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A senior executive with one of the world’s biggest uranium producers has echoed a warning about miners that don’t embrace automation being left behind by lower-cost competitors with his frank verdict on the transformational impact of big data intelligence and analytics.


Mark Leach, vice president of the business technology services group at Canada-based Cameco Corporation, said during a Mining Journal Mining Big Data webinar the power of data used to identify and manage operational improvements, productivity and efficiency gains, significant cost reductions, and other performance benefits, was starting to be harnessed by “visionary” mining organisations.


“I think if companies don’t start to more seriously look at their data they will be left behind,” Leach said. “We’re seeing a lot of success in data analysis in all kinds of industries, and it should be no different in mining.


“This is about improving your asset utilisation, it’s about improving your labour productivity, [and] it’s about improving the utilisation of your capital. And if you’re not analysing your processes and if you’re not analysing your data related to those things, how can you improve those processes?

“That’s one of the reasons we’ve embarked on an operational excellence drive; one of the reasons we’re focusing so heavily on reliability centred maintenance as well. Both of those things are driven by data. You have to have good data to identify the improvements you need to make


“And those companies that make that leap and can unearth those new insights are the ones who are going to be winners. And not necessarily put your competitors out of business, but when we’re seeing lower grades of ore, rising costs of production, and more environmental activism, we just need to get better in all those different areas simultaneously, and it’s not easy but the one way to do it is through data analysis.

“We’re under a lot of pressure today, the markets are down, resource prices are down … but this is actually a great time to spend the money.”



Leach was joined on the webinar broadcast by SAP director for mining and metals Georg Gradl, and  global lead for mining Ruediger Schroedter.


To listen to the full webcast, click here


Read more from the story online here: Uranium miner joins Big Data revolution - Mining Journal