2014 ARC Industry Forum: The mining industry in transition

Donovan Waller, head of automation and remote monitoring at Anglo American, delivered a presentation on the mining industry at the 2014 ARC Industry Forum in Orlando, Fla. He discussed challenges and solutions for catching the mining industry up to speed with similar global industries.


Automation and other key process improvements can help the mining industry get up to speed with other global industries, according to Donovan Waller, head of automation and remote monitoring at AngloAmerican, a global mining company. He delivered a presentation on the mining industry at the 2014 ARC Industry Forum in Orlando, Fla.

Here are some key takeaways from Donovan Waller’s remarks:

  • Mining drives more than 45% of GDP globally, takes up less than 1% of the world’s surface, uses less than 3% of the world’s carbon gases, and consumes less than 1% of water resources for production.
  • Grades are less than previously obtained over time, and prices of extraction and processing are increasing.
  • Innovation spending is less than other industries.
  • Trend is downward looking at the multi-productivity index
  • Transformations are coming: increasing resolution by element, removing workers to safe distances with automation, moving from batch to continuous processes, lowering energy costs, improving planning, increasing use of intelligent machines with embedding sensors and real-time information use, using geospatial management.
  • Networking is more robust and mission critical.
  • In the future, looking at development of present and future frontiers, such as under glaciers and ocean mining.
  • How do we get these solutions to work together? Interoperability is the key to greater lifecycle efficiencies and to avoid early obsolescence.
  • Ideally, we’d see a progressive, competitive ecosystem where players compete by adding value to mining processes without closed, insular, proprietary components. The value is for the mine, not around a vendor’s piece of hardware. We must manage the interfaces in a risk managed environment.
  • There will be more partnering with universities and suppliers, and will look at and adopt other guidelines and standards from other industries. We don’t want to reinvent the wheel.

Speaker, Donovan Waller, biography: Donovan is an aeronautical engineer who began his career in experimental aerodynamics at the CSIR in Pretoria and later moved into the ramp handling industry in the field of asset management.  This was followed by a period in consulting at PwC Consulting and IBM Business Consulting Services.  Donovan was then contracted for a period to BHP Billiton in the area of information management and mining technical systems.  He continued this line of work at Anglo American working for both the Group and later within the Base Metals business unit. Biography is courtesy: ARC Advisory Group.

Click here for more CFE Media coverage of the 2014 ARC Industry Forum.

- Mark T. Hoske and Jordan M. Schultz, content managers, CFE Media, Control Engineering, and Plant Engineering, mhoske@cfemedia.com, jschultz@cfemedia.com.

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