Cloud-based mine optimization

By Kate Sheridan

Courtesy of GE
One of Lonmin’s platinum mines had a lot of inefficiencies at its smelter. Bottlenecks led to wasted time and some platinum lost in the smelting process, and the process of drying the concentrate was hit-or-miss. To increase throughput and better optimize their processes, the operators asked GE’s Digital Mine team to examine their process sheet. When GE was done, the mine had reduced scrap rates and identified mechanical issues, increasing the smelter throughput by 10 per cent and the overall recovery rates by 1.5 per cent. The Digital Mine can collect data from equipment on-site, either by using a mine’s existing equipment sensors or GE’s own, and send it to remote monitoring centres through the cloud. GE’s subject matter experts can then analyze it and make recommendations as well as predict and detect equipment failures. (Lonmin is monitoring the fans and blowers in their smelter, for example.) “What’s unique is that we offer solutions that can work with any piece of equipment,” said Kevin Shikoluk, GE’s global marketing leader for the Digital Mine. The company unveiled the cloud-based system at MINExpo in September.

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