Rio Tinto has been on the leading edge of incorporating technology into the mining industry and continues to bet on the power of big data with the opening of a second center dedicated to big data produced by its global equipment fleet.
The opening of a new analytics centre in Pune, India, comes after the launch of the miner's data-focused "processing excellence centre" in Brisbane last year, and the two sites are expected to operate in concert, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
At the 2015 SME Annual Conference and Expo in Denver, CO, Dean Gehring, president and CEO, Rio Tinto Minerals, was one of panelists in the keynote address “The mine of the future: Forecasting opportunities and challenges for the global mining industry.” In his presentation he spoke about how big data would lead to transformational changes in the mining industry.
Using technologies adopted from the likes of NASA and Boeing, Rio Tinto has spent millions of dollars installing sensory equipment in almost every part of its equipment fleet, from trucks to concentrators to crushers and most things in-between.
The sensors are providing Rio Tinto with enormous amounts of data, and Rio hopes the new analytics center in India will be able to "predict and prevent" breakdowns and other problems, and will duly reduce downtime on the company's equipment fleet while also lowering maintenance costs.
Rio Tinto has previously stated that the Brisbane facility improves cash flow by up to $80 million per year by improving the quality of the copper concentrate produced at the Kennecott Mine in Utah and the Oyu Tolgoi Mine in Mongolia, while also improving the efficiency of the equipment there.
Rio's technology and innovation executive, Greg Lilleyman, said the investment in the center was designed to ensure Rio got value out of the data it was capturing.
"The center will help us predict the future through the use of advanced data analytics techniques to pinpoint with incredible accuracy the operating performance of our equipment," he said.
"Our aim is to run more efficient, smarter and safer mining operations and provide greater shareholder returns."
Rio had traditionally been seen as the mining industry's leader in technology and innovation. In 2008, the company launched its Mine of the Future program and it has continued to invest in the sector despite cutting back total spending across the company in recent years.
Recent board appointments, such as former CSIRO chief executive Megan Clark AC, illustrate the company's ongoing focus in the sector, with Clark previously advocating for miners to adapt to the era of big data and technological disruption.