Project management is like a game of chess, where every job requires you to update your strategy in real-time to meet the challenges of an ever-changing playing field. This is often accomplished while managing various elements including safety, procurement, cost, and risk—all of which must align for you to complete a project on schedule. However, while a construction project manager’s job is difficult enough, the role of a mining project manager goes several layers deeper.
Mining project management requires:
- Design and planning. Specifically creating a map that removes as much uncertainty about a project as possible.
- Budgeting. Pulling in all available information gleaned from the planning stage to create a first principal resource and productivity-based budget that allows for accurate management of the actual spend.
- Monitoring of actuals. Observing and reviewing every element of an ever-changing project including cost, daily progress and production, risk and change control.
- Actual cost vs. budget and forecasting. The only constant is change. An accurate, real-time budget will allow for reliable forecasting with far less guesswork.
- Decision reporting. Once all available information has been gathered into a single database, the right choice for every situation can be made with certainty.
With such a daunting array of challenges to address and vast amounts of information to process, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when managing a mining project. Fortunately, through ground-breaking innovations in how data is processed, we can now react and respond more effectively.
THE FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
The arrival and implementation of big data, artificial intelligence and cloud-based computing have brought with them a veritable flood of insights into every aspect of human behaviour.
The fourth industrial revolution—as it has come to be known—introduced amazing new tools to create a truly complete and real-time digital model for achieving project goals
Traditionally, the mining sector has been the slowest to buy into technological advancements but that looks set to change.
The utilisation of AI’s analytical power is now being coupled with terabytes of information collected by big data projects and systems, daily. This now allows companies to implement digital twin modelling—a virtual simulation that creates a carbon copy of a mine’s operations in the digital world. This simulation allows management to manipulate a vast number of variables to test theories over a given period and learn how they will affect the mine before implementing them in the real world. As one example, project managers can learn precisely how, where and with what tools an optimal amount of ore can be extracted for the minimum amount of risk.
Added to this, cloud-based estimation and engineering software—like CCS BuildSmart and Candy Cloud—have led to even greater leaps forward in the project management space. By providing real-time access to project information from anywhere, project managers are guaranteed a single source of truth across all of their projects.
Through seamless integration, CCS software links your estimating, project control, enterprise accounting and operational costing tools. In this way, critical information is shared in real-time and because these solutions are constantly being updated—you always have the right tool for the job and, you’re always one step ahead of the game.
In the end, one can never completely predict the future. But, with the right technology and tools, you can ensure that your strategies earn you the richest rewards, regardless of changes on the board.