Entries for 'mining'

In less than a decade the price of iron ore has risen tenfold, with China’s economic boom leading the increase in global demand.  However, last week iron ore prices hit their lowest level since November 2009; the commodity crashed 4.6%, closing at $94 from a 2012 peak of $149.

With several recent reports of profit slumps, the world’s largest mining companies are starting to struggle in this environment. According to Platts, most market participants remain bearish in their expectations for the iron ore market, with predictions that prices might extend their losing streak until next week and beyond.

Organisations that want to successfully weather this storm will need to transform their supply chains to ensure maximum efficiency throughout their operations. Only by reducing risk to penalties, demurrage and transportation costs and stockpiling where necessary will companies survive. This level of supply chain management can only be achieved successfully with sophisticated mining software solutions like QMASTOR Pit to Port

Since 2010 the coking coal industry, led by BHP Billiton, has been moving towards shorter term market based pricing, breaking with the tradition of annual contacts and mutually agreed prices. This reflects commitment from the industry to achieve current market prices.  In April this year, BHP told Reuters that it expected two-thirds of the global coking coal market to adopt spot and short-term pricing mechanisms by the end of 2012. On the back of this, trading platform globalCOAL has recently launched trading contracts for coking coal.

Triple Point has supported this move by adding short-term pricing contracts to their QMASTOR Pit to Port solution. This new functionality has already been adopted at Anglo American; many other clients are set to add it soon.

Pit to Port’s Contract Management module has been enhanced to allow both quarterly and monthly pricing contracts. These changes have been accompanied by additional functionality to report and manage contract information, giving organisations an enhanced understanding of their contracted positions and the ability to make more profitable decisions.

Read more about QMASTOR’s Pit to Port solution.

Are you looking for greater visibility into your supply chain? Do you dream of a "single version of the truth" across mining operations, marketing, logistics, and finance, but are not sure how to make it a reality?

Triple Point recently hosted a webinar with Exxaro’s Melanie Steyn on how they gained a single view of mining operations, saved money and increased productivity with QMASTOR’s mining supply chain solution. Triple Point experts also provided deep insight into how to simplify logistics, meet targets and optimize production.

The webinar highlighted valuable tips on how to reduce penalties and operational risk while making supply chains more productive and improving efficiency. Key takeaways included:

  • How to improve quality and grade control while containing costs
  • Tips on optimizing resource allocation and strengthening internal controls
  • Why supply chain visibility is essential to gain an up-to-the-minute view of commercial position
  • How to track and forecast bulk commodity movements and stockpiling
  • Why it is NOT an Excel world anymore

If you missed the live event, don’t worry – you can view the webinar on-demand here.

You can also read an interview with Exxaro about their implementation of QMASTOR’s Pit to Port solution and the benefits it has brought them. 

Steve Maxwell recently presented at Dry Cargo’s Bulk Ports, Terminals and Logistics 2012 Conference in Amsterdam. It was a lively and interactive session that demonstrated how organizations can optimize decision making and deliver substantial cost savings by integrating terminal operations on a common technology platform.

With numerous partners and resources the bulk terminal supply chain is very complex. Consumers, suppliers, vessel owners/charterers and agents, maintenance planners and transportation providers all need to record and exchange large amounts of data while managing their unique business processes. Despite these challenges, many terminal organizations are still attempting to manage their supply chain with inadequate spreadsheets that cause process inefficiencies, errors, and poor decision making that lead to lost profits and operational risk.

The only way to fully mitigate these risks is to implement integrated terminal management systems which bring together information systems, business processes and people to provide end-to-end visibility into operations. Once up and running, key benefits of such systems include:

  • Resource optimization
  • Increased terminal throughput
  • Reduced demurrage and transportation penalties
  • Commodity quality management
  • Visibility through real time accurate information
  • Improved information workflow and stakeholder self service
  • Reduced operational security and compliance risk
  • One version of the truth across the supply chain

Integrated bulk terminal management is rapidly beng adopted by the industry as best practice. In Accenture’s report on Transformation to Enable High Performance in Ports they stated, “In this battle for a growing but increasingly demanding market, the winners will be ports that can manage terminal performance holistically.”

