Can Modern Mining Balance Technology and Intuition?

Even while the mining sector has benefited much from digital transformation, there are still many obstacles in the way modern mining balances technology and intuition.  The problem lies not just in a lack of digitization or in adopting a more digital attitude, but also in the idea that technology can enhance the fundamental function of human management, which is the ability to make decisions effectively and efficiently.

The real world of decision-making goes beyond executing complex data capture and analytics processes and following pre-established routines. Daily decisions often involve a high degree of data uncertainty and rely heavily on the intuition of operations personnel, sometimes with minimal information available.

Navigating the Complexities of Digital Transformation

Some may argue that a more computerized mining sector is necessary to increase productivity and free up time for other worthwhile endeavors. However, this transformation is more complicated than just digitizing everything; one needs a compass to understand the value and rationale behind changing an industry.

Like anything in life, excesses have their drawbacks, and too much standardization breeds organizational rigidity. The goal of standardization, which is to create a more effective organization, is distorted by the surplus of administrative procedures and the multitude of stakeholders requiring management.

Mining has never had access to as much data for decision-making as it does now. Twenty years ago, the industry couldn’t have imagined the wealth of information available today. In the past, decision-making was left to highly experienced individuals who relied on their intuition and the scant information at their disposal.

The Role of AI in Transforming Decision-Making in Mining

People today process a vast amount of information using a variety of methods in order to make judgments. But there are also increased cognitive demands associated with this increasing autonomy.

Customer implementation
In these circumstances, technology is essential to improving the effectiveness and efficiency of operations management. Large volumes of information can be accessed and processed quickly enough to outpace the cognitive capacities of even the most intelligent individuals, thanks to technology.

In this context, the difficulty of determining a problem’s root cause can be lessened with the application of artificial intelligence. It can, among many other things, give a real-time feedback loop,  analyze production process bottlenecks, pinpoint the most likely reasons for a critical asset stoppage, compute an alternate production plan, enable proactive adjustments to optimize metallurgical performance and forecast maintenance plan compliance.

Even more significant, in dynamic environments like mining operations, the use of the new breed of Objective-driven AI framework can mitigate some of the pitfalls of other modern AI approaches and enhance efficiency and safety by offering a combination of first principles and data-driven, flexible decision-making that closely resembles human planning and evaluation.

This not only simplifies human judgment but also addresses the most common geometallurgical decisions: predicting the impact of ore properties on downstream processes.

This being said, it is critical to move the emphasis from a digital transformation that focuses on digitizing particular tasks to one that focuses on developing decision-making processes where the interaction between people and AI may provide the greatest benefit.

Interested in knowing more?

 

Mine to Market: Value Chain Optimization

The Stockpile & Inventory Optimization Application is one of a suite of real-time decision-making applications that uses AI to optimize each process; from mine to market.

Our Material Handling model connects these applications to drive even greater efficiency.

Our process optimization apps can be deployed on a specific process bottleneck or expanded across the entire value chain. They are powered by our Industrial AI Decision Intelligence Platform, brains.app.

Stockpile and Inventory Optimization

Stockpile & Inventory Optimization

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Grinding Optimization

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