Gold Fields deploying ABB digital technologies to improve mining operations in Western Australia

September 18, 2023

Global mining company Gold Fields has begun using a comprehensive digital platform from ABB to coordinate production scheduling and execution across its Granny Smith Mine in Western Australia.

Gold Fields has deployed the ABB Ability Operations Management System (OMS) at the mine 740 km northeast of Perth. The OMS is a contributing factor to Gold Field’s digital transformation of the Granny Smith operation, aiming to improve productivity and streamline data flow to enable timely decision making. Around 1.6 million metric tons of gold-bearing ore is extracted from the underground mine and treated at the site’s processing plant each year.

ABB’s OMS integrates short-interval control and closed-loop scheduling into the same digital platform, connecting mine planning and operations – including design, maintenance, workforce, equipment and services – in real time. It enables operators to plan production scheduling, automate activities and quickly react to disturbances that may impede production. The project delivery has been achieved with the active support of mining consultancy Enterprise Transformation Partners (ETP) in Australia.

Granny Smith’s workforce, plus all fixed and mobile equipment, will be connected to achieve new levels of production scheduling efficiency, from bench preparation to crusher, optimizing resource usage and implementing the production plan more effectively. ‘What-if’ scenario analysis and re-planning will help teams to take informed decisions, maximizing efficiency and financial opportunity for the operation.

“Gold Fields has enjoyed a solid, collaborative relationship with ABB globally, and now we are working hard to deliver a modern digitalized mine at Granny Smith, one that is more productive and sustainable,” said Rob Derries, Unit Manager, Innovation and Technology, Gold Fields Australia. “As a mine operator, we face a broad range of planning and operational challenges in hard-to-predict environments. We are committed to building on our people’s capability and experience by working with technology innovators to bring in the tools and systems to better manage this balance. It also allows our people to move into more highly skilled roles and tasks.”

“By providing ABB’s OMS solution, we will support the Gold Fields team with significant improvements to planning and productivity, moving the responsibility and reliance from individuals onto an efficient digitalised system for faster decision-making and higher productivity,” said Alan Teixeira, Product Business Line Manager – Mining & Digital Solutions – Australia, ABB.

ABB also partners with the University of Western Australia’s Energy & Resources Digital Interoperability Industry 4.0 TestLab, run by ETP, to advance Industry 4.0 open process automation standards.

Photo: Granny Smith Mine



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