Can Technology Can Lower Mine Maintenance Costs?

Mining companies have gone from spending 1% of revenue on IT in 2015 to an estimated 10% in 2020. Considering that mining maintenance costs alone can run from 30% to over 50% of total mine operating costs, it makes sense to direct some of that spending to the activity responsible for half its costs. What mine maintenance technologies are available and how can they help lower costs and boost productivity?

What mine maintenance technologies are available?

Predictive maintenance and mine asset management software is a category of software that allows mining companies to streamline and automate many of the tasks surrounding mine maintenance and asset tracking. And while these technologies are in use by a vast majority of the major mining companies in the world, they are not out of reach for smaller mining operations. To be most effective these applications should integrate with your accounting or mining ERP application, and the best ones offer these kinds of integrations.

For example, Caron Mining Solutions has partnered with software developers who provide robust solutions for mining companies at all stages of the mining lifecycle. Technisoft is integrated seamlessly with Sage 300cloud, DIMO Maint provides a solution for Sage 300cloud and Sage X3, and AMT Asset Management provides complete asset lifecycle management for larger mining operations running Sage X3. [Watch a video demonstration of how AMT Asset Management fits within Caron Mining Solutions here.]

Call out:

“Once measured by how well a company extracted resources, the industry’s value proposition may be shifting to how well a company acts on information to optimise production, reduce costs, increase efficiency, and improve safety.”

Phil Hopwood, Deloitte’s global mining leader

What benefits do mine maintenance technologies provide?

From maintenance planning, including predictive maintenance based on usage patterns, through employee/equipment resource management, and equipment lifecycle costing, mine maintenance applications help miners make the best use of their assets, lowering maintenance costs and improving mine productivity levels.

Monitor Maintenance and Repair

It takes a vast assortment of equipment to run a mining operation: trucks, tractors, conveyors, drills, cranes, machine tools, earth movers, blasting tools, crushing equipment, analysis equipment, feeding equipment, flow measurement systems, fuel systems, pumps, generators, welding equipment and the list goes on. An effective mine maintenance application helps you track each piece of equipment, and the costs associated with running, maintaining, and repairing them, including the ability to:

  • Configure full preventative plans and track ad-hoc equipment maintenance
  • Monitor useful life and equipment costs to date
  • Predict and schedule equipment maintenance based on usage patterns
  • Record and monitor meter values
  • Schedule maintenance around operations
  • Match employee skills to specific maintenance tasks
  • Manage warranties and third-party service contracts
  • Generate alerts to bring attention to assets working outside of their service contract
  • parameters
  • Monitor equipment location

Improve Budgeting and Planning

Planning and budgeting for equipment assets includes accounting for all aspects of the asset’s lifecycle and determining timely action steps regarding the maintenance, disposal, and deployment of the asset. An effective mine maintenance application helps mining companies develop a smart maintenance strategy that minimizes downtime and keeps assets running at full capacity, and will allow you to:

  • Track the asset’s financial performance, as well as the associated costs and revenues generated by the asset during its lifecycle
  • Allocate costs to particular business units or projects
  • Track equipment maintenance costs and compare to budget
  • Anticipate and plan for the retirement of older equipment and the purchase of new

Integration and Collaboration

The benefits a mining company realizes through the effective management of its capital equipment are multiplied when the mining maintenance system is integrated with a mining industry ERP solution. An integrated solution eliminates duplicate data entry, improves overall accuracy, promotes cross-department collaboration, and facilitates corporate reporting. Points of integration should include:

  • Integration with purchasing and inventory control streamlines the initial procurement of equipment and the ordering, receipt, and tracking of spare parts
  • Integration with general ledger and payables simplifies cost tracking and expense reporting

Gain Data and Analytics

It’s not enough for an application to capture data. Transforming that data into usable information drives a mining company’s competitive advantage through optimized equipment usage and lower maintenance costs. Armed with accurate data covering the cost of asset operation, you’re able to make informed decisions throughout the lifecycle of the equipment. An effective mining maintenance solution will uncover deep and practical insights, including:

  • Equipment costs by project and/or location
  • Include labour costs in calculations
  • Report on Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF)
  • Create service reports, including task analysis, and predictive parts requirements
  • Real-time visibility into asset operation across multiple locations
  • Calculate asset turnover ratio

Technology reaches to the bottom line

A mining maintenance system will help you accurately, effectively, and efficiently bring significant resources (and associated costs) under direct management. Optimizing capital equipment and asset management helps you minimize downtime and unexpected costs, improve asset utilization, and boost your asset turnover ratio — all of which directly contribute to your mining operation’s bottom line.

Miners continue to recognize the value technology brings to their operations. Over the next few posts, we’re going to look more closely at technology trends in the mining industry and how mining companies can make the most strategic decisions surrounding their IT spending. In the meantime, learn more about Caron Mining Solutions here, or by contacting us here.

Paul has been involved with Sage 300 software for almost 30 years. He brings a well-rounded perspective to business management software implementation projects. His depth of knowledge and expertise in business process analysis has benefited several clients.