Integrated Operations Centres
by Saad Hameed
The mining industry has a widespread perception that Integrated Operations Centres (IOCs) are data centres with vast arrays of screens used by teams of data analysts providing support services to in-field operators.
The centre gathers information from data sources across the operation, analyzes it, and sends back actionable intel to the real decision-makers. This passive approach fails to generate the intended value because the IOC itself can’t make operational decisions and acts only in an advisory role to decision-makers in the field. As the saying goes, “they are not on the field, so what do they know?” The project is quickly abandoned if the IOC isn’t driving business value.
What does an effective and active IOC look like?
An effective and active IOC acts as a mining operation’s central ‘brain.’ It takes in data and information from each area of the operation, makes data-based decisions and executes actions that maximize production and optimize asset utilization across the value chain.
An effective IOC should encompass the following integration fundamentals:
- Adopting and Updating
This 360 approach to integration removes departmental silos and creates a collaborative platform that provides visibility on production drivers, transparency, and value.
Lack of collaboration, silo thinking, and competing motivations between value chain members can impact production and lower profitability. For example, If the value chain members are using independent systems, processes and information to plan and schedule activities, without considering upstream or downstream processes, the lack of communication and coordinated decision making can mean assets are underutilized or over-allocated.
People and equipment generate value through the effective use of their time. Taking an integrated approach to planning this time and making data-based decisions while considering all value chain members can create sustainable value.
Examples of how Integrated Operations create value:
- Integrated planning and operations control to increase productivity and reduce asset idle time (Load & Haul – Waiting times, Queue times, Hang Times, etc.)
- Ensuring downtime for assets are planned and scheduled collectively to ensure bottleneck management and maximum value chain output as opposed to individual output
- Effective management of inventory through supply chain integration with asset management planning and execution
- Effective management of auxiliary activities; site infrastructure maintenance, water management, roads, waste dumps, etc.
Outliers Mining Solutions Integrated Operations team works with our clients from concept to implementation to design the best fit IOC solution for their operations. We believe in
working with management to establish a corporate vision, realistic goals, and project objectives, as we develop the IOC from the ground up.
About the author:
Saad is a mining professional with over 16 years of industry experience. Saad joined Outliers Mining Solutions from ArcelorMittal Mines Canada, where he was the Director of Operations for the IROC team.