Weather & Production Analytics for Performance Improvement & Better Planning

Mining and minerals processing are conducted “exposed to the elements”, often in areas of extreme weather conditions. Recent years have seen the development of commercial weather data and weather forecasting systems focused on mining. The benefits of these systems are clear and focus on safety and prediction of weather events such as lightning (affecting surface worker safety, blasting detonation and electrical equipment) and flooding. There are also clear cases for monitoring of barometric pressure, wind speed and direction affecting ventilation, dust and noise pollution. (Mielli, 2013)

Production systems planning and monitoring production, mass balances, energy consumption and logistics schedules are now also common place. While the effect of weather variables on production is sometimes clear in theory, there has not been an easy way to quantify these effects across different weather conditions or across sites. Knights and Liang (2011) give an example of a “bespoke” analysis that was carried out to correlate rainfall data with mobile fleet production performance across sites. This analysis was useful for benchmarking site performance and for planning. It was also complex to undertake and required specialized skills.

This paper presents a simpler approach to weather and production analytics that utilizes commercial weather services from “the cloud” and a standard mining operations management system. By automatically associating weather data with production and energy data, analysis can be carried out by normal users of the production management system. In future, results from the analysis can be applied to better planning in the logistics planning systems.
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