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04 May 2017 - Industry News, Business Management by Alison Atkins

Opinion: We are entering an optimistic, data driven phase

Leaving this year’s PDAC 2017 conference in Totonto left me feeling the industry is at the beginning of a new, positive phase.

There seemed to be a new, cautious optimism amongst the attendees, fueled by forecasts of positive commodity price changes over the coming three years. SP Global forecasts only lead and iron ore will see drops in price over the next three years and these are minor, while all others are expected to rise.

The organising committee of the PDAC Convention also reported more people attending the event this year, with notable increases on the last two years.

acQuire at PDAC 2017

Innovation in digital systems the key

Mining and exploration over the last few years has seen an explosion of specialist point solutions in the digital space enabling miners and explorers to improve practice.

As more technologies come in to the market, companies face challenges to effectively consolidate and use all data sources for making informed decisions. In contrast to previous times, we now have data – and lots of it – and it means there’s a need for efficiencies in accessing and using multiple data sources.

There has been an explosion of complementary sensor technologies in resources and being able to connect them all and see them in a single view is vital. Some examples of new sensor technology that we are seeing gain popularity this year were featured by Reflex Now and Minalyze.

Involvement from startups is becoming more mainstream, with organised ‘hackathon’ events popping up all over the globe. These events, where young talent comes in to help solve industry challenges in innovative ways, are being encouraged through sponsorship. Integra Gold’s George Salamis, who sponsored the Disrupt Mining event parallel to PDAC 2017 said it is time we looked outside the industry to “Uberize the mining industry”. acQuire is an active supporter in this space, getting involved in mentoring and supporting a number of similar events around the world.

Connectivity is in

On our stand at PDAC 2017 we had talks from industry experts including our staff members. One of the most popular topics was the “Connected Mine” which showed how productivity gains of the future will be driven through greater interoperability between systems.

The explosion of data sources and the magnitude of data each company has now means there is growing opportunity cost and risk in not doing anything with it. There were many people at the conference who were interested in how connecting systems could help them make better decisions.

As I mentioned in a previous article, robust data management is the key to fending off risks. In Ernst & Young’s recent report on risks faced by the minerals and exploration industry, they cited cash optimisation as the key challenge for companies this year. At acQuire, we think better decisions based on information visibility is the best way to reduce inefficiencies.

PDAC: a global meeting point

There is nothing more powerful than having everyone in the room at once. We always enjoy attending PDAC because we can reconnect with our clients, industry partners and decision makers in our space. PDAC is one of the largest industry events globally, with decision makers across the industry attending.

acQuire has an active presence at PDAC, and we take the opportunity to engage with many organisations. There are always many great presentations, particularly in the technical program showcasing new trends in our industry.

Biggest challenge of the conference

At the conference it was clear that as companies look to do more with less they need to manage their assets better, particularly their data.

Big data leads to fragmented data and industry needs to find ways to consolidate and build value on top of it. One major challenge is that as companies look to control cash they reduce headcount, leading to the loss of valuable specialist knowledge about how their systems work.

acQuire is working to solve these challenges by continually improving the connectivity features in our GIM Suite software.

We see Geoscientific Information Management, or GIM, as crucial to the way companies increase efficiencies, get value from their data and ultimately make better decisions for their companies.

If you didn’t get to the acQuire booth at PDAC this year, you can catch all the highlights here.

About the Author
Alison Atkins

Alison is the Managing Director at acQuire. She is based in Perth, Western Australia and leads the sustainable business philosophy for the values-based company. Alison has been with acQuire for over 16 years, and has a background in geology working in exploration and mining in Australia and West Africa.

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