MONTREAL, Feb 9 – Simulator technology leader and mining software supplier CAE says it’s close to turning its loss-making ‘New Core Markets’ business around after posting a $C45.6 million profit on revenue of $C453.1 million for its third quarter, ended December 31. The NYSE and TSX listed company said profit was up 18% and revenue rose 10% compared with the same period in FY11.
VISUALISATION Sciences Group (VSG) has described the latest version of its 3D visualisation and analysis software for digital rock physics and core analysis as a “major step forward … in functionality and usability”.
NEW Zealand’s ARANZ Geo, developer of 3D geological modelling software Leapfrog Mining, has forged an alliance with mineral laboratory services group ALS Minerals to give “joint customers” fast and easy access to analytical data, certificates of analysis, and detailed drill core inspection results from anywhere in the world and while still working in a 3D modelling environment.
AFTER posting high growth rates in 2011, and despite the economic storm clouds over Europe and the US, all of the 16 leading global mining IT firms spoken to by HighGrade over the past few weeks remain optimistic about what 2012 has in store for them. Here senior executives explain why.
THE past 12 months have seen two significant trends in the mining IT space that could be mirrored in 2012.
THE optimism of many leading mining software suppliers about business in 2012 is linked to what a number of them are calling major product releases scheduled for the next 12 months. Let what promises to be a rolling series of launches and technical seminars begin!
PERHAPS not surprisingly, Rio Tinto topped a list of mining industry innovators nominated by the world’s top mining IT company executives in HighGrade’s annual IT sector survey.
THE first comprehensive makeover of a Runge software product post the largely unrealised Mining Dynamics vision will be unveiled next month as the company positions itself to capture a bigger share of the fast-growing mining software market in 2012 and beyond.
BRAZIL’S Devex has received conformity certification from the relevant authority in the country for its Smartmine Tracker SMT100C mobile mine machinery onboard computer.
THE world’s leading supplier of mine production management systems says the recently announced autonomous-truck deal between Rio Tinto and Komatsu is a watershed development for the industry’s burgeoning information technology sector and a harbinger of the new high-tech jobs to come in the mining industry.
HIGHGRADE’S exclusive survey of the world’s mining software and information technology systems leaders has produced a raft of valuable insights into the industry’s expectations and predictions for the next 12 months.
US-BASED mining technology firm Modular Mining Systems will this week conduct an international webinar on machine guidance systems under the banner, “Stick to the plan: how high-precision GPS can save you time and money”.
AN Australian mining service and technology firm’s years of experience in the assessment of iron ore openpit slope stability in Western Australia’s Pilbara region has led to the development of new shear strength criterion to more accurately model the highly anisotropic strength of bedded rock masses, and a significant improvement in the modelling software.
THE Australian-based software developer ioGlobal has started the countdown to the launch early next year of a new SaaS geoscientific information management offering it describes as a potential ‘game-changer’ for the company.
GERMANY’S Leibniz Institute for Applied Geophysics is harnessing advances in computational hardware and imaging in its efforts to understand complex petrophysical processes and to improve the assessment and characterisation of porous reservoir rocks.
A ZURICH-based company has introduced the first enterprise edition of its software as a service (SaaS) online environmental, social and governance risk management application for multinational companies.
MINING technology company Maptek is looking for similar success with its streamlined laser scanner to the international market penetration achieved with the long-range I-Site 8800.
MINTEC has laid the foundation for another year of strong growth in 2012 with the release of MineSight Version 7.0, which the US-based company says sets “a new standard for integrated mine-planning software”.
A “significant” investment by the world’s largest mining contractor in Australian-developed production, maintenance and productivity tracking technology has given the supplier a vital boost in an increasingly competitive market.
LEADING engineering firm Sinclair Knight Merz has added Intergraph’s SmartPlant Enterprise solutions to its standard mining and metals project delivery software toolbox, saying the technology is needed at a time when projects are growing in scope and complexity.
TRENT Bagnall has been confirmed as Triple Point Technology’s managing director of coal and mineral supply chain solutions following the American company’s takeover of QMASTOR.
A CONCEPT for a ‘mining Wikipedia’ out of Canada got a mixed reception at an Australian mining conference this week. It appears many miners, including those in the authors’ home country, aren’t ready to start handing over their hard-won industry knowledge for free, and/or into the hands of just about anyone with the ability to fill out a website registration form.
A PATENTED wireless conveyer roller monitoring sensor that has just won a small company a 2011 Mitsubishi Western Australian Innovator of the Year Award is said to be able to predict conveyor roller failures before they occur, potentially reducing unscheduled downtime in the mining industry.
NOVEMBER 1: GEMCOM has underlined its strong position in the central Asian mining software market with a deal to supply Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation with its suite of general mine planning products across ENRC’s dominant Kazakhstan and other global sites.
NOVEMBER 1: THE Peace River Coal mine in British Columbia, Canada, has become the tenth Anglo American mine site to install a ThoroughTec operator training simulator base unit, expected to be used to train haul truck, excavator, dozer, grader and drill rig operators.
NOVEMBER 1: MICROMINE has expanded its London premises, adding state-of-the-art meeting rooms and client training facilities at a new location to bolster its European presence.
“WET rock samples to definitive answers in less than an hour”, is the promise which, if true, surely does support FEI Natural Resources’ claim that the new QEMSCAN WellSite technology takes automated mineralogy into uncharted territory.
THE managing director and other senior staff at Australian mining software firm QMASTOR are expected to stay with the business as American takeover suitor Triple Point Technology brings its global sales network, and extra financial muscle, to bear in efforts to grow QMASTOR’s presence in Africa and the Americas.
A NEW survey of mining industry attitudes toward IT investment has again highlighted the urgent need for many companies to make better use of technology to counter falling productivity and boost efforts to address the effects of skills and equipment shortages, project development delays and cost blow-outs.
ENGINEERING firm MIPAC has developed a “standardised” Rockwell Automation ControlLogix and Wonderware Archestra framework for its key clients, the framework consisting of a library of objects for fast project configuration that allows automation engineers to focus on what they’re best at.
THE mining and processing of nickel is by no means a simple task and the various processing methods applied to achieve economically viable production push the technological and scientific frontier of modern control systems.
GRAEME Tuder and his team at mining software firm MICROMINE have made it into the Industry and Export Awards Hall of Fame in boom mining state Western Australia.
GEMCOM has formally announced the release of its Minex 6.1 mine planning software (HighGrade, August 4-10, 2011), increasing its exposure to the underground coal market.
GEOFF Baldwin’s decision to sell the Tritronics business to Leica Geosystems eight years ago seemed like further confirmation of Australia’s capacity to develop world-class mining technology that wouldn’t ever lead to the creation of large, home-grown corporations. But his story now might be part of the different narrative that has emerged on this subject inside the past decade.
THE ‘geologist’s’ geostatistical modelling software, Snowden’s Supervisor, has undergone a reboot that should see its already large user base swell over the next year or so.
