A South African colliery has partnered with MinLog in a strategic drive to improve information management for guiding operational decisions.

The colliery sends its entire yield of underground coal to the nearby power station. Since 2008, it has partnered with MinLog in a strategic drive to improve information management. A predominantly manual data capture system was limited in application and not aligned with best practice. Implementing MineSuite has brought structure and improved understanding of what data is available, and how and when measurements are recorded.

A strong partnership with the operation has allowed MinLog to develop a deep understanding of current and future requirements.

The initial requirement was to capture and formalise production and engineering data for continuous miners, section conveyors, feeder breakers, trunk conveyors and surface conveyors. Production and engineering measuring points included production volume and material movement, as well as time accounting and process performance from the continuous miners and conveyors.

MineSuite also provided Surface Control Room operators with tools to capture and adjust planned and unplanned equipment stoppages.

As confidence in MinLog and MineSuite increased, additional data was brought into the system. This included data from the underground diesel fleet, comprising auxiliary equipment such as tractors, graders and LDVs. Central Control Room operators manually entered unplanned stoppages and equipment downtime into MineSuite.

The new approach made it possible to replace legacy spreadsheet monthly maintenance reports.

The system also handles the need to issue work permits and work permissions, and capture environmental health and safety data. This includes underground conditions, road surface conditions and lighting and ventilation in some sections. MinLog customised MineSuite to address this.

A need for a structured data management environment was met with a range of MineSuite reports aligning key performance indicators for supervisors, middle management and senior management to streamline operational decision making.

The structured data management environment and confidence in MineSuite reporting led to a request for a data analysis environment. This data cube now enables identification of trends that may require further investigation, and opportunities for improvement.

In 2016, in the final stages of establishing an open-pit, expanding the MineSuite offering was a natural progression. MinLog proceeded to scope, design, configure and implement the additional requirement with a dedicated set of Management Information Reports.

Recently, the colliery became the first beta site in southern Africa for the latest MinLog MineSuite application server. In a radical departure from the traditional ‘data warehousing’ approach, the application server provides a platform that will service the site from a big data perspective for the decade ahead.

It provides for a service bus messaging layer, full tractability on the sequence, timing and versioning of events, lossless data retention in a data lake, replaying of all events and seamless routing of information between internal and external applications.

The colliery uses MineSuite as the only reliable data source offering one version of the truth, streamlining decision making and reducing effort.