Mining software advances key, say BHP leaders

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BHP Iron Ore's Quan Mai and Luis Talavera speak on the Micromine webinar
‘Now we have … what we call end-to-end synergy between our planning horizons’

Traditional mining software tends to be the poor cousin, or the forgotten relative, when talk turns to mining’s digital revolution. However, it has undergone critical changes in the past five years, BHP Iron Ore technical leaders said on a mining technology webcast.

Quan Mai, principal engineer production scheduling, and Luis Andre Talavera, superintendent mine planning integration, with the major miner’s iron ore business, said on this week’s Micromine Momentum webcast significant advances in operational planning and scheduling tools had created a platform for big-ticket integration and optimisation programs.

The event heard BHP is among more than 800 Micromine customers worldwide. The 36-year-old mining tech business is being acquired by US-based AspenTech for US$623 million.

“That [five years] wasn’t that long ago,” Mai said.

“From a planning perspective, the processes we had were very manual. There were a lot of spreadsheets involved. We didn’t even model a whole network within our [main planning] package. We had to implement that data in spreadsheets based on historical averages.

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