BIM Academy and a gold mine

by Peter Barker | November 19, 2021 |  4 min read

BIM Academy and a gold mine
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At BIM Academy we like to think we are pretty open-minded and embrace change. So, when we received an unexpected call from a gold mining company in Greece, we were more than happy to engage and see how we could assist.

BIM for mining? An interesting concept and one we were keen to explore and support.

Initially the enquiry from Hellas Gold was related to training in Revit which we thought a little odd as we expected a mining organisation would be more interested in software appropriate to holes in the ground and environmental monitoring rather than design of buildings and structures.

However, once we opened the conversation, it became apparent that the client had recognised the fundamental ethos and value of BIM and was seeking assistance in making a radical shift in how they manage their multiple information resources in a more integrated, sustainable and holistic way.

They already had in place well developed digital systems for environmental monitoring – a must have in the mining industry – and a consultant team who had begun to adopt BIM software for civil engineering and digital tools for terrain modelling, mining assessment and optioneering, as well as an embryonic document management system.

The driver for change was the opportunity to expand the organisation’s existing operation to address the growing global demand for minerals such as copper, zinc and gold to support innovative and environmentally sustainable sectors such as the electric vehicle market.

Following an initial three-day workshop with the senior management and operational teams, we outlined a high-level roadmap for the creation of a holistic approach to digital Information Management (IM), bringing together existing technologies and information resources and aligning this closely to the client’s organisational structure, operational methods, forms of procurement and learning and development programmes.

We then conducted a review and discovery workshop on site at their head office in Athens to develop the strategy and roadmap. We interviewed a representative cross-section of staff at senior management and operational level, including local supply chain partners.

Tackling time constraints, subsequent desktop research and report preparation took place off-site in our offices in the UK, utilising online meetings to ensure all IM were met. This allowed us to map out a view of their current operating model and depict what future operating models would look like in the mid and long term. Following this analysis, we developed proposals, giving several recommendations.

For ease of implementation, the recommendations were set out as work packages from the creation of the IM implementation roadmap to the implementation of the IM framework on the Hellas Gold Skouries project which was the most appropriate pilot project.

Roll out began in 2020, with BIM Academy assigning our specialist team to work with the client’s IM group and supply chain. Once appointments were established, our focus was to create a learning and development strategy to deliver awareness and management training to crucial personnel initially, whilst later providing specific technical training either through one-on-one or workshops.

Following the selection of the Skouries mining site as the pilot project, we worked extensively with the IM team in performance measurement. Following procedures set out in the ISO 19650 suite, whilst defining BIM uses in mining, we engaged with the team. The Skouries team already measure their success using business value metrics as part of their business management, and they know that implementing BIM is ultimately going to improve the operations of their assets, particularly from an environmental, safety and productivity perspective.

We worked with the team to create key performance indicators (KPIs) and compare them to the maturity of BIM utilising the BIM implementation metrics. With large amounts of big data being generated the initial phase of the pilot project was the specification and procurement of a common data environment (CDE) solution. We supported the setup of the agreed platform and identified specific KPIs and metrics for their chosen application.

What began as a tentative enquiry relating to software training has now expanded to an exciting advancement in the application of the principles of information modelling, originally developed for the built environment, into a new sector – mining.

This holds great promise to drive significant improvements in the operational, commercial and environmental aspects of this vital global industry.

To find out more about BIM for mining, contact [email protected].