QMASTOR’S board has reiterated its support for US-based Triple Point Technology’s 31c-a-share takeover bid after TPT passed the 52% ownership threshold and adjusted terms of its offer to waive a 90% minimum acceptance condition when it hits 75%.
THE Australian Institute of Geoscientists (AIG) is the latest professional body to enrol in EduMine, the provider of online professional development and technical training courses with links to corporations, individual mine sites and educational institutions in more than 10 countries.
MINCOM has updated its mining supply chain management software, MineMarket, with the 4.4 version of the software said to offer new functionality in port and stockyard management, and “partner” trading.
IS US-based Triple Point Technology paying a fair price for Australian mining software developer QMASTOR? Directors seem to think so, this time around, and one of the key shareholders that rejected an earlier takeover offer has also fallen into line behind the new TPT bid. But QML’s newly posted 2011 annual report reminds readers of a growth path akin to a small miner stepping up into a different production bracket.
ABOUT 14 years ago the founders of ProjectCentre looked for a way to use the internet to store, manage and maintain version control over project-related documents and diagrams.
MODULAR Mining Systems will use next week’s EXPOSIBRAM 2011 in Brazil to unveil its latest DISPATCH mine asset tracking and management module, meanwhile confirming one of the country’s new nickel miners has completed implementation of Modular’s IntelliMine software at a large surface mine.
EVIDENCE of the value of ASX-listed mining software firm QMASTOR’s diversification strategy continues to mount, with the Algosys Metallurgical Accountant software added last year to be used by a large copper project in Central East Asia.
A PHYSICS and maths graduate who spent eight years working for Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Organisation decided to apply his considerable intellect to the challenge of solving a fundamental problem for miners. He, and the company he formed about six years ago, have been winning recognition for the results virtually ever since.
MICROEQUITIES sees ASX-listed XRF Scientific growing revenues by 25% this year while holding its EBIT margin at 19%, ratios that translate into $A25 million and $4.8 million, respectively.
FILL an IT gap for a large mining company and you are probably on a path to meeting a wider industry need. Kashif Saleem’s budding software firm provides further evidence of an agreeable trend for inventive types.
MINTEC’s latest release of MineSight 3D (MS3D) will be welcome news for short-term planners already using MineSight Interactive Planner (MSIP), the US software developer says.
MAPTEK’S release of version 3.5 of its laser scan modelling software I-Site Studio coincides with the launch of a dedicated geotechnical module the Australian software developer believes will get the attention of site geologists.
SEPTEMBER 13: PERTH-BASED mining ERP provider Scope Systems has formalised its partnership with US financial planning and reporting software developer Alight LLC, under which the two companies are tailoring ERP planning and financial reporting tools for mining companies.
ENTERPRISE resource planning (ERP) software provider Scope Systems has warned Australian resources companies investing in Africa to maintain focus on their own organisational disciplines rather than being too preoccupied with new cultural, logistical and legal complexities they might encounter.
THE Australian company that has given miners the heavy-lifting tools to speed mill relining will now provide a means of accurately assessing just now fast the critical process can be executed.
EITHER Focus Minerals boss Campbell Baird knows the demographics of his investor base exceptionally well or the man is just into gadgets. Either way, the Western Australian gold miner’s investor-presentation iPad app is available at your local Apple iTunes store now.
REORGANISATION of software company Mintec’s main Australian office is complete, with former general manager Glenn Wylde in the new global corporate position of vice president – technical, and fellow New Zealander Ian Whitehouse taking up the role of local operations manager.
IT notebook: Rockwell Automation, Micromine, Runge, Modular Mining, Thoroughtec, Active Risk, Yokogawa, Mincom
ROCKWELL Automation has been contracted to installed more than $US4 million worth of process automation software and hardware at Grizzly Oil Sands’ Algar Lake oil sands project in Canada, with Grizzly planning to have a “shadow” virtual control room at its Calgary headquarters to monitor and control mine sites across northern Alberta.
NEW MineWare director Geoff Baldwin knows a thing or two about building a world-class mining technology company. He likes what he sees in the Queensland company’s young CEO Andrew Jessett and the way Jessett is turning his vision into international expansion.
AUGUST 16: AUSTRALIAN company QMASTOR has confirmed another significant software sale to a global mining giant, with Vale to install its Pit to Plant and iFuse products at the Onça Puma nickel operations in Pará, Brazil. QMASTOR’s South American sales pipeline is understood to be building, particularly in Brazil.
ENTERPRISE optimisation work for the world’s largest platinum producer has highlighted significant potential for enhanced near-term cash flow generation without major capital investment, according to Australian consulting and technology firm Whittle Consulting.
ARIZONA-BASED Mintec couldn’t have found a better person to launch its new west London office, the doors of which are due to open on October 1.
AUSTRALIAN company Absolute Data Group has launched a new asset maintenance, parts and personnel management software suite which it is offering as an in-house or hosted system deployment.
SOUTH African information and communication technology firm GMSI has confirmed its next annual mine planning conference dates as October 11-14, with Cape Town playing host to the international event.
MICROMINE will ‘roadshow release’ its new Micromine 2011 software in Australia over the next two weeks.
AUSTRALIAN mining consulting firm Snowden appears to be on another winner from its productive technology division, with the Evaluator strategic optimisation and analysis software shaping as a potential commercial offering at some point down the track.
THE Australian geoscientific information management system (GIMS) specialist acQuire remains confident its newly updated flagship product, and applications, can be a “game changer” for the company though, evidently, the game is already changing fast for one of the industry’s most successful niche software developers.
BEN Farquharson’s recent trip to Pittsburgh for the 2011 Longwall USA conference wasn’t a promotional opportunity for Gemcom’s new Minex 6.1 product, surprisingly enough. But it did at least partly signal the opening of a significant new chapter for the company that describes itself as the world’s biggest mining software supplier.
RECENT recipients of the University of Sydney’s Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering 2011 Innovation Heroes Award, Peter Clarke and Jochen Franke of Scanalyse, are confident the Australian technology company can nearly double revenues again in the current fiscal year as it expands into Europe and Africa.
ORACLE says new environmental accounting and reporting modules for its e-business and JD Edwards financials suites will help users track emissions and environmental data to meet expanding reporting requirements.
JULY 6: A LACKLUSTRE Australian sharemarket, and not the market’s failure to understand mining technology companies, is to blame for QMASTOR’s unresponsive share price of recent months, according to managing director Trent Bagnall. Unresponsive, that is, until the past two weeks.
ORELOGY has demonstrated it’s not just the ease and speed of throwing up mine optimisation scenarios that’s important in an age of cloud computing and smarter software – it’s still the results that count. Cue the Australian Premium Iron Joint Venture (APIJV).
CATERPILLAR’S mine fleet management and machine guidance systems will be rolled out next year at Fortescue Metals Group’s new Solomon iron ore mine in Western Australia via the equipment giant’s local dealer WesTrac.
A NEW partnership between the world’s leading mine fleet management technology supplier and a British developer of an “unobtrusive” driver fatigue monitoring device looks set to bear fruit over the coming months.
