Digital Mining: Industry 4.0 Technologies in the Mining Industry

03 June 2019
Digital Mining: Industry 4.0 Technologies in the Mining Industry

Polar IT

Major players in the Russian mining market are gradually increasing the number of technological projects by digitizing their facilities.

For example, Norilsk Nickel is currently modernizing its IT infrastructure in order to create a solid foundation for digital projects. The company intends to update its data processing centers (data centers).

For example, a unified industrial system for production control and management is being implemented at two Norilsk Nickel facilities: Polar Division and Kolskaya Mining and Metallurgical Company. After the update, the capacity of IT equipment is expected to reach 275kW.

Updated data centers will provide a solid foundation for Norilsk Nickel digitization / Photo courtesy of nornickel.ru


"Data center updates allow for increasing error tolerance and capacity and achieving the desired level of secure data storage and processing. The total cost of updating the engineering infrastructure of Norilsk Nickel data centers constitutes over RUB 450mln," according to company information.


Moreover, Norilsk Nickel built two new data centers, their potential capacity being 90kW, from the ground up in the fall of 2018.

A new data center will be constructed in Norilsk Nickel's Moscow headquarters by the end of 2020. The center will become a core infrastructure element. It will incorporate the most critical corporate systems (e.g. SAP ERP) and ensure backup of vital systems which secure business processes.

Operational Changes

Digitization streamlines manufacturing process control at RCC facilities / Photo courtesy of rmk-group.ru

The Russian Copper Company (RCC) applies digitization in production processes which incorporate a large number of expeditious calculations, routine operations, online monitoring of technological parameters, etc.

For example, 2019 saw the launch of manufacturing process management and monitoring systems at the Mikheevskiy Processing Plant. IT platforms provide operators with the opportunity to track operational parameters of all units at a milling facility ranging from gyratory crusher mounted at a mine to reclaim water pump.


"RCC operators can quickly tweak the process. In order to achieve that, we equipped our facility with 36 local systems which control over 3,000 sensors, while approximately 1,200 actuators ensure equipment management,"

Sergei Shuvalov, RCC Vice-President for IT, claimed.


The company also implemented Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) at six facilities. The system provides RCC personnel with an opportunity to monitor the stock of necessary components, perform procurement planning, and automatically send purchase order requests, which allows for inventory optimization, precise budgeting and repairs planning, and improved decision speed.

Currently, 80% of all RCC processes are automated.

Pit Sensors

Polymetal is gradually automating its underground processes / Photo courtesy of polymetalinternational.com

Polymetal is gradually digitizing and automating operating procedures at its facilities. For example, company affiliate Magadan Silver decided to implement a control system for its underground mining operations. In the end of winter, an IT system developed by VIST Group (part of Zyfra Group) was launched in the pilot mode at Lunnoye Deposit located in the Magadan Region.


"The software was designed for the pilot site taking into account the specifics of underground mining and allowed for automated compilation of unified manufacturing reports at Magadan Silver sites. The system linked two underground dump trucks and a load haul dumper operating within a general cycle," VIST Group explained.


Siberian Coal Energy Company (SUEK) serves as another example of process digitization in the mining industry. SUEK's Tugnuisky Open Pit in Buryatia boasts an automated and robotized well drilling system. The project was launched in the spring of 2019.


"Thanks to its sensors and specially designed algorithms, Epiroc Pit Viper 271 drilling machine will independently perform the majority of operations that usually require manual control on the part of an operator stationed in the cabin," VIST Group shared.


Special algorithms allow for independent operations of a drilling machine in an open pit / Photo courtesy of epiroc.com

An operator is supposed to ensure remote control of machine operations and take over when required to perform non-routine tasks. VIST Group experts intend to "train" the machine to assemble and disassemble the drill, perform real-time self-diagnostics, etc. The equipment will use satellite navigation and scan the surroundings to ensure its autonomous movement around the site.

НNew manufacturing solutions and cutting-edge developments in automation and robotization will be presented at INNOPROM-2019.

The Republic of Turkey will serve as the Partner Country of Tenth Anniversary INNOPROM. Digital Manufacturing: Integrated Solutions is the main theme of the exhibition and its business program. We invite your participation in INNOPROM-2019, which will be held on July 8-11.

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