Roy Hill: A digital mining transformation & digital strategy success story

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By: Rachel K. Carson, MarCom for Process Industries

Does your mine fall under the list of mines struggling with today’s industry pressures?  There are way too many mining operations scattered around the world that are not even close to realizing their maximum sustainable throughput. In today’s day and age, digitalization in mining is no longer a choice but an imperative. Mines must seek assistance from trusted specialists in energy management and automation in order to stay above the wake of today’s industry pressures, and move faster and more efficiently than ever before.

The mine that achieved success through digital implementation…

Roy Hill, Australia, implemented a mining industry software solution to consolidate their end-to-end operational visibility and optimize their mining value chain. The mine is a greenfield iron ore mine. It also has a mine process plant in the Pilbara Region, a heavy haul railway system from mine-to-port, new port facilities in Port Hedland, and a  Remote Operations Center (ROC) in Perth. Each of these infrastructure components were designed to meet its capacity of 55 million tons per annum (Mtpa) of iron ore. However like many other mines, Roy Hill struggled to produce these numbers without hitting roadblocks or losing profitability.

Doug Warren, VP of Software Industry Solutions at Schneider Electric says that Roy Hill was a prime candidate for a successful application of digital mining software solutions. What has resulted from Roy Hill’s digital applications is an organization free of bureaucracy, where efficiency is readily possible through streamlined processes that can drive high performance, fit for purpose outcomes. Most leading mining companies have historically evolved with organizational silos, usually between mines, processing facilities and logistics. In the age of increasing automation, data, and digitalization, these silos often prevent end-to-end visibility and optimization opportunities to realize resource to market potential. Roy Hill is empowered by operations to monitor and control the entire mining  value chain, from mine to the port, all from a remote location. The solution automates, streamlines demand chain planning, inventory tracking, quality management, and capacity simulation, among other capabilities.

The solutions for achievement…

Roy Hill implemented strong industrial software offering tailored for the mining industry, which included the following specific solutions:

  • Demand Chain Planning and Scheduling
  • Inventory Tracking & Quality Management (ITQM)
  • Delay Accounting (DA)
  • Capacity Simulation Model (Pre-CAPEX Analysis)

The DCPS solution allows for optimization of Roy Hill’s end-to-end demand chain from the pit to the port across different time horizons, from long term planning down to weekly scheduling. This full visibility is then linked into real-time inventory and quality information through its ITQM solution to close the loop between actuals and the schedule (conformance to schedule), and between actuals and the plan (conformance to plan).

DA provides key financial insights into production slowdowns and outages. While this may seem rudimentary compared to a typical manufacturing scenario, it is very rare in the mining industry to see these results on a shift by shift basis, as it is often only reconciled monthly. Roy Hill is using this digital process to drive better decisions on a timely basis – a vision that was completely synchronized before the first shovel went into the ground.

How and why the ROC brings all operations together…

Through its efforts of proper utilization and application, Roy Hill has been able to avoid industry pitfalls.  The final piece to Roy Hill’s cumulative success  however, is that all processes and technologies are brought together in their state-of-the-art ROC in Perth. In one room the following is achieved…

  1. Real time execution from scheduling to planning, etc.
  2. Mine controls
  3. Processing plant controls
  4. Rail & port
  5. All aspects of operations

Above, all of which are all entirely monitored and controlled at 1,300 km away from the mine site. With all of this expertise in the same room, Roy Hill can dramatically improve opportunities to collaborate, de-risk decisions and place greater focus on business improvements, all with a view of their entire business.

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