DURING the production phase in the mining cycle, the level of geological information increases, enabling a better understanding of the local geology. Creating and updating geological wireframes is an important part of any mine geologists role, one that continually evolves through drilling, sampling and mapping over the life of a deposit.
MINING software leader Gemcom has this week opened an office in Almaty, Kazakhstan, where it has “strong ties” with customers such as Kazakhmys, Eurasia Natural Resource Corp, ArcelorMittal and Kazatomprom.
TONY Hampton had a profitable partnership with one of the pioneers of Australia’s mining software industry, Geoff Bebb, and a similar synergism is evident in the impressive growth trajectory of another Perth-based technology firm. This time the resident doyens are Cube Consulting founders Garry Back and Ted Coupland.
SOUTHGOBI Resources will implement Modular Mining Systems’ IntelliMine Integrated Asset Management Suite at its Gobi Desert coal operations in Mongolia, giving the US-based technology company its breakthrough sale in the emerging market.
SOUTH Africa’s GijimaAST, part of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed Gijima information and communications technology group, has moved to head off what it sees as continuing speculation in the market about its future support for the Mine2-4D mine planning software.
A DIFFERENT approach to mine planning and scheduling is a key factor in the burgeoning fortunes of Mintec, according to management of the US-based mine software company.
WHEN Minemax canvassed customers for feedback on major mine planning process deficiencies several years ago three main areas were highlighted. Spatial mine plan alignment was at the top of the list.
FAST and furious optimisation – of short and long term mine schedules, through to enterprise-level valuation – is helping to build higher levels of confidence in engineers’ plans and certainly opening the door to greater product differentiation in the scheduling software and services market, according to Runge’s Sean Stewart.
RIO Tinto will continue the roll-out of Active Risk Manager software under an enterprise deal struck between the mining giant and London-based technology and consulting firm.
SOUTH Africa’s Gold Fields this month started implementing the Pitram Optimum mine production management system (MPMS), the most sophisticated of four Pitram products developed by Australian software company Micromine, at its Damang openpit gold mine in Ghana. The deployment is expected to be completed by September this year.
A CANADIAN mining engineering professor has been awarded $C2.7 million in research funding – one of the largest ever Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) grants – to improve mine planning models.
MINING and construction machine major Komatsu has maintained an exclusive technical and licensing alliance with Australia’s Immersive Technologies, the world’s leading supplier of mine equipment training simulators.
RIO Tinto head of innovation John McGagh rejected an assertion at the Austmine conference in Brisbane last week that the IT systems underpinning the mining giant’s first remote operations centre could be compared to a financial services or telecommunications control hub.
MAY 17: THE mining world’s most advanced fuel management system will be deployed over 12 sites in Western Australia’s Pilbara region over the next 18 months in what is believed to be the biggest enterprise-wide deployment of such technology in the industry.
SWISS/Swedish power and engineering giant ABB has followed its $US1 billion-plus acquisition of US-based enterprise software company Ventyx in June last year with the purchase of Mincom, a move that is expected to take the growth shackles off the 31-year-old Mincom.
MINCOM has added Russian-language support and new functionality to boost mine-planning speed and improve usability in its newly available MineScape 5.2 modelling and design software offering.
MINESIGHT Applications, the Australian business unit of 40-year-old American firm Mintec, seems to be growing increasingly confident about its chances of forging a new market stronghold in Western Australia’s frenetically expanding Pilbara iron ore region.
LEADING Australian mining software developer Maptek has opened its New Delhi office in India to tap the country’s increasingly technology-hungry mining market.
AUSTRALIAN company Position Partners is poised to introduce the new Gatewing X100 unmanned aerial system (UAS) mapping technology to its domestic after signing an agreement to be the Australian distributor.
WHO said mining software conventions (remember that word?) were staid events? From Arizona this week came news of a slimy, scaly intruder at US-based Mintec’s 28th annual seminar, and it wasn’t a rep from a rival software firm.
MAPTEK’S customer-focus mantra, as heard somewhat regularly at this week’s international user group gathering in Western Australia, is hardly a new management fad. Collaborative work with customers that is currently yielding the next wave of Maptek products follows a pattern set by founder Bob Johnson when he surprised the Utah Development Company more than 30 years ago.
WHILE much has been made of the improved terrestrial scanning times achieved with mobile laser scanners, Barrick Gold and Maptek may have come up with an even better idea.
TWO of the Chilean miners rescued in the recent internationally followed mine drama are among the guest speakers at this week’s Mincom summit for asset-intensive industry leaders in Latin America. The company has also just held a mining IT summit in St Petersburg, Russia.
LEADING engineering firm GHD’s $A5 million purchase of Autodesk software announced this week has put state-of-the-art design capabilities at the fingertips of personnel in its corporate CAD and drafting arm. But the deal has wider implications for GHD’s diverse client base, as the company’s global manager for CAD, Gavin Cheetham, explains.
THE privately-owned Western Australia firm Adam Technology carved itself a nice niche in the mining terrestrial photogrammetry software market some time ago and has managed to stay in the vanguard of the sector ever since. Which is to say, it started out doing something right and must be still doing it.
THE chances of Australia’s Immersive Technologies and Canada’s CAE Systems crossing business paths in the real world in the years to come must have at least improved marginally – even if only in peoples’ furtive minds – in recent times. Certainly their creative outputs, the simulation products being sold around the world, are becoming more closely aligned than ever.
AGNICO Eagle’s Arctic gold mine, Kittila in Finnish Lapland, has gone for a Canadian-developed mine production management system to turn data into profits.
HARNESSING great (and increasing) computing power to solve some of mining’s key strategic modelling problems is something the industry has struggled – by and large – to do. Queue the fast-thinking, faster-talking and even faster computing David Beck, the former Mount Isa rock mechanic turned 21st century mine planner who believes it’s in everyone’s interest to get up to speed asap on the tools available.
MINCOM chief strategy officer Jennifer Tejada is two or three steps ahead of the average mining technology manager – or CEO for that matter – in what is now becoming a fast-moving and higher-stakes game of IT deployment in the sector. But she’s not sounding too glum about the mining industry’s inability to keep up with IT adoption in Mincom’s other key markets, such as defence and infrastructure. And there are probably at least three reasons for this.
GEMCOM is going to make a lot of mine and field operatives happy if its new data management solution is as good as the sales talk – and initial reactions at Canada’s PDAC conference – indicates.
NEARLY half a century ago Fred Banfield was graduating from the Colorado School of Mines. It was 1964 and the Golden-based school had already established itself among the world’s leading institutions devoted to resource exploration, extraction, production and utilisation.
PRONTO software reseller Scope Systems has made a solid start in its bid to convert a significant mining ERP user base to its emerging business intelligence platform, a Scope user group conference heard last week in Perth.
AUSTRALIAN software developer Maptek has signed an agreement with 15-year-old PT Globecon Indonesia (PTGI) to sell its Vulcan geological modelling and mine planning software in Indonesia.
