Newmont to minimise technology distractions

The Boddington site in Western Australia. Image: Newmont

Newmont chief technology officer Dean Gehring has warned that the introduction of new technologies can cause distractions on-site.

Gehring, speaking at IMARC 2020, said that mining companies needed to bring transparency to innovation to minimise distraction and maximise the benefits of new technologies.

For Newmont, the company has built a centralised framework for its technology projects, which includes the three stages of diagnose, design and deliver.

It helps to ensure that operators take into account the unique characteristics of orebodies, operator skill levels and reliable control systems.

“(Otherwise), you end up with a situation where the plant operator develops their own tricks and their own personal plant settings,” Gehring said.

“They often feel they’re optimising the plant performance, but in fact, many of those practices are overly conservative.”

According to Gehring, this is why having a standardised control system design benefits a technology project.

Newmont uses “the most talented subject matter exports” to develop a process control standard that maximises plant performance.

“We have the scale to deliver large projects. We are also small enough to get all the top functional and operational leaders in the same room so we can have discussions in aligning tech strategies,” Gehring said.

“At the end of the day, our objective is to safely and efficiently produce gold. There are many facets and complexities in doing this and I believe by having a strong but lenient and centralised technical services team is a key enabler to making this happen.”

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