How mining, metals, and minerals companies are winning from pit to port

Posted: December 19, 2023

In every industry around the globe, companies are working to design smarter, faster, more agile operations to increase efficiency and make sustainability a reality—and mining, metals, and minerals are no different. As AVEVA’s marketing manager for the mining, metals, and minerals team, I had the opportunity to attend AVEVA World in San Francisco to hear from customers like BHP, Rio Tinto, Vale, Quebec Iron Ore, Norsk Hydro, CEMEX, K+S Potash, Martin Marietta, Newmont and more to learn how they are innovating now to build a more efficient and sustainable future.

Minerals and metals are critical for the energy transition, and many companies are accelerating production to secure their slice of the growing demand. As they ramp up production, they’re finding new ways to use even greater volumes of data from across mine sites, uncovering new efficiencies, breaking down silos, and increasing collaboration. Here’s a quick snapshot of how our customers are continuing to push the mining, metals, and minerals industry forward.

ASARCO (American Smelting and Refining Company), the U.S.-based subsidiary of Grupo Mexico, is an integrated copper mining, smelting, and refining company that operates three mines, associated mills, and smelters in Arizona. With a 125-year heritage of innovation, the company is digitally transforming its operations and the way its employees work. Encoding tribal knowledge is key to collaboration, so the team standardized how it contextualizes data using AVEVA™ PI System™, which ultimately enabled the team to use AVEVA™ Predictive Analytics to understand asset behavior and predict failure. By taking a proactive approach to operations, ASARCO prevented four days of asset failure in its SAG Mill while mitigating two days’ worth of production loss at its Ball Mill.

future asset performance

Rio Tinto processes the earth’s mineral resources and is continually finding new and better ways to meet demand. By taking a global approach to engineering using the AVEVA portfolio of engineering solutions, the company is laying the groundwork for reliable and replicable project delivery. Across three separate presentations, including one delivered by industry partner, Accenture, Rio Tinto painted a picture of how the company is digitally transforming operations. To streamline the handover process between engineering and operations, Rio Tinto automated rules-based design and standardized designed assemblies—which also created a digital asset for operations. Not only that, the company standardized digital tools across 12 mines and four ports, using AVEVA™ Production Management, AVEVA PI System, and AVEVA™ Plant SCADA to find new ways to improve business processes, reduce manual work, and minimize delays.

Rio Tinto operations center control room

Vale is one of the world’s largest mining companies, and it’s committed to becoming a leader in sustainable mining. With a goal of pollution prevention and a net-zero carbon footprint, Vale digitally transformed its environmental control center to reach its goals. But its goals were lofty: The company is aiming to reduce water collection by 10% by 2030, improve the water quality of Brazil’s rivers, streams, and natural lakes, and implement a forest fire detection that protects fauna and flora, all while mitigating the risks associated with greenhouse gas emissions. From vehicle fuel to electricity to emulsion, the company uses AVEVA PI System to collect data from across its operation—and now teams have the insights they need in five minutes instead of seven days. With access to rapid insights, the team is making data-driven decisions, so they can do their part to reduce harmful emissions. 

Norsk Hydro is a leading aluminum and energy company that is committed to developing natural resources into products and solutions in innovative, efficient, and sustainable ways. Part of developing sustainable products is reaching 2050 emissions targets—and Norsk Hydro is well on its way. And its efforts are paying off. With operations in northern Brazil, including the Amazon region, the company has strict environmental control and monitoring standards, leading to new and innovative processes and products. In 2022, the company produced its first near-zero-emission aluminum. Thanks to streaming data collection and analysis, predictive maintenance, and a commitment to the environment, Norsk Hydro is making new waves in sustainability, all while reducing costs. For example, by acting on insights from the company’s Hydro Asset Monitoring Center, underpinned by AVEVA PI System and AVEVA Predictive Analytics to enable data collection, access, and analysis, the team has saved $4.7M in maintenance costs alone. 

These are just some of the mining, metals, and minerals companies around the world that are using AVEVA’s portfolio of digital tools to create a better future for the industry and for the planet. To do a deeper dive into what other industry leaders are doing, you can watch on-demand presentations from Quebec Iron Ore, Nutrien, and Albemarle. Or, even better, you can start planning to attend AVEVA World in 2024 to learn from innovative mining, metals, and minerals companies in real time.

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