Equipment efficiency can help miners save billions in costs

18 October 2019 3 min. read
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Speaking to the Mining Journal, Accenture's Ann Burns has shed some light on the direction that Australian miners are likely to take in the near future particularly in terms of the Triple Zero framework. According to Burns, more targeted efforts on reducing waste could add billions in value for mining companies.

The Triple Zero framework is an aspirational guideline for mining companies in Australia, nudging them to strive for zero loss, zero harm and zero waste. The trio encapsulates seismic changes that are currently hitting the sector, be it in terms of technological disruption on increasingly stringent environment regulations.

Burns, who leads Accenture's Resources practice in Australia, describes Triple Zero as a “North Star” for the mining sector. For her, the initiative acts as an anchor of sorts that can bring some semblance of structure to the whirlwind of changes that is coming about as a result of Industry 4.0 and other developments. Working along this structure has benefits for mining companies themselves.

Australia is home to the largest mining companies in the world, and activity in the sector looks to be going in a steadily upward direction. An EY report from earlier this year revealed that merger & acquisition (M&A) activity in Australia’s mining sector has reached its highest point in half a decade this year.

Equipment efficiency can help miners save billions in costs

The sector is dynamic, and Accenture's Ann Burns believes that taking this dynamism in the right direction could add billions to mining operations. According to her, a change in perspective could help bring about some of the required changes. When it comes to zero waste, for instance, Burns elaborates on circular economics as a fitting way forward for the mining sector. 

“We really want people to stop seeing wastage as something to be identified and eliminated. We see that actually waste can be a valuable resource. When you apply concepts of circular economics, you start to think about waste in very different ways, in terms of innovation and collaboration,” she said

Examples from the mining sector include the idea of leasing equipment or resources on a project basis. For example, clean water that is not used up in a mining process can be returned and reused, while byproducts of the mining process can be sold to other sectors that have use for them.

Burns suggests that embracing these principles is a win-win situation for everyone. “For me the prize is really clear – our analysis shows a 1% to 2% increase in equipment efficiency improvement can result in a billion-dollar value case for a single mining operation, so why wouldn't you do it?” she concluded.