RPMGlobal has been working with miners around the globe to bridge the gap between operational planning and customer demand, and has taken this to a new level in the latest upgrade to its advanced mine scheduling software—XECUTE.
XECUTE now has a Demand Chain Optimiser (DCO) module that optimises the flow of material required to satisfy customer orders all the way back to the mine for bulk commodity miners. DCO removes many of the value chain challenges that can arise for miners with an integrated supply chain, such as coal operations or iron ore operations in the Pilbara.
XECUTE is RPMGlobal’s short-term scheduling solution that enables miners to maximise value through intelligent integration by connecting the mine plan to other departments systems.
RPMGlobal Chief Executive Officer Richard Mathews said the latest release of XECUTE was focused on bridging the gap between what the customer orders, and what the mine produces.
“Mining companies understand the risks of not having an optimised value chain in place, with bottlenecks and constraints that limit shipped throughput causing significant problems for both the miner and the customer,” he said.
RPMGlobal worked closely with a major Pilbara iron ore producer to develop the DCO module. There was significant time spent refining the algorithms to ensure XECUTE fulfilled each customer’s order by blending product from many stockpiles.
The unique DCO functionality enables XECUTE users to define a list of specific product or cargo builds, the qualities and quantities required and the date by which the shipment must be completed. DCO’s optimisation algorithms then allow the quality of each build to converge to the target in time for completion, avoiding off-specification penalties and demurrage costs.
The algorithms allow out-of-specification material to be blended to the required grade, increasing the quantity of saleable product available and maximising the NPV of the mining and supply chain operations.
By automating a process that was previously iterative and time consuming, mine planners see the downstream impact of changes to mining or processing and can react quickly to changing berthing schedules or unplanned events.
“In order to ensure continuity of operations in changing market conditions, operations need to invest in integrated systems and processes that maximise planning efficiency and satisfy customer orders which is exactly what XECUTE achieves,” Mathews said.
The release of DCO coincides with analysis by consulting firm McKinsey & Company* highlighting the importance of an integrated, pit-to-port mining value chain in unlocking greater operational performance.
RPMGlobal has also made improvements to the grade control capabilities within XECUTE by integrating with an operations existing grade control process to allow rapid inclusion of grade control shapes and qualities. This ensures that planners are using the most accurate information to plan.
Planners have the option to use the grade control shapes directly as mining areas, but also have the flexibility to define mining areas independently to take multiple grade control shapes in the one task or include areas that do not yet include grade control information.
“Typical grade control processes force planners to use only the shapes that have already been defined, but don’t necessarily allow the flexibility to dig areas that don’t have those grade control shapes, and that’s what we’re doing in the latest release of XECUTE,” Mr Mathews added.
“Early feedback from clients has been positive as no other tool on the market provides the same level of flexibility and sophistication when it comes to optimising the customer demand chain.”
* The mine-to-market value chain: A hidden gem, McKinsey & Company