Why We Plan Ahead
It is not necessarily instinctual to think of disruptions during good times. For the most part, it becomes imperative when a major disruption occurs that changes the mine plans, operational characteristics, etc. We all understand the value of including risk planning as part of business operations. In fact, most operations – in and out of the mining industry – have a risk plan that they probably had to implement in recent months. Whether that plan was fresh and up-to-date or needed to be dusted off, we have all learned some lessons about what we are and are not prepared to do when an abrupt event occurs. But mining is a uniquely sophisticated business, that requires intricate and detailed planning and has a singular assortment of challenges.
Some Risks Are Unique to The Mining Industry
While all businesses should have a risk plan, the very nature of mining presents a unique set of problems and opportunities for consideration. Whether an operation is contained in one location or spread throughout the world, strategic plans impact physical activity, which then again impacts the strategic plan. The optimization of this continuing cycle is imperative to success.
Even when physical operations are forced to shut down, data analysis and other planning must continue in an effort to meet revenue projections, and to prepare for physical operations to resume.
In the event of a physical shut down, all existing plans become irrelevant. New plans are needed quickly. And the most significant risk (or opportunity) at this point, is the quality and timeliness of your data, and access to that data for employees working in remote locations.
How to Turn Risk into Opportunity
The ability to create new plans and multiple scenarios is imperative to surviving the event. And doing so accurately may provide an opportunity to emerge on the other side even stronger than before so that when physical operations resume, you can jump right into it without wasting time or resources.
To achieve this, you must turn your biggest risk into opportunity using high-quality data that is easily accessible with real-time updates. And SourceOne can make this happen for you.
As the first mine platform designed with multi-users in mind, SourceOne is made to host multiple remote users. It accommodates concurrent on and off-site users while also handling offline users with automated merges to a clean state. A geographically disparate team can work seamlessly together, transfer data and messages as part of a workflow, always be able to work with the latest data, and know the genesis of each data.
With all the existing mine plans rendered redundant, the mine planning engineers can start working on new mine plans with updated assumptions and requirements. The requirements may have changed, such as volume becoming an immediate priority, rather than profitability, to be able to supply the end-user. While doing this, the goal is also to not deviate too far from the strategic plan. SourceOne maintains the complete history of each project and data. Historical plans can be used to generate the differentials between the existing plans and the strategic plans. These can be weighed against the new goals, and a sub-optimal plan with smaller recovered metal may be considered as it doesn’t stray too far from the strategic plan.
With so many plans being made, the chances of errors magnify, as does the need to be able to audit the results with an internal or external auditor. SourceOne maintains a complete audit trail of the entire project, so every plan can be traced back to the assumptions that were used at each step. This speeds up the process to validate the suitability of the plan to be implemented on the field.
What This Means for Managers
Why do we need to de-risk the mine planning process? Mine planners must realize that for their corporate management, there is a big difference between risk and uncertainty. Risk is something that can be measured while uncertainty cannot. The difference lies in measurable information. A good Business Continuity Plan (BCP) for mine plans allows the enterprise to convert some of these inherent uncertainties into calculated risks, which then can be properly weighted by the management.
Mining personnel reading this article during the Covid-19 pandemic may think that this pandemic is an unprecedented event. Do we need to be prepared for such a unique occurrence? Yes, this preparedness allows mines to better manage the risk by being able to make mine planning a part of your BCP and ensuring that the mine is well prepared for any disruption, rare or not.
De-risking the mine planning process is one of the many ways SourceOne can help your organization become more resilient and be prepared for ordinary (and extraordinary) events.