Triple Point’s QMASTOR PortVu solution is an award integrated bulk terminal management system that is being used by organizations such as Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal, Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group and Westshore. The solution manages the complexities of stockyards, inter-modal transportation, and vessels while ensuring equipment is scheduled and utilized efficiently. PortVu integrates terminal operations with suppliers, customers, transport providers, agents, laboratories, and other partners through the use of a common platform.

Read more about Triple Point’s QMASTOR PortVu solution.

Are you in full compliance with AMIRA P754? The importance of coherent material balance results has long been recognized by mining and metallurgical companies. Due to recent accounting scandals and the resulting tightening corporate governance, companies are becoming increasingly concerned with how the reported numbers are obtained and how much accuracy can be attributed to them.

As a result, The AMIRA P754 project was launched in 2004 to develop a rigorous set of metal accounting guidelines for the mining and metallurgical industres. The guidelines stress the importance of state-of-the-art metal accounting systems, such as Algosys Metallurgical Accountant™, and warn that companies using spreadsheets for metallurgical accounting lack auditability and data accuracy and are not in compliance with AMIRA P754.

The Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) recently published an article on Implementing the Ten Best Practices of Metal Accounting at the Strathcona Mill.  It is an excellent case study on how Algosys Metallurgical Accountant helped Xstrata meet all AMIRA P754 guidelines – including the ten principles of best metallurgical accounting practices (BMAP).  It also explains how Xstrata was able to eliminate spreadsheets, gain visibility into key plant performance indicators, and optimize performance and recovery.

You can read the full article here. I hope it provides some valuable insight into AMIRA P754 and fresh ideas on how to automate, standardize, and accelerate your metallurgical accounting cycle.

mining softwareMining companies are no strangers to advanced technology – geological models, dispatch, and plant control systems offer sophisticated databases and solutions for asset optimization. But there’s one exception: supply chain management for tracking assets from mine to customer.

Mining companies often rely on a patchwork of generic spreadsheets to manage the tonnage, quality, and value of their coal or mineral supply chains. This is a very dangerous practice – spreadsheets are not sophisticated enough for handling complex operational processes such as planning, material tracking, and grade control – however, they are often relied upon to do just that.

In addition, studies show that as many as 94% of spreadsheets contain errors, which often go undetected. These errors can spread throughout key corporate processes that control hundreds of millions of dollars of inventory, putting the entire firm at significant operational risk.

To learn more, read “The Hidden Threat,” an article recently published in Mining Magazine. Authored by Steve Maxwell, Triple Point’s resident mining supply chain expert, the piece details the dangers of relying on spreadsheets for mining supply chain management, making the case for advanced supply chain management systems. Read it now.

I recently talked to Exxaro, South Africa’s second largest coal producer, about the challenges affecting the industry today and how they are transforming their business to meet the growing global demand for coal. A major part of their transformation has been to reengineer the supply chain so that they can produce substantially more coal and generate more revenue.

During our conversation, Melanie Steyn, Exxaro’s Coal Export Manager offered some fascinating insight into the risks posed by manual supply chains. Using spreadsheets to manage complex supply chains can result in inefficient production, financial penalties, high transportation costs and demurrage.

Melanie goes on to talk about their implementation of QMASTOR’s Pit to Port solution and the benefits it has brought Exxaro which include increased productivity, significantly reduced costs and a centralized view across all mines, stockpiles and terminals. Additionally, QMASTOR’s seamless integration with SAP EEC6 has enhanced efficiency throughout the supply chain.

You can read the interview here. I hope you find it useful and gain some tips on how to improve your supply chain. 


Procemin 10th International Mineral Processing Conference

October 15-18, 2013 | Chile

XXV Brazilian National Meeting of Mineral Treatment and Extractive Metallurgy (ENTMME)

October 20-24, 2013 | Brazil

Opinions expressed on this blog are those of its individual contributors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Triple Point Technology, Inc.