MARCH 1: WHILE clever tools are helping ease the mine reconciliation work burden for some companies there is clearly more effort – and money – being spent on wringing value out of ore processing plants with the aid of relevant information technology. It may represent only half the battle for its clients, but it’s an encouraging trend for companies such as QMASTOR.
MARCH 1: MAPTEK has joined BHP Billiton as a key supporter of the University of Adelaide’s mining engineering scholarship program, now five years old and releasing graduates into a market hungry for their skills.
MARCH1: MINING IT and consulting specialists from around the world will converge on Toronto for PDAC from this weekend and many will be presenting during one of the world’s major mining investment shows. One lead-up talk sure to spark interest is Fathom Geophysics’ Dr Daniel Core’s presentation on “Advanced airborne geophysical image-processing techniques for frontier regions lacking ground-truthed datasets”.
MARCH 1: TECHNOLOGY is likely to be a crucial part of the answer to the problems presented by projected skills shortages in Australia, according to Doug Bester, director of specialist software company Sentient. He says while software can’t replace people it does allow companies to make better use of existing staff.
IF THE mining industry is going to meet the demands for its products in the next 20 years we won’t be building mines the same way we build them now. They’ll be deeper and at lower grades, so they’ll probably have to be larger, more productive and built faster. They’ll take more investment up front and they will have to be on budget. They can be built, and we need them, but we won’t be making decisions about them the same way.
A WESTERN Australian company, PDC Consultants, has won a top gong at US-based engineering software company Bentley’s annual Be Inspired Awards, held in Amsterdam in The Netherlands.
THE Brazilian mining technology company Devex is pressing ahead with moves to internationalise its business following successful installations of its SmartMine fleet management system outside its domestic market.
FEBRUARY 7: WHILE mining companies can thank the oil industry for Gocad, it is a Canadian-Australian collaboration that has ensured rapid deployment of the advanced software into the hands of geoscientists and made it one of the really important exploration finds of the past decade.
FEBRUARY 7: SNOWDEN’S successful software development program is helping the international mining consulting firm win consulting jobs, a recent example being the Syama strategic study completed for gold miner Resolute.
FEBRUARY 7: A PARTNERSHIP between leading consulting and software firm Snowden, and international inspection and testing group SGS, is expected to bring a more holistic approach – and perhaps some new analytical tools – to mounting mine reconciliation and metal accounting challenges.
FEBRUARY 7: CANADIAN mining software firm Gemcom has released a new version of its mine production management software, InSite, which it says offers implementation time savings and standard out-of-the-box reporting capabilities for a fast return on investment.
FEBRUARY 7: THE ‘discovery’, so far, of an extra 1.6 million ounces of gold at the Bullabulling project, west of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia, has focused attention on advances in computing power, smart software and the smarter people using data to cast old projects in a new light.
THE busy Australian arm of US-based mining software company Mintec is understood to have secured another significant deal, this one involving a Papua New Guinea gold miner.
NEXT month’s second Mine Site Automation and Communication conference will feature presentations by Newmont Mining Corporation global director, mining system solutions, Dave Goddard, and Barrick Gold Corp mining information technology director, Andrew Scott.
MINING software veteran Phil Edmiston looks like he’s stepped back into the past. He’s sitting in the same office, in the same building he worked in 20 years ago. However, Edmiston is convinced everything else about his former employer, Datamine, has changed and, most notably, the future for the company looks very different to what it did a year ago.
HEAVYHITTERS in the mining IT sector have made large donations to the Queensland flood appeal.
LEICA Geosystems believes there are up to 20 deployments in prospect this year for the Locata GPS augmentation technology that has just been implemented for the first time at a mine site in Western Australia.
RECORDING mining equipment maintenance data is one thing. Accurately predicting maintenance costs for the life of machinery is another, as Graeme Elgie and Robbie Feyder found before they came up with a solution and formed iSolutions more than 10 years ago.
FRENCH geostatistics software company Geovariances has established a direct presence in Australia through the acquisition of long-time associate Tenzing, a Brisbane-based resource evaluation and consulting company. The deal has also strengthened Geovariances’ geostatistical consulting services business.
MINING software leaders from around the world offer their views on the year ahead in mining IT in this exclusive HighGrade Mining IT survey. They also reflect on the events that have shaped 2010 for their company, and the industry generally.
THE Queensland-based maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) software specialist Oniqua Enterprise Analytics is predicting further strong growth in the mining MRO market as the industry comes under increasing pressure to use technology to fight rising costs and meet performance goals.
THOSE accusing Jeff Whittle of using his keynote speaking spot at last week’s AusIMM mine planning conference in Western Australia to do a heavy sell job should reflect further on what the 80-year-old pit optimisation guru is actually trying to sell. The guy could have an easier time pulling a Cat 797 out of the Kalgoorlie Super Pit.
GETTING new mining projects into the right economic shape for robust short-range performance, rather than stretching finances – and hyper-extending models – to meet distant market expectations, should be the aim of most small-to-mid sized companies with serious intentions to be bigger players in the industry, a veteran Australian mining leader has warned.
MINESIGHT Applications has landed a breakthrough deal in Mongolia, winning a contract to supply software for the Oyu Tolgoi openpit operations.
DATA speeds 26 times current rates are on the way for Australian miners and rock-kickers working in remote areas (most of them) courtesy of the new generation Globalstar satellites being launched to replace the outdated orbiters currently in use.
GEOSCIENTIFIC information management systems leader acQuire has launched an aggressive recruitment drive in South Africa and sees a particularly bright future for mining IT growth in the region.
MINTEC has enhanced its suite of geomodelling tools by introducing an upgraded version of MineSight Data Analyst. The US-based supplier says MSDA v2.2 builds on its drillhole, blasthole and data modelling statistical and geostatistical analysis program in several areas.
THE Australian-based mining software developer Minemax has had a strong initial response to the release of its Tempo 1.4 mine planning application, according to a senior manager.
SEMINARS can be stuffy affairs. The MineSight Regional Seminar in Bangkok last week was anything but, according to MineSight Applications Australia’s regional business development manager Mark Gabbitus.
NOVEMBER 15: A SERIES of new enterprise agreements have set up Australian geoscientific information management systems (GIMS) specialist acQuire for another strong growth year as it repeats the roll-out of its managed services solution and prepares to transition to its new ‘Mica’ product architecture.
NEWLY listed Indian coal giant Coal India will “modernise” seven of its sites with Jigsaw360 fleet management systems.
THIS year has given US-based Mintec plenty of reasons to celebrate its 40th birthday after 2009 threatened to wreck the party. President John Davies tells HighGrade Mining IT the company is looking to middle age with confidence.
NOVEMBER 15: CAE Mining, the mining business arm of one of the world’s biggest simulation technology companies, will muscle up with investments exceeding the combined research and development spending of its three main competitors in the general mine planning software market over the next five years, according to new business development director Dylan Webb.
THE new Australian Cooperative Research Centre focused on refining methods of mine ore characterisation and extraction – to help the industry make better decisions about increasingly energy-intensive ore processing – is expected to come up with faster and simpler modelling tools within 3-4 years, according to CRC head professor Alan Bye.
NOVEMBER 15: MARK Gabbitus is waiting for news of his Nobel Prize in the mail. In the meantime, confirmation of a gig at the 2011 Mining Geology conference at Queenstown in New Zealand to talk about “the world’s greatest grade control system” surely can’t be far off.
GEMCOM has released the latest update of one of the world’s most popular openpit mine optimisation programs, Gemcom Whittle, with the new version incorporating the simultaneous optimisation module developed by Jeff Whittle and already being deployed via Whittle Consulting.
AUSTRALIAN mining technology firm QMASTOR has confirmed South Africa’s Exxaro Resources as a major buyer of its software.
LEADING Australian gold producer Newcrest Mining and an Indonesian coal miner are among the winners of Mincom’s inaugural Innovation & Excellence in Asset Management Asia Pacific Awards, announced this week at the ERP software provider’s Gold Coast Asset Intensive Industry Summit in Queensland.
AN Australian minnow sees innovation as the key to being competitive in the mine control technology market, a sector dominated by bigger international firms.
TRENT Bagnall has ticked a few more boxes in his quest to build an international mining software house. ‘Good things come in small packages’, seems an apt tagline at the moment for both Bagnall’s QMASTOR and the Canadian firm it intends buying for $C5 million.
MINESIGHT Applications is a few weeks away from releasing version 6.0 of the Mintec Minesight GMP software which has become a key mine planning and scheduling tool for many of the big openpit mine operators around the world.
OCTOBER 13: LEADING Australian-based mining software provider Micromine has been contracted by Cayeli Bakir Isletmeleri, a subsidiary of Inmet Mining, to deploy the PITRAM mine production control solution at Cayeli in Turkey, with the first stage implementation set to be completed by late December this year.
OCTOBER 13: MINING companies still need some convincing that enterprise resource planning systems are worth implementing if comments by Scope Systems managing director Troy Morrison are any gauge. And even if ERPs are installed by miners, they aren’t always done well.
OCTOBER 13: AUSTRALIAN-based software developer Maptek will support the world’s first “bi-national” mining project, Pascua-Lama in Chile-Argentina, from its Viña del Mar office on the Chilean coast.
OCTOBER 13: AT THE small end of the spectrum of strategic alliances being contemplated by engineering firm Sinclair Knight Merz, the new partnership with Australian-based simulation consultancy TSG Consulting is nevertheless seen as significant given the window it opens on what is evidently a fast-growing area of technology and services demand.
THE pin-up boy of CRCMining, Andrew Jessett, has his sights on the North and South American mining markets after breakthrough sales by the company he runs, MineWare, in South Africa in the past year.
A UNIVERSITY of Western Australia research team is on the hunt for a mine site, or sites, to partner with as it advances a project aimed at refining an integrated mine and ‘truck shop’ simulation modelling and optimisation tool.
MINING IT companies remain optimistic about continuing high-level investment by miners in technology despite a slowdown in some parts of the market over the past 18 months. Business leaders have told HighGrade growth in emerging markets, and the increasing emphasis on ‘connectivity’ from the pit to the port, are among the key drivers of a potential Golden Age for mining IT investment.
THE mining ERP market has become a lot more crowded than it was when Norman Pater established Costings & Logistics Systems in 1994 as a reseller for a Sydney-based software developer called Prometheus – later Pronto. But Pater’s partner in the business, managing director of the past three years Troy Morrison, still sees plenty of upside as the ‘data mining’ age really gathers momentum.
TWO IT business managers who did time together on some large mining industry projects over the past 10 years, and share the not insignificant ambition now of “helping bring Australia’s resource industry into the 21st century, through automation, technology and innovation” have hit the recruitment trail.
NEW mines and new business remain the key focus for warring mine fleet management system vendors Modular Mining Systems and Leica Geosystems, but turfing each other out of a site is surely just as satisfying. Certainly Modular thinks so.
RUNGE chief Tony Kinnane remains confident the company can turn around its 2009-10 profit and revenue nosedive, with offshore markets and potentially its SAP partnership putting software sales back on an upward growth curve.
ONE of the developers of a new industrial visualisation software package that applies 3D game technology to real-time data sources such as process control and SCADA systems says potential new applications keep opening up for what is clearly a nascent communications, simulation and planning tool in industries such as mining.
BILL Withers wrote the business plan for acQuire in August 1996 on a plane from Brisbane to Perth. Named this month as Ernest & Young’s 2010 Western Region Entrepreneur of the Year, Withers’ journey to the present has certainly been bumpier than that transcontinental trip across Australia. But acQuire is well and truly on the world map as a mining software supplier.
THE QUIET transition continues for Datamine under the stewardship of Canadian simulation technology leader CAE, with the latter giving little away to analysts about its plans for the mining software firm acquired earlier this year at a recent briefing.
AUTHOR of the Ventsim mine ventilation simulation software now used at more than 400 mines worldwide, Craig Stewart, will host new training courses in Brisbane and Sydney in November.
MINCOM Ellipse will become the global enterprise asset management (EAM) platform for iron ore and coal miner Cliffs Natural Resources under a new partnering deal struck between Mincom and Cliffs.
SIX years of working in Mongolia has established an Australian mining technology company firmly within the country’s rapidly evolving and expanding mining industry.
AUSTRALIA’S biggest gold producer Newcrest Mining has licensed Mincom’s Production Accounting application to help identify new opportunities for improving metal extraction and gold recovery across its enterprise as part of a three-year, “multi-million-dollar” deal.
KUDOS for Steve Craig and his team at Orelogy from Microsoft and the Australian Government were nice. Mining engineer Craig knows, of course, that recognition of the company’s “transformational” software, evORElution, by his peers is the real test for a company making a difficult transition from mining consultancy to technology provider.
BANKERS and brokers weren’t the only ones searching out future “Diggers” award winners at last week’s Diggers & Dealers conference in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia (recent winners have included Atlas Iron and Western Areas). SAP’s Grant Clinch and Brad Cuff also had a briefcase stuffed full of cash.
DATAMINE has had a win in its bid to build the profile of the Fusion Geological Database Management System (GDMS) product in Australia, clinching a deal with Eyre Iron in South Australia as part of a broader software supply agreement with the China-backed iron ore company.
AMERICAN cloud-based project management software provider Tenrox, which lists among its past clients Rio Tinto Alcan and SNC Lavalin, has entered into a strategic partnership with Eclipse Computing (Australia) to build its profile in the Australasian market.
AN UPBEAT reading of the outlook for the mine fleet management business has its sales levels exploding after a protracted initiation, with rich lodes of data arriving by the truck load at increasingly sophisticated processing centres. The pragmatist’s view has more miners willing to put real-time production management at the heart of project development strategies, with current effective exploitation of technology lagging well behind industry rhetoric.
RIO TINTO’S big scoreboard at the northern end of its new operations centre at Perth airport is a potential game-changer for its multi-billion-dollar export iron ore business.
ACCURATE tracking of the number of fleet management systems sold each year around the world is not easy since most of the key players are privately owned or part of major machine supply companies. The leaders canvassed by HighGrade suggest the number of automated system deployments could soon reach 80-100 a year.
AUSTRALIAN company Mine Site Technologies has received US Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) approval for its MinePhone voice over internet protocol (VoIP) telephone, giving it a complete tracking and communication system that is MSHA certified under the MINER Act 2006.
NEW Western Australian iron ore miner BC Iron’s search in the first half of this year for geological and mine planning software to meet its needs ended up bypassing regular sector picks. But mining engineer Joel van Anen says the extensive market review produced the outcome the company was looking for.
CATERPILLAR, the world’s major construction and mining equipment maker, has reportedly spent billions of dollars on research and development so that its products meet US Tier 4 emissions standards and recently announced a $US700 million investment in new mining hydraulic shovels and its electric-drive truck roll-out through to 2014. Less well known is a massive investment in mining technology R&D.
INCREASING recognition of the value of international resource estimation theory and practice in China has been reflected in a big turnout at a seminar at Beijing’s Long Quan Hotel this week.
HONEYWELL won’t say whether its $US139 million acquisition of Matrikon will create a new focus for its minerals sector business, but a spokesperson appeared to leave open the possibility of change in the wake of the deal.
CANADIAN technology firms Peck Tech Consulting and MDA Corporation, a developer of advanced robotics for US space shuttle programs over the past 20 years, joined to take advantage of a developing need for mining companies to outsource specialised information technology services, an MDA spokesperson has told HighGrade.
A LEADING IT researcher has forecast “full recovery and net growth” in the international enterprise asset management (EAM) market in 2012 after a difficult and dynamic 2009, in a review naming Mincom as the market-leading EAM supplier worldwide to the mining and minerals market.
JUNE 28: HAS the ‘smart mining’ era dawned? Investors reading about the official opening of Rio Tinto’s new remote operations centre might not have a clue, but many technologists who’ve worked in and around the industry for years are convinced that it has. To them, Rio Tinto has opened a real treasure trove.
JUNE 28: IT WAS a mine visit like no other.
JUNE 28: MARK Coyne knows a bit about workplace hazards. The former rugby league international copped his share of injuries and spent years dealing with workers’ compensation incidents and claims in his ‘other job’. So he understands the realities underpinning safety statistics.
FOUNDER of Aquila Mining Systems and former Caterpillar IT manager Jonathan Peck has teamed with TSX-listed technology company MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) to develop new advanced technology solutions for the mining industry.
MINING software company Gemcom is opening a new office in Jakarta, Indonesia, this week, underlining confidence in the market’s long-term prospects.
SANDVIK Mining and Construction, one of the world’s major suppliers of underground mining equipment, has confirmed entry into an alliance with mining software leader Gemcom to develop a robust reporting interface for underground mine fleet management.
ASX-LISTED QMASTOR expects to receive more than $A5 million over the next five years for the supply and support of its Horizon planning and scheduling software to the Hunter Valley Coal Chain in New South Wales, Australia – a contract managing director Trent Bagnall sees as a chance for QMASTOR to showcase its products.
BARRY Henderson is on the road – or in the air – more than 150 days each year. For the Denver-based American the job of running Australia’s Maptek could involve even more globetrotting in the years ahead, a prospect he still seems to relish.
A SURVEY which showed many North American mining companies didn’t have the IT systems in place to properly support operations and enterprise-level management objectives has been repeated in Australia, with results due out soon.
GREG Clark might have come to Mincom to help steer it into a range of non-mining growth areas for asset-intensive enterprise software, but he’s quick to highlight the industry’s continuing importance to the company. Ellipse 8 is the latest heavy weaponry unveiled by Mincom as it seeks to hit back at the ‘interlopers’ in its traditional market territory.
HAYDN Roberts was five years out of the mine fleet management and truck dispatch technology arena and he believes the business – the market, the technology and the supply landscape – changed a lot in that time. For him, naturally enough, there was a need for a serious, independent player in the market and he believes Hexagon AB was that missing piece.
MAY 17: SAP’S traditional omnipotence at mining’s big end of town is about to be transferred to the mid and lower tiers. That’s the plan, anyway. “Yes, it’s an area of potentially diminishing returns,” says new Australia/New Zealand resources director Grant Clinch in his first media interview. “But it is a market we must participate in.”
ALL the latest news on relevant upcoming information technology events around the world.
MAY 17: INTERNATIONAL consulting group Itasca has received a huge number of abstracts for its second major software user symposium, to be held in Australia early next year.
MAY 17: THE leading Australian-based mining consulting firm Snowden, part of ASX-listed Downer EDI, is aiming to double the size of its mining technology business within five years while continuing to carve out a distinctive niche in the market.
MAY 17: FRENCH firm Geovariances expects to build on its long-term presence in the Australian and other key mining markets with the release of new geostatistics software which incorporates more results of the Multivariate Recoverable Resources Consortium research project in Paris.
A NEW survey of North American mining executives suggests the industry, at least in that part of the world, is still full of information technology luddites, but that the wheel is turning slowly. The survey, by a leading software firm, highlights a continuing “disconnect between many companies’ top business objectives, and the processes and technologies required to support them”.
IT’S been a productive six months for ASX-listed QMASTOR since the company opened an office in Denver, Colorado. Not only has it expanded its North American client list but it has now concluded a deal with a locally based leader in the business software field to supply a customised performance management platform (PMP) for its mining, port and utilities customers.
THE marriage of a simulation and modelling technology leader with one of the innovators in the mining software world is only the first step in a process aimed at creating a gorilla in the mining technology services area, according to new CAE Datamine chief Nick Beaton.
APRIL 19: THE head of mining software firm Datamine in Australia has promised “genuine consolidation” in the mining IT market as a result of Canadian simulation technology company CAE Inc’s acquisition of 29-year-old Datamine.
APRIL 19: CONSOLIDATION in the mining information and communication technology (ICT) market space is set to gather speed following Canadian technology company CAE’s entry into mining via the acquisition of Datamine.
APRIL 19: PROJECT ‘Streamline’ is the sort of business change tagline that gifts an enterprise software supplier promotional mileage. For SAP, the Fortescue Metals Group project is doubly significant because the software giant is ramping up its focus on emerging mining houses in markets such as Australia.
JKTECH is nearing a release date for one of the important extensions to its unique JKMultibal mineral processing circuit management software.
EMERGING Canadian base metals company HudBay Minerals will look to rapidly deploy its new enterprise asset management system after signing a $US6 million deal with Mincom for the supply of the software company’s Mincom Ellipse EAM and full suite of mining technical solutions.
MARCH 29: HIGHGRADE’S inaugural annual mining software user survey has highlighted the popularity of Australian developed products in the Australasian market.
MARCH 29: DATAMINE’S openpit Interactive Short Term Scheduler (ISTS) software was favourably received by mining industry attendees at last week’s product briefings in Perth and Brisbane. HighGrade Mining IT joined them on the first leg of the tour.
BLOCK caving expert and Gemcom software author Dr Tony Diering is heading to Perth, Western Australia, next month for the Caving 2010 block and sub-level caving conference run by the Australian Centre for Geomechanics. Delegates will hear more about recent modifications to Gemcom’s PCBC block cave planning and scheduling software, used at many of the world’s existing block cave mines.
AUSTRALIAN mining software company Maptek says it has entered into an “enterprise agreement” with major gold producer Newcrest Mining to provide “flexible deployment of Vulcan for mine planning and geological modelling across existing sites”. The company is understood to have beaten off a long list of rivals to clinch the deal.
THE developer of “the world’s most advanced” mine fuel management system – a description seemingly endorsed by BHP Billiton’s major mining divisions – is ready to hand over control of his growing business to ensure its technology edge and market lead are maintained in future.
THE Australian developer of new software used to calculate life-of-mine trucking requirements in openpit mines is weighing up a suitable commercial release date after a beta version demonstrated its worth at the Savage River iron ore mine in Tasmania.
WORK on new underground mine design software overseen by the head of mining engineering at the Western Australia School of Mines, Professor Erkan Topal, is progressing with the aim of producing a tool comparable to those available to opencut mine engineers. But a key advance still has “a bit way to go”, according to Topal.
A SOON to be completed large-scale implementation of its mining enterprise software could help clear the blockages in Runge’s sales pipeline, managing director Tony Kinnane said after the company posted 14% lower first-half revenue compared with a year ago.
DATAMINE’S aggressive product roll-out will continue this month with the formal launch of its new Interactive Short Term Scheduling (ISTS) software, developed with input from Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines.
THERE are many small operators on the fringes of the pack fighting it out for big chunks of market share in the global mining software business. Seldon Mart has been there, on the sidelines, for nearly 40 years and he’s seen a lot of changes. Now he and his partners have got a second wind.
STRONG sales of its flagship MICROMINE software in the past four months have given Western Australian-based Micromine the ideal lead-up to this week’s general market release of MICROMINE 2010.
THE Queensland-based company MineWare has claimed the turf of a highly-credentialed former Australian-owned company in winning a preferred supplier agreement with BHP Billiton-Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) to supply its dragline monitoring and intelligence solutions across all BMA sites.
MINCOM has done the “heavy lifting” with its overhaul of the MineScape product architecture to be confident of increasing its penetration into the wider mine planning software market, according to the company’s vice-president mining solutions, John Jessop. That ultimately means the metals market in countries such as Australia.
THE dominant supplier of underground mine planning software to Australian metal mines, Datamine, has achieved what it sees as a significant breakthrough at the Mount Isa complex in north Queensland.
CUBE Consulting’s INX workforce management software is popular. How popular? Two measures are the current shipping rate and a growing who’s who delegate list for next month’s user conference in Perth.
MINCOM has described MineScape 5, its latest software release, as the most advanced mine planning and modelling solution in the marketplace, a claim that’s sure to set off debate in the industry. The product is expected to be generally available by the end of March this year.
FORTY years is an unusually long life for a mining technology company. It is at least a couple of lifetimes for most mining IT companies. US-based Mintec has defied convention with a very conventional business plan.
MICROMINE is ringing the management changes following the departure of CEO Peter Rossdeutscher before Christmas.
ENGINEERING firm Sinclair Knight Merz will next month start rolling out a customised version of the Cintellate safety management software that has become a staple feature of many other companies’ operations. The new software is expected to automate 20% of relevant business processes and will be a paperless repository for vital health, safety, environment and community (HSEC) data.
AUSTRALIAN company Maptek has followed up the release of new modelling software for its I-Site laser scanners late last year with the introduction of the I-Site 8800 “extra” long-range scanner.
DECEMBER 9: THE world turned flat for mining information technology vendors in 2009. However, things are definitely looking up in 2010. Here, senior executives from 10 of the world’s leading mining software companies explain why.
DECEMBER 9: DAVID Beck and his team at Beck Arndt Engineering will continue to work on better integrating their new hydromechanical (HM) simulation capability with available mine planning tools in a bid to get the new advanced mine slope stability and water pressure modelling product as widely deployed as possible.
DECEMBER 9: THE GLOBAL economic slowdown gave many mining service and technology companies – with able balance sheets – an opportunity to focus on better positioning themselves for what some believe will be a sustained upturn in knowledge and technology based mining industry investment in the next decade. R&D, at least for mining IT firms, has not been shelved this year.
DECEMBER 9: NO SURPRISES here: the world’s major mining software and IT markets are Australia, Canada, the USA and South Africa. What is interesting though is that Russia, nominated as a key growth market by a number of the 10 leading software companies surveyed by HighGrade, is already regarded as an important established market by at least two of the leaders.
DECEMBER 9: AUSTRALIAN technology firm Maptek says improvements to its I-Site Studio 3.3 laser scan modelling software are designed to streamline routine mine surveying tasks. The company now has 150 I-Site Studio licensees in at least 20 countries.
THE use of advanced mathematical modelling to aid mineral processing plant design and operational enhancements is expected to continue to grow and improve, according to the CSIRO’s Dr Phil Schwarz, particularly with the advent and honing of multi-scale computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling tools.
NOVEMBER 30: A PRODUCTIVE partnership between Datamine and respected mining software author Chris Alford earlier this year turned a long-term project into a product that has achieved rapid market uptake despite the patchy 2009 spending of mining companies and consultants.
INFORMATION overload might be a problem at some mines but not for the 20-year-old Queensland company Transcale. The Australian leader in the field of vehicle weighing systems says new technology and emerging “technology support” services have been a hit despite the slowdown in mine spending over the past 12 months.
SOFTWARE and consulting group Runge has confirmed at least 10 $A1 million-plus software sales opportunities are sitting in its “leads inventory”, though closing the deals is proving tricky.
ASX-LISTED QMASTOR has reaffirmed its intention to grow internationally amid firming mining industry demand, with expansion in the Americas and Africa key to its mid-range goal of $A30 million of annual revenue by 2012. This year it expects 10% revenue growth to about $A10 million after a slow first half.
FORMER WMC and Woodside information systems manager Brian Spence will continue the formal unveiling of Gemcom’s Mining Process Framework at a mining symposium in the Philippines this week. It is a campaign, he says, that could redefine Gemcom as a mining software supplier as much as it helps to sharpen customers’ profit focus.
YOU need a pretty good tracking system to dig out financial information on Hexagon “precision in everything” AB business unit Jigsaw Technologies, the tiny American firm Hexagon bought for (one would assume) next to nothing in 2007.
THIRTY years old this month, Modular Mining Systems says it’s not far away from another significant milestone. This is a mark the world’s major supplier of mine fleet management software probably would have reached a lot sooner but for a radical shift in ‘haul road’ conditions in the second half of its journey.
DATAMINE’S announcement of a significant GDMS software contract with Brazil’s Vale has happily coincided with the world’s second biggest mining company detailing plans for a major expansion of its iron ore operations in the next five years.
