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15 Sep 2017 - Company & Industry News by Neil Quin

Calculating the ROI of your geological data technology

Getting approval for a technology expenditure often comes down to an issue of want and need. During boom times, no one is left wanting. During a downturn, it becomes harder to convince management to spend money. A recent guest on the GIM Channel podcast has a great formula for helping mining companies understand the value of geoscientific data.

Roy Irvine from the EMMM Group is concerned all levels of management, including the board, don’t recognise the value of mining data as well as they should. He points to the fact that geological data is almost always managed by geologists, where other disciplines like HR and supply chain leave the data management to IT experts. This often leaves geotechs without the proper support and that’s when problems set in.

acQuire return on investment blog

Step one: Calculate the value of your data

Roy has a solution to that problem. He has a nifty way to estimate the value of a geological database to the company. This is what he advised when speaking on the GIM Channel podcast about understanding the value of geological data.

Take how many metres of drill samples in your database and multiply it by the current drilling cost. Then double the cost because that takes into account the amount of effort of the people who worked on it.

You come up with some very big numbers,” Roy said.

In the tens, well, most of them are at least fifty million dollars; some of them are three or four hundred million dollars. Suddenly when people realise that, their eyes open.”

I say if you lose the database, that’s what you really lose. Because in a lot of cases you can’t get back to the places where you sampled. You’ve either mined them out or you’ve given up the lease area.

Roy wants everyone to start looking after their geological data assets and would love to see geological databases listed as a financial asset on a mine financial statement. When you start expressing things to your management in ROI terms, Roy says things become very simple and it removes the debate about why you should have the latest technology to manage your geological data.

Step two: Calculate time savings

But understanding the value of your data is the first part of calculating a return. The next thing to address is how much time it takes for your staff to manage the data when it’s logged manually in spreadsheets. In other words, Roy counsels miners to figure out how much time you’ll save if you have the right tools.

The senior geologist in the team literally is saving one to two hours a week, and the junior geologists are saving just a handful of hours a week. The numbers really are amazing when you look at them like that,” says Roy.

One of the problems many geologists have, according to Roy, is a lack of business training.

“I was actually lucky to do a one-year MBA, so I understood ROI’s.”

“When you start expressing things in those terms, things become very simple and there’s no argument about why you should have the latest technology to manage your geological data.”

If you haven’t listened to Roy’s interview on the GIM Channel podcast, I encourage you to spend 20 minutes to hear his full interview. It offers fascinating insight on the business end of GIM.

Where to find help

Convincing your management team about the value of GIM technology starts with helping them understand the value of the data and also the time being spent managing that data. Putting things in business terms is an essential first step to managing your data assets as effectively as possible.

The GIM Solution by acQuire provides you with the big picture of your geoscientific data. It combines technology, processes and people to help you manage your geoscientific data across your entire enterprise. Give us a call today to find out more.

About the Author
Neil Quin

Neil Quin is the Global Manager for Business Development at acQuire. He has over 9 years’ experience in Mining and Exploration technologies and leads acQuire’s business development team delivering high quality GIM solutions for the natural resources industry.

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