Information Technology In Mining Industry. We are now living in the age of information. Information is the vital resource in any decision making process. Business survival in the 21 st century is dependent on the ability of business to manage their information, in the way they interact and in the way they react to changes. Information technology, as in other fields, can play a significant role in enhancing the productivity of mining industry. As Information Technology has advanced from mainframes to minicomputers to PCs to the World Wide web, Mining Industry is also absorbing state-of-art technology in its operations.The constantly increasing portfolio of computer applications in Mining industry includes analyzing and mapping exploration data, estimation of ore reserves, designing mines, planning production, controlling processes, maintaining equipment, managing human resources, supplies, inventories and all types of financial information. Tamralipi - A House Journal of Hindustan Copper Limited
Application of IT in Mining Industry. In Mining Industry, the main areas where Information technology has been successfully introduced are:
Exploration & Mine Planning.
Standard Mine planning software packages like Datamine, Surpac, GEMCOM etc are available for creation of a geological model from the exploration data and for mine optimization. The purpose of a Geological model is to accurately represent not only the grade, tonnage and grade distribution of the mineral deposit, but also its boundary and the internal structure based on which the engineers can plan for the future method of mining with full respect to the viability, feasibility and longevity of mining operations in totality. These software packages have modules for Bore hole data entry, Survey, Ore reserve Estimation, Ore body modeling, Pit design, Haul Road design, Pit optimization,Mine scheduling. They have strong graphic user interfaces and are user friendly.
Automatic Truck Dispatch System
Automatic Truck Dispatch System is a real time mine management system which continuously monitors the location and status of mining equipment and allocates the right truck at the right time to the right place. This system uses "State of the Art" Technology for automated data acquisition and communication. The location and movement of mining equipment is tracked with precision Global Positioning Satellite Technology. Field computer systems are installed on mining equipments with touch screen, user friendly, Graphical interface console, for easy interaction with operators. Mines have used this system to achieve different objectives. Some users have maximized production, whereas others have reduced the fleet needed to maintain the production quota. Many mines are also using this system for grade control with blending in order to achieve consistency in the feed to the process plant.
Production and Maintenance Management
Integrated Production and Maintenance Management system will help the mine management to get all relevant information online pertaining to equipment, operator, Production, Quality and time so that effective planning, monitoring and control can be exercised.
Inventory Management System Inventory Management System will facilitate users to get the latest and up to date status on Physical balance, Consumption pattern, Indent/order position and prepare indents using online real time data. It will also help material department in effectively planning and implementing Purchase and warehousing functions.Human Resource Management System. Human Resource Management System will facilitate a centralized database of all employees which will help in manpower planning, easier processing of employee benefits etc.
The system will facilitate the employees easy access to information like Rules and Regulations, Circulars, Salaries and wages, leave balances and other employee benefit schemes from their desktops.
Communication. The importance of communication within the mine as well as with outside world in this era of information need not be emphasized. The convergence of computers and telecommunications has revolutionized the whole arena of communication.Use of Intranet (Local area networks within the mine and Wide Area Networks to link with other mines and offices) brings all information to desktop of every individual for quick and effective decision making. Access to relevant information through extranet to customers, suppliers will reduce cycle time in procurement.
Usage Of Internet & Its Related Technologies.
Knowledge of international markets, competitors and developments is essential to maintain a vital Competitive edge in the global environment.The internet can be an important part of such information collecting and used constructively it can both promote the Indian mining industry to a wider global audience and at the same time open new channels of communication,promote an exchange of ideas and source important information.
Automation in Mining industry. Various degrees of automation starting from operation of the process equipment with PLC systems, operation of continuous mining equipment without operator and use of robotics in operation of equipment in dangerous areas are already being undertaken in some of the large mechanized mines, eventually leading to their autonomous operation. The driving force behind developing and applying these technologies is to lower the unit cost of production of the mine's final product.
Role of Mining Engineers in IT. In order to meet effective implementation of IT in mining industry, mining engineers should play a major role. A thorough knowledge of IT in its proper perspective is a pre-requisite to define and understand the requirements of IT for mine management. In addition to their traditional knowledge of mining and engineering disciplines, the future mining engineers and managers should have the broad range of skills in management and state-of-art information technology.