At a time when mining operations around the globe are coming under increasing scrutiny from regulators and society for their environmental stewardship, Envirosuite is preparing to launch a new solution that will provide a step-change in environmental management.

A market leader in continuous environmental monitoring for many years, Envirosuite is putting the final touches on its latest solution – a new platform called EVS Omnis – with the new product set to be launched in the first half of 2022.

The Australian Mining Review recently caught up with Matt Scholl, Envirosuite’s Global Head, Mining & Industrial and Ryan Smyth, Managing Director & Mining Solution Provider (Stratium Group) to hear about the latest developments in Noise and Vibration Control and Monitoring and to receive an update on the Omnis development.

Ryan pointed out that Omnis is a platform that not will not only manage noise and vibration, but also provide state-of-the-art monitoring of air and water.

“It is a really powerful thing to have all of that on the one platform” he said.

“It’s more than just a monitoring solution. It now offers real time monitoring as well as predictive management of air quality impact.” he added.

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Ryan says Omnis is part of an Envirosuite product strategy that fits with the business approach of bringing together the company’s industry leading skills and knowledge to provide the best answer for its clients.

“For our customers, when you can have more solutions on one platform, then that makes life easier and highlights how technology has moved on.”

According, to Ryan the system is particularly easy to operate.

“It is provided as a software service platform. Once it is configured from the customer side there is no significant effort for them to run it, apart from integrating the information from the system into their decision making.”

As with all modern systems involved with the digitalisation of the mining industry, Omnis collates a significant amount of data.

“There is a lot of data, however, the system presents it in a way that it tells you when you need to know something and we do that with easy-to-understand indicators, or messages, that are sent through to the operators,” Ryan said.

“Typically, the operators will have a responding action which they take based on the information that was sent to them.

“The system does collect a lot of data, however, on the customer side, we try to keep it as simple as we can, so that they can just use the outputs to make their operational decision.

“Envirosuite is enabling different streams of data to be used together.  In the past, environmental monitoring was done mainly by periodic grab sampling. You really can’t learn a lot from overlaying two datasets of periodic measurements if the data points don’t line up, but when you have continuous streams of data, and you have the computing power to analyse that, you can discover efficiencies that perhaps you were not able to determine before.

“And any product that increases operational efficiencies for miners is extremely valuable. “

Highly Adaptable

Ryan says that the Envirosuite system can be introduced into a project at just about any stage.

“The Prefeasibility Study (PFS) phase is an obvious place to start introducing our system into planning for a mining operation.

“Aside from the operational efficiencies that may be unlocked by introducing the system from the very start, if you do have regulatory challenges, then typically the regulator welcomes the ability to capture data in real time, so it may help with obtaining approvals on a case-by-case basis.

“On the other hand, we also have a lot of mines in Western Australia that have been operating for a very long period of time with legacy systems that were perhaps set maybe 10 to 15 years ago. Those systems were fit for purpose for that point in time.

“However, sometimes those mines have increased their footprint as they have increased the output of their operations and now, very often, solutions that were designed 10 years ago for a particular asset, are not fit-for-purpose anymore.

“So, existing well-established operations will also benefit from Envirosuite’s Omnis system.  It is very complimentary with existing devices.  We can connect easily to existing devices.  It’s very modular in its design and that enables us to engage with the customers, wherever they are at in their operating cycle today.”

Envirosuite supports several existing Tier One customers in Western Australia, with the company being particularly dominant in Port Hedland, as well as supporting miners across commodities such as iron ore, minerals sands, coal and copper in multiple regions around the world.

“These customers are already using versions of Envirosuite’s solutions, and they are always looking for better ways to enhance operational efficiency.

“A lot of our product and our roadmap is built through interaction with our customers. We’ve been around for a long time, interacting with our customers in the industry, which influences the capabilities that we build into our solutions.

