These days, the word “platform” seems to be a ubiquitous term, whether you want to watch a movie or connect with your friends, most likely you’ll have to use some type of platform.
Even in mining, there is a great deal of talk about platforms. With so many options in the market, how do you know which one is right for your mine? Let’s start at the beginning. Most of us understand that in general terms, a platform is any software used to host an application or service. But not all platforms are created equal. The definition is still very loose, and the devil is in the details.
The Problem To Be Solved
We are all accustomed to using applications for task-driven processes—building models, geostatistics, mine design, etc. Over the last 30 to 40 years, applications have been immensely progressive, improving our efficiency with faster and more detailed results. Unfortunately, these tools are isolated from one another, even if the same provider develops them. Technological advancements mean that an application developed by a company ten years ago may not be able to communicate directly with an application developed today. File structures may be different, data stores may be different, history may or may not be attached to any data, and so on. So, we are left to struggle with sharing and tracking ever-evolving data among multiple applications.
Never mind storing results in any retrievable way. And our ability to reconstruct results is limited because the data is not stored in perpetuity. We need a solution.
A Mining Specific Platform
Eclipse Mining Technologies is using decades of industry experience to take a new approach to a platform solution. A more holistic approach. We designed and developed a platform centered specifically on the mining industry. We started with the core component, the data hub/platform, ensuring that all the engines and the back end are built to be compatible with existing and future Eclipse applications, and are ready for full integration with 3rd party applications.
It is nearly impossible to retrofit a platform on to a collection of legacy applications. Any company currently providing applications in the mining industry would have to refocus all enhancement and maintenance efforts just to attempt to manage the variety of data and structures required to develop a single platform. There has been a great deal of discussion in the industry, and articles written on the subject, and certainly no lack of effort on the part of those software providers working with the mines. Ultimately, the task is just too cumbersome and onerous. Eclipse has invested the time, dollars, and brainpower to tackle the problem. The years required to develop this solution have passed quickly. The solution is elegant, vast, and uncompromising.
We began with the concept determined by input from our experience in the mining sector and input from many of our worldwide colleagues. It took a full year to collect the information necessary to solve the puzzle that defines a mining-specific platform. The dream of a mining platform takes many forms depending upon where within the mining process one considers. How do we provide for a variety of tasks, data types, etc. that are involved in mining? How do we amalgamate into a single format that can produce the results needed by the C level of any mining company? How do we track history? How do we preserve trackable data in perpetuity? And on, and on…
After asking and answering the multitude of questions that surface when contemplating a comprehensive platform for mining, we were ready to design. We needed an agnostic platform that would connect applications from any provider and a data hub to store the vast amounts of data that mining generates. We started by looking at existing database models, with an eye towards the goal of data storage and retrieval. We looked at unique identifiers for each piece of data for the ultimate collection of facts at the corporate level.
Our solution is a multi-model data hub that applies cutting edge database technologies specifically for mine data, which also provides for data history and context aggregation and bi-directional data flow. We are now into our third year, with a tested and functioning product set for release in the coming months. Industry experts who have evaluated our solution find it compelling and transformative for the industry. We started with the idea to create a mining-specific platform, and the result is a solution that fills in the gaps in mining processes, consolidates disparate data in one place for distribution throughout the pipeline. How does this solution apply to you? Well, you can access information when and how you need to. You can reconstruct an exercise with the original data. You can track the origins of the data you rely on for a ten-year mine plan. You can track deadlines, production goals, blending requirements—the possibilities are endless.
Best of all, the data has a history attached to it, the auditability scales up, and the collection of data and results at the corporate level is achievable. The tools of the future AI, ML are possible because the data is always available. With our solution, mines will OWN all their data. And that’s what it’s all about, because without access to ALL your data, how can you truly improve your mine’s efficiency?