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Fluctuating raw-material prices, high capital investments, long development times, the unique character of each area of deposits and the resulting uncertainty of the geological information they provide – these have always represented challenges for the mining industry. The depletion of older deposits means having to develop new sources of supply in difficult geological conditions, at deeper levels and in remote areas that are climatically and geographically difficult to access. Add to this the evolving manpower requirements and a growing demand for technical skills of the workforce. The future will raise questions both as regards raw material needs and, also to that effect, the nature of the outside influences that are set to affect the mining sector.
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With my best regards // Mit freundlichem Glückauf
Dipl.-Ing. Andreas-Peter Sitte
Chief Editor Mining Report Glückauf, Essen

ISSUE 04/2019

What is High Performance Mining? A Discussion

Fig. 2. Platform for exchanging and networking: International Conference on High Performance Mining. // Bild 2. Plattform für Austausch und Vernetzung: International Conference on High Performance Mining. Photo/Foto: RWTH Aachen (B. Spaeth)

Fluctuating commodity prices, high upfront investment costs, long development periods, the high variability due to the uniqueness of each deposit, and the imperfection and uncertainty of information about mineral reserves even after mining commences, have always been challenges for the mining industry. However, in addition to those inherent challenges, today’s new deposits have increasingly complex geological formations, are at greater depths or in climatically and/or geographically partly inaccessible and remote areas. With regard to socio-economic conditions, mining today is confronted with increased requirements. The technological transformation in mining also brings with it changing demands on the employees and an increased need for qualification. In this context of profound changes in the socio-economic context, available technology and the imperative of increasing productivity, it seems an immense task to define a clear course for the future considering that the future itself is uncertain.

Authors: Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Elisabeth Clausen, Aarti-Mona Sörensen M. A., Institute for Advanced Mining Technologies (AMT), RWTH Aachen University, Aachen/Germany

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High Performance Mining Today and Tomorrow – A Conversation with George Hemingway

George Hemingway leads the Innovation Practice for Stratalis, a New York-based growth strategy consultancy dedicated to helping companies to become future-focused and to develop the foresight, flexibility and focus to win in uncertain markets. Through his Seven-Lenses technique, he helps companies to outperform others by facing the future in a focused and guided way.
Aarti-Mona Sörensen is a scientific research assistant at the Institute for Advanced Mining Technologies at RWTH Aachen University. In 2018, she was a leading part in the organization and implementation of the first International Conference on High Performance Mining at RWTH in Germany with 175 professionals from over 20 different countries.

Authors: George Hemingway, Stratalis, New York/USA, Aarti-Mona Sörensen M. A., RWTH Aachen University, Aachen/Germany

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Improving Productivity Performance in Aitik: An Insight into the World’s most efficient Mine

Declining ore grades and increasing extraction costs have given a high priority to productivity in operational mines. However, improving productivity in an industry with decades long plans and budgets requires a certain level of agility. Boliden´s Aitik open pit copper mine in Northern Sweden has been through a long journey to reach the title of world’s most productive open pit copper mine. This article discusses the different factors contributing to the success of Aitik, from long-term strategic planning to incremental and short-term adjustments and from implementing and integrating new technologies to tackling “the human factor”.

Authors: Ali H. Beyglou, Boliden Mineral AB, Stockholm/Sweden and Luleå University of Technology, Luleå/Sweden, Aarti-Mona Sörensen M. A. and Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Elisabeth Clausen, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen/Germany, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Håkan Schunnesson, Luleå University of Technology, Luleå/Sweden

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Digitizing Raw Material Mining – End-to-End Integration into an IIoT Platform for the Analysis of Machine Data

Fig. 4. Visualization of fleet key figures in maps. // Bild 4. Visualisierung von Flottenkennzahlen in Karten. Source/Quelle: talpasolutions

Using machine data and related software to identify unproductive downtimes, recognize foreseeable faults and errors or initiate suitable preventive measures, the challenges in mining remain unchanged. Many of these tasks can be mastered with the use of digitalization. However, digitalization has many dimensions that need to be considered in order to implement a holistic and target-oriented solution. This applies above all to the IoT-platform, the platform of the Internet of Things, on which interconnected hardware is linked with appropriate analytics software for machine data.

Authors: Dr.-Ing. Michael Suciu und Dipl.-Ing. Sebastian Kowitz, talpasolutions GmbH, Essen/Germany

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Epiroc Control Tower – The Digital Mine in Action

Fig. 1. Epiroc Control Tower. // Bild 1. Control Tower von Epiroc. Photo/Foto: Epiroc

The recently by Epiroc developed Control Tower is a central data processing and automation unit. The Control Tower is much more than a showroom – it is part of Epiroc’s strategy to support customers in taking the right steps in terms of security, productivity and improvement. Epiroc’s High-Tech Control Tower allows remote-controlled and automated machines to be explored and controlled anywhere in the world. In addition, the control tower incorporates Epiroc information management solutions such as data processing via telematics or other integrated systems. Thus, the new Control Tower is a great opportunity to help customers digitize – by joining several cutting-edge technologies.

Authors: Dipl.-Ing. Joel Fuchs und Dipl.-Ing. Christel Füllenbach, Epiroc Deutschland GmbH, Essen/Germany

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Social Engineering for Coal Mine Closures – a World Bank Report, the International Research Deficit and Reflections from a German Perspective

Fig. 4. Main drivers of coal mine closures. // Bild 4. Haupttreiber für Stilllegungsprozesse im Kohlebergbau. Source/Quelle: Weltbank 2018

At the end of 2018, just before the Katowice Climate Change Conference, the World Bank published a special report entitled “Managing coal mine closure: achieving a just transition for all” (1). The stated aim of the report was to provide governments and regions confronted by extensive colliery closures, whether for reasons of climate policy or due to other factors, with practical assistance for the“social engineering” of such closure processes in order to prevent or at least minimise any associated economic distress and social tensions. As experience has shown that the large-scale closure of coal mines will have a significant and negative socio-economic impact on the employees and communities involved, the World Bank report states that a proactive, state-supported closure management initiative with regional and socio-political flanking measures is needed to achieve a socially fair transition for all concerned. These measures will be directed mainly, though not exclusively, at those developing and emerging countries that currently have an active coal mining industry (2). The World Bank will be basing its efforts uniquely on an international in-practice comparison of the coal sector and can draw on a rich …

Author: Dr. Kai van de Loo, Gesamtverband Steinkohle (GVSt), Essen, und Lehrbeauftragter Technische Hochschule Georg Agricola (THGA), Bochum

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The German Lignite Industry in 2018

Germany’s domestic lignite output decreased by 5.0 Mt, which equals 2.9 %, from 171.3 Mt to 166.3 Mt between 2017 and 2018. 2018’s extracted lignite had a net calorific value of 51.0 Mtce. 148.2 Mt or almost 90 % of that output were used in utility power plants supplying the general public. This translates into a decrease of 3.3 % compared to the previous year. 14.6 Mt were used in the factories of the lignite mining industry for the manufacture of solid products. 2.5 Mt were used to generate electricity in mine-mouth power plants. 0.9 Mt accounted for other sales of raw lignite and changes in stocks. Lignite’s contribution to Germany’s total gross electricity production amounted to 22.5 % in 2018.

Authors: Dipl.-Volkswirt Uwe Maaßen, Statistik der Kohlenwirtschaft e.V., Bergheim, und Dr. rer. pol. Hans-Wilhelm Schiffer, World Energy Council, London/UK

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