Cement and Aggregate Consulting (CEMAGG) – Digital Quarrying

By on January 28, 2020

PAUL SODEN, Business Development Manager for CEMAGG reports on the concept of Digital Quarrying.

Steve Franklin, founder and CEO of CEMAGG, has been involved in the quarry industry for most of his life. He has been a Quarry Manager with several large companies but for quite a while now has been a consultant to the industry. Nearly 3 years ago he asked himself, where is the quarry industry really going?

As quarries deplete, unprecