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Digital Transformation for the Mining Industry

Abstract

Digitalization is transforming the mining industry, and every aspect of a mining operation, at an accelerating pace. New advances in data collection, artificial intelligence, and automation offer mining operators opportunities to achieve breakthroughs in productivity and performance.

Fluor is a leader in data management, with expertise, resources and robust work processes in place for each of the four major stages of digital transformation:

  • Digital twin (virtual replica of physical assets)
  • Real-time data collection
  • Data analysis using artificial intelligence and optimization
  • Automation and autogenous operation

Client Benefits

Mining operators achieve new benefits with each stage of their digital transformation.

Digital Twin

A digital twin is a virtual representation modeling a physical asset and its process behavior. In the digital twin, thousands of different operational variables can be analyzed virtually in a way not possible with physical assets in order to determine the optimal working parameters for the mine.

The project automation specialists at Fluor can assist mine owners in selecting and implementing a digital twin platform, or alternatively aligning the project data structure towards the owner’s chosen platform. Fluor’s smart data transfer process ensures that common project data standards, based on widely accepted international standards, are established at the beginning of the project, facilitating smooth and timely data transfer of project data into the owner’s digital twin.

Watch a video to learn more about digital twins.

Real-time Data Collection

Mining operators can now use increasingly affordable measurement devices and inexpensive Wi-Fi networks to capture vast amounts of data, from the tire pressure of haul trucks, to mill liner wear, to the corrosion rate of pipelines, to real-time analysis of raw ore in mine shovels.

Unique in the industry, Fluor maintains a mine site data collection opportunity register to track and itemize the vast array of data collection technology available in the growing marketplace. This tool helps project teams select the right solution to meet the specific needs of each mining operation. This allows scope for big data collection to be defined in project baselines and ensures that Wi-Fi and data collection networks have been correctly designed to support them sufficiently early in the project’s development.

Data Analysis via Artificial Intelligence and Optimization

Artificial intelligence tools work best when the interrelationships of a broad collection of data are incorporated. This might include material characteristics, shovel data, haul truck availability, crusher performance, and the mine plan, all analyzed not individually but as part of a unified system.

Fluor’s process technology specialists, data analysts, and project automation experts have experience in defining operational data management platforms that make best use of available data sets to elicit the greatest opportunities for optimization and production efficiency.

Automation and Autogenous Operation

Today, a fully automated mine site is closer to reality than ever before. Remotely operated and autonomous mining equipment can keep human operators away from hazards, potentially reducing or eliminating health and safety risks.

The clear benefits of improved safety, efficiency, and environmental outcomes need to be weighed against the significant costs of the latest innovations. Fluor draws on long experience in assessing technology maturity, as well as an extensive historical project cost database, to analyze the options and support owners in determining the extent of automation that will yield the best business outcome at a specific mining operation.

Learn more about Fluor’s offerings for the mining industry.