THE technological shift set to underpin future expansion of Rio Tinto’s Pilbara iron ore operations – and inevitably those of BHP Billiton if their iron ore joint venture becomes reality – is entering a new phase following the opening of Rio’s Perth remote operations centre (ROC).
RUNGE managing director Tony Kinnane has the guns loaded and cocked. Judging by the confident smile and air it seems he’ll have no hesitation in opening fire on the first rival to violate the company’s unusual mining technology patent, and even that he’s looking forward to a (inevitable) transgression.
THE YOUNG CEO of a Brisbane-based mining software firm says the city’s position as a global mining technology hub is set to be enhanced as the industry becomes a bigger user of advanced information and communication technologies. This probably won’t harm the growth prospects of 33-year-old Andrew Jessett’s MineWare either.
LEADING coal plant builder and operator, Sedgman, expects to complete the initial roll-out of its SCORS operations reporting software by the end of 2009. The product, which has just won an Engineers Australia (Queensland) Excellence Award for Control Systems, Networks, Information Processing and Telecommunications, is now being offered to non-Sedgman coal plant operators.
PORTENTS for stronger mining industry information technology investment were good before the global financial crisis, but not in its immediate aftermath. What about now? HighGrade has joined with Gartner Inc to conduct a major survey of the industry to gauge the outlook for mining IT investment in 2010.
ANDREW Lingard is already up to his neck in coal – not the norm for a Datamine employee.
RUNGE has taken steps to defend its Mining Dynamics IP against friend and foe alike by securing patents “related to the methodology” underpinning its enterprise solution. The move to protect the IP in Australia and South Africa, initiated two years ago, creates something of a barrier between Runge’s work in the area and that of a couple of its heavyweight technology partners.
WANT a job in exploration or mining that will still be there when your company cuts its profit from $3 zillion to only $2 zillion? Then you might consider joining a technology and services company such as the Australian firm, acQuire.
IF AUTOMATION and true ‘remote’ control over product delivery and quality are technological themes that will define the mining company of the future, then the calibre of value-stream management within these companies is what will separate the leaders from the also-rans.
MINE Planning 2009, Dunsborough, Western Australia (no, it is not a new mining hub!). The mining software conference had polylines, semi-transparent fill and DGN files galore. But it also hit on mining’s really big IT themes of the new millennium: visualisation, integration and optimisation.
ONE of the success stories of the Western Australian mining industry of recent years, Western Areas, is ready to add a second high-grade nickel mine at its Forrestania stronghold, less than eight years after it bought into the belt. But the company’s transition from explorer to low-cost nickel producer was anything but smooth, according to operations director Dan Lougher. Water and black boxes produced major hiccups.
GIJIMAAST Global Mining Solutions, aspiring to be No.1 in the world in the mining technical systems market, can treble revenues outside South Africa in the next five years without acquisitions, according to senior executive Pieter Nel, who maintains the company is in no hurry to pursue M&A that could elevate its standing sooner.
CRAIG Stewart’s days as a part-time software developer and vendor are probably over.
DATAMINE Australia general manager Brad Barker might be using the standard line of a new business leader when he says he plans to do things differently. Naturally, with a company like Datamine, he won’t fully explain the comment. But there were some clear signals at a conference jointly sponsored by the software supplier last week.
FORMER Mount Isa mining engineer David Beck advises mining companies around the world on mine design and scheduling in high stress, high displacement or seismically active conditions. The principal of Beck Arndt Engineering addressed Mine Planning 2009 in Western Australia last week, and later spoke to HighGrade.
THE prize for unlocking, and connecting, mining’s data silos is great – for mining companies and the IT firms with the new generation tools to turn data into reliable, real-time information worth its weight in gold.
OUR report, Silo Breakers, wasn’t out long before the salvos from mining software suppliers started.
DELEGATES at a mining technology conference in Western Australia this week will get an update on a major southern hemisphere underground mine communications installation – in Zambia.
NEWCASTLE-based QMASTOR is among a flotilla of Australia mining technology and service (MTS) companies seeking to make regular international docks new centres of business before the next major upswing in mining investment.
THERE can’t be too many better places to plan a mine than Margaret River, or nearby at Dunsborough, not that we’re likely to see too much digging in the scenic wine growing and tourism district. That won’t stop (in fact it will no doubt encourage) a big troupe of miners gathering at Bunker Bay in a couple of weeks to compare mine development notes.
IF traditional metal balancing and reconciliation are dark arts and modern metal accounting is the key to unlocking real value from mineralised ores, then University of Queensland professor Rob Morrison may well be mining’s new-age Merlin. The sorcerer’s apprentice? Well that would be Will Jansen, seen here performing the neat trick of getting power out of a tree in the middle of Africa.
MINING machinery giant Caterpillar is the world’s dominant supplier of mining trucks, loaders and bulldozers but is a bit player in mining technology, an industry of a thousand small and often disparate pieces. That hasn’t stopped speculation that the company is building more than just a technology platform on which to expand the service and support offering it provides to miners, construction contractors and other key users of its equipment.
PRIVATELY owned American rare earth producer and technology company Molycorp Minerals LLC says mining software supplier Mincom has delivered on its promise to streamline delivery of its new enterprise asset management (EAM) platform.
THE US-based mine information management systems vendor Modular Mining Systems has extended two mine contracts with Anglo American Corp in Chile. One of the big openpit mines, Los Bronces, is completing a $US2 billion expansion.
CHRIS Fischer left the burgeoning telecommunications sector and mainstream information technology industry to work in one with a poor track record of IT deployment, but one in which he is seeing clear change signals that go all the way back to the mining technology company he works for.
WHILE not confirming or denying analyst speculation about a $A10 million pipeline of software sales, Runge’s Mining Dynamics manager Glen Kuntz remains confident factors outside and beyond the GFC-induced economic hardship impacting mining investment are working in favour of the company and its potentially “company changing” product.
BIG private investors have positioned themselves for it. The capital intensive mining industry is crying out for it. The time is well and truly right for it. It is mining’s IT revolution, but unfortunately it’s going to have to wait.
GRAND visions of automated mines and city-based operations centres are meant to impress investors, but miners have many cost-saving, and efficiency and safety enhancing opportunities already within their grasp, according to IT experts. And the means to clearly and accurately report the benefits.
ENTERPRISE resource planning systems have attracted the lion’s share of mining IT investment in recent years and the IT sector is divided on the benefits, and on whether greater focus should have been elsewhere.
THE companies leading the industry’s push to mine data more effectively include Alcoa, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Barrick Gold and Goldfields – with mining contractors seen by some, perhaps surprisingly, as a touchstone for change at the coalface.
THE recent mining boom saw the value of mega-mining deals top previous benchmarks in the sector, while new M&A and equity raisings in global mining services and manufacturing also exceeded past high-points. Mining IT is a diminutive sector by comparison, but moves could be afoot to change that.
CANADIAN gold giant Barrick Gold Corporation’s quest to unlock the vault to $US3.6 billion worth of silver at a gold project in Argentina is another internet-based mining experiment in the Goldcorp Challenge vane.