Control - Maximising system-value

Program 4: Control

Maximising system-value

The disruptive and dynamic opportunities that coarse separation delivers through Grade Engineering® required a more effective approach to whole of system control and execution.

program 4 controlWhile Grade Engineering provides new value-based options for manipulating insitu grade and delivering improved productivity, it can also be perceived as creating increased complexity. A high level of user defined options and dynamic scenarios challenges current practice.

The disruptive nature of having new options to applying coarse separation early in the mining and extraction cycle can appear to introduce ‘complexity’ compared to current practice. Coarse separation can be used to address a range of bottlenecks or financial targets which depend on the operating mode and maturity of individual operations (including pre-feasibility). Introduction of on-line information from coarse feed streams also introduces new data flows into control systems.

The objective of Program 4 was to integrate outcomes from the other Programs into management execution systems (MES) that can be used by operational decision makers to maximise efficiency and value. The dynamic nature of coarse separation as an optional process made it especially suitable for scenario planning and options analysis.

The ultimate aim was to generate tools and knowledge that can be used to capture and manage the disruptive outcomes of Grade Engineering® as part of an overall business solution approach. This included working with centres of expertise in organisational design and change management to ensure the benefits of disruptive new technologies can be sustained in what are often entrenched operating cultures.


Project snapshot
  P4-001: Data driven models - Phase 1

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  P4-001: Data driven models - Close out

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  P4-003: Data driven models - Phase 2 (discontinued)


  P4-004: Implementation Accelerator

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  P4-007: Optimised Production Scheduling for Grade Engineering

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  P4-007: Enhancing Value through GE - a heuristic method for optimal production scheduling of mining operations - Close out

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  P4-008: Developing Business and Eco-System Management Tools

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  P4-009: Risk Management Model

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  P4-009: Risk Management Model - Close out

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  P4-010: Socio-political stakeholders

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Research milestones

Sorting smlThe key objective of Program 4 was to deliver outcomes from Programs 1, 2 and 3 into control architecture. This was to ensure productivity benefits from Grade Engineering were sustainable. A key component of Program 4 was a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) approach. MES is at the core of advanced manufacturing productivity. Attempts at MES in mining have been restricted to operations which are predominantly logistics-based (i.e. bulk commodities), rather than process-based and thus are not able to utilize innovative process analytical methods (e.g. process mining).

In addition to MES, two organisational components were addressed to ensure a sustainable transition to a Grade Engineered operation. These were organisational change at the operating mine level and scenario planning to address the strategic fit and external factors to support a Grade Engineering approach. While MES has been heavily adopted by industries such as pharmaceutical and hydrocarbon refining, mining has been slow to exploit it fully. MES relies on data flow, measurement, “recipes” for flexing the process and the ability to control and engineer inputs. Grade Engineering gives the mining industry more tools and options to deliver the promise of MES.

Based on system architecture from other sectors MES can be grouped into five separate but integrated research challenges; (1) Plan and Schedule; (2) Direct and Operate; (3) Track, analyse and inform; (4) Organisational change to support Grade Engineering and; (5) Scenario planning to inform Grade Engineering options.

Program Coodinator

Program 4: Control
Paul Revell

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