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Kazakhstan’s largest iron ore company now has a smart mine

A major iron ore project in Kazakhstan is getting a high-tech makeover. The Kacharsky mine, operated by Eurasian Resources-owned JSC Sokolov-Sarbai Mining Production Association or SSGPO, is being transformed into a "smart mine."

With an investment of $10 million, a new modular automated system for production processes was integrated with Kacharsky’s existing Geographic Information System and Enterprise Resource Planning System. From now on -the company said in a press release-, operators will be able to build an optimal production scenario via GIS MineSched and GIS Surpac and use US Modular Mining Systems to plan the despatch and delivery of products. This means that the mine can be monitored in real time by sensors that can detect where changes should be made in the mining process to improve productivity. Once this happens, the computer system will then make the required adjustments, including allocating mining vehicles and equipment if necessary.

The live data obtained from such processes would provide a better understanding of how equipment is being used at Kacharsky and, according to SSGPO, increase equipment productivity by more than 10%. The company also expects to minimise failures, eliminate unscheduled equipment downtime, expedite the movement and allocation of machines, and optimise costs.

Kacharsky currently generates 50% of all SSGPO’s iron ore to produce pellets and concentrate. This adds up to 20 million tonnes of mineral per year.

SSGPO’s announcement was made the same week the country’s president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, and representatives from the Ministry of Investment and Development took part in the annual Kazakhstan Industrialization Day and announced that, among the 18 projects receiving their support, there is one called IntelliSense Lab, which is a joint venture between IntelliSense.io and Tech Garden. The goal of this project is to deploy what its developers call “Industry 4.0 technologies” to aid the digital transformation of the Kazakh mining industry.

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