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SAP drives the digital mine of the future

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) specialist SAP is focused on supporting and driving the digital mine of the future.

At its annual meeting being held this week in South Africa, the SAP Advisory Council for Mining – an international group of key mining organisations, represented by their chief information officers – is meeting for two days of in-depth discussions on the processes and technologies that will support and drive the digital mine of the future.

Ecologist using digital tablet surveying surface coal mine site, elevated view --- Image by © Monty Rakusen/cultura/Corbis
Ecologist using digital tablet surveying surface coal mine site, Image by © Monty Rakusen/cultura/Corbis

Mining companies see digital technology as a key enabler in reinventing business processes that will support efficient operations and sustainable growth. They look to it to support excellence in safety, health, environment, risk and quality (SHERQ); mutually beneficial relationships with local and national communities and ultimately surpass stakeholder expectations.

A wide range of digital technology is being discussed, including the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, Big Data, enterprise mobility, autonomy, geo-sensing, analytics and 3D printing.

The meeting will see mining companies share examples of digital transformation projects that use SAP software and services, which are increasing productivity, increasing satisfaction of customers’ end users, enabling new business models and providing more ways to drive efficiency.

Global gold producer AngloGold Ashanti uses SAP SuccessFactors Learning and SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting Management solutions to satisfy its rigorous demands for agile global deployment.

“In a global enterprise such as ours, the ability to standardize the employee lifecycle across various geographies is imperative,” says AngloGold Ashanti IM Planning and Governance VP Pieter du Toit Ooshuizen.

“SAP SuccessFactors solutions enable us to not only manage compliance, ethics and process training in various locations and languages but also internationally to expedite the process of recruiting talent. In addition to the current benefits we are seeing, we will also be using SAP SuccessFactors solutions to optimize and deploy other existing functionality over the next four years,” he says.

Meanwhile, Cameco Corp., one of the world’s largest uranium producers, is actively working with IoT and Industry 4.0 concepts for production loss management. The company uses the SAP Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence application to address some key business issues with the integration of its ERP data and its control systems data.

“SAP solutions for the IoT are enabling us to solve some big challenges in the area of production loss management at Cameco,” says Cameco business technology services VP Mark Leach.

“Being able to develop human machine interfaces, transfer data more quickly to data historians and do more sophisticated reporting will help us to uncover process inefficiencies and help reduce the cost and risk of operations,” he notes.

Copper and gold producer PanAust needed a state-of-the-art business and technology platform in place to support process integration across the group while readying the company to fast-track the development of new mining projects and drive down overall costs.

The company deployed SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA software across finance, maintenance, procurement and human resources, including the SAP Fiori user experience. With the software, PanAust has exceeded its expectations thus far.

Benefits it achieved include:

  • Reduced shared services and corporate costs 5 percent year over year
  • Eliminated the need for 34 expatriate positions in maintenance, supply and management
  • Implemented SAP Fiori apps in purchasing and human resources with zero training

“SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA gives PanAust a robust and industry-leading platform that is being leveraged to onboard new businesses seamlessly and achieve substantial cost savings across all functional areas,” says PanAust group information systems manager Darren Hadfield, who adds that SAP Fiori increased user acceptance and satisfaction, reduced training costs and provides a powerful reporting and analytics platform.

Samancor Chrome, one of the world’s largest integrated producers of ferrochrome, which is used in different areas of the stainless steel smelting process, has purchased the SAP Business Planning and Consolidation application to help it focus on business agility in the digital economy.

“The application will enable improved access to critical integrated business information, thereby reducing cost, bettering forecasting, cash management and thus decreasing financial – and operational – risk because of a better view of the future. IT touches everything. Accurate information intelligence today will impact upon the business of tomorrow. But if you add innovation as a key ingredient, IT can shape the future of your business,” says Samancor Chrome chief information officer Cuan Kloppers.

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Chantelle Kotze
Chantelle Kotze is a Johannesburg-based media professional. She is a contributor at Mining Review Africa (Clarion Events - Africa) and has created content for the media brand over the past 6 years.