In a challenging market, the digital transformation of mining companies has become a business imperative—leveraging technology to improve processes aligned to value.

A combination of market volatility, increased cost base and changing global demand is driving a seismic shift in the mining industry. In response, mining companies should shift their strategies and adopt new business and operating models faster than ever before. To seize the opportunity, miners are embracing digital tools and capabilities, including cloud-enabled mobility, big data-powered analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT).


But how do mining operations take advantage of these emerging technologies? How can digital transformation help mining companies to keep pace with other industries?

Accenture’s vision for Digital Transformation in Mining is based on five key pillars: Visualization and Alerts, Analytics and Dynamic Scheduling, Digital Twin, Integrated Automation and Cognitive Network.

Explore the mine of the future:

The Mine Of The Future

Visualization and Alerts

Even in the early stages of their digital transformation journey, mining companies can increase productivity, reduce costs and improve production and safety quickly through the visualization of data across the entire value chain. By putting the right information in employees’ hands, they can make better decisions across an integrated production chain.

The Connected Mine

Providing the foundation for digital transformation, Accenture’s Connected Mine solution—enabled by cloud and Internet of Things technology—consolidates and enables visualization of data from mine to market. Now mining operation managers, supervisors, operators and head office can have clear, real-time visibility into their entire production chain. Customized alerts keep employees informed with pertinent information. Users are empowered to make more timely process changes based on better data.


“Right information in right time and place, to make better decisions”

Analytics and Dynamic Scheduling

Analytics and machine learning algorithms are helping mining companies to achieve strategic business insights from their data. By feeding these algorithms with real-time data and analyzing historical data, miners can derive future insights into performance, health and mineral characteristics. Combining this information with a dynamic scheduling solution makes it feasible to proactively:

  • Control mineral characteristics through strategies such as drill and blast enhancement and improved blending to help meet required output.

  • Schedule dynamically across whole mine operations based upon predictive alerts.

  • Enhance asset health through predictive assets maintenance.

  • Improve safety through fatigue monitoring or people and asset tracking.


“Unleashing the power of intelligence from data”

Digital Twin

Aligning strategic and real-time plans and schedules has long been a challenge for mining companies, especially when different methodologies for people, processes and technologies are used. The concept of the Digital Twin offers an immersive virtual environment that merges short-, medium- and long-term planning horizons to help miners make value-driven decisions across a range of operations—from boardroom to mine site:

  • Virtual “what if” scenario planning makes it possible to test new process methodologies such as crushing and conveying, and to better determine appropriate levels of spend on new capital and operational projects.

  • Virtual and augmented reality environments can perfectly mimic physical mining locations, giving employees immersive training and development experiences.

  • Simulations enable deeper insights into equipment assets, making it possible to predict and prevent failures to achieve greater performance.

“Virtual environments improving real-world decision making”

Integrated Automation

The automated mine is just the beginning. Integrating automation across the value chain can enable mining companies to solve a variety of critical business issues—even faster and more intelligently. The first step is to develop analytic models based on real data. These models produce reliable results that miners can use to validate and automate decisions in the next process. Through a “virtual handshake,” information from one process is automatically transferred to the next, fanning out to fine-tune processes based upon the earlier automated decision-making. Mining companies can then integrate these decisions into the Digital Twin to validate performance increases across the value chain.

For example, Accenture has helped Vale develop a set of functionalities to fully automate and manage yard processes at the port. The includes the complete automation of yard machines, and all yard operations including collision avoidance, 3D yard mapping, belt conveyor optimization, autonomous reclaiming, autonomous stacking, yard production analytics etc. This has resulted in a 10 percent throughput increase.

“Virtual handshake improves performance across processes”

Cognitive Network

Cognitive Network is the next generation of technology being deployed across industries around the globe. The ability for machines to think and act like humans through the analysis of unstructured data will drive true transformation across the mining value chain. The use of artificial intelligence will provide a way for people to interact with technology and create an environment that is self-improving, self-learning, self-healing and self-controlling. In other industries, call centers are already using cognitive networks to answer standard questions from consumers and journalism is being transformed through articles written by cognitive machines.

The barrier to digital transformation is no longer technology but the organizations ability to adapt to an increasingly advanced and changing environment. In mining operations, technology is arguably one of the biggest enablers for people to change processes to drive real value.

“Embedding autonomous operations into the digital mine”

Why Accenture

Accenture is a truly digital company with an excellent combination of technology, industry expertise and vision to help drive the transformation agenda. Our experience in productivity and optimization, as well are our innovative as-a-service and consumption-based models are helping us accelerate our client’s digital journey. We offer the right ecosystem of allies, supported by 130,000 off-shore resources to help turn ideas into action, quickly enabling our mining clients to leap frog their competitors and outperform against market conditions.

About the Author

George Long

Digital Mining Lead

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George Long is a senior manager from Accenture’s Asset and Operations Services group focused on digital transformation in mining. George leverages his experience in mining and digital application consulting to bring digital mining to life. He helps clients optimize their operations through the mining value chain—from "mine to market" and "sensor to boardroom."

George holds a degree in Geology & Geophysics from the University of Durham, UK.