“Our typical contracts are anywhere from one to five years and that affords us that opportunity to be taking on board feedback throughout the contract about what we’re doing well, and what we could do better and how they can improve their operation.

“Omnis and its capabilities will help them to do that.”

The Digital Age

Matt says that after what some considered a slow start, the mining sector is now moving quickly to adapt and take advantage of new digital technologies.

“The Tier One miners, the major mining companies, are building teams around digitalisation now.

“They are rapidly responding to the challenge. They have assembled their own internal teams focused on digitalisation. They’re using the power of IoT to bring data from all aspects of their operations to centralised locations where the data is used to optimize plans and guide operations with data-driven decisions.

“Digital solutions are also enabling miners to enhance the safety of their workforce, for example, by monitoring things remotely, which means people can be removed from locations of higher risk to their health and safety.

“The evolution of digital models has also been enhanced by the power of computing, which means that customers can now actually model and assess operating scenarios routinely and make plans accordingly.  And that goes well beyond environmental modelling and managing those impacts.  I mean, whether it’s blast planning or production planning, you know, there’s a lot of simulations that are now incorporated into the decisions that are made across a mine site.

“Australian Mining is regarded world-wide as being very innovative, it’s had to be, because we have some of the highest labour costs on the planet and a strict regulatory environment and yet the world relies on us to supply the extensive range of minerals that modern life requires.  Envirosuite has operated as part of this sector for many years, introducing state-of-the-art technologies to support our customers.”

Value Adding

According to Matt, technology change is enabling miners to meet new challenges – including around Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG).

“ESG is hot right now, however, our solutions have been assisting our customers in this area for years.

“Envirosuite helps to operationalise ESG principles. What that means is if you make a commitment to ESG, you need to be able to assess and manage the factors that drive your ESG performance.

“Well, the first thing that you need is data – and it’s even better if you have the data coming in continuously so that you can analyse and react to what it is telling you.

“And then if you have foresight to predict what’s going to happen, you’re in an even better position. That is what Envirosuite enables a company to do. So, once you’ve made that commitment, you can rest assured that if you’ve got this system, then you’re going to be managing it the right way.”

Both men agreed that while the mining sector is adapting to the digital age, there are still issues that it is not keeping up with.

“There is the age-old problem of companies not reacting to a requirement for a risk management solution. People often don’t recognise the value of the risk until it’s already occurred and that maybe too late.

“This type of solution could really help them manage and get ahead of those risk issues.”

One of the big changes that Envirosuite has noted is the growing impact that the pressure from social groups is having on mining around the world.

“A social licence to operate is equally important as a regulatory license. So one of the real benefits of Envirosuite is balancing or optimising productivity against potential impacts on the community, you know, and getting that right,” Matt suggests.

“As an example, traditionally, you might do an impact assessment, and set a limit and the company will look to stay below the limit, so they set that as a fixed limit.

“In reality, you could probably operate well above that limit most of the time and not have a problem.  So essentially, they’re leaving money on the table.

“We enable them to operate with an adaptive management plan, where our solutions provide them with information so that they can have confidence to operate up to a higher limit on a good day, but it might predict that tomorrow or in two days’ time there is a high-risk day.

“So, that’s when you need to take measures to manage your impact. That’s when you need to either change your operating plan or bring in additional controls, or whatever the solution is, but let’s not curtail production on a good day.

“Our solutions use data such as environmental and weather monitoring.  There are known weather conditions that may be high risk to the local community, and they might be specific to a site, so we can configure our solution to monitor the risks that are specific to that site and provide the customer with the data they need in real-time to make the right risk level decision.

“Combining operational data with environmental data helps you have a whole-system view of the operation. It supports rapid responses to changing conditions and even enables planning to prevent problems and improve efficiencies across the operation.

“And that is what we all want.”

 

SOURCE

Envirosuite

T: 1300 987 009

E: investors@envirosuite.com

W: https://envirosuite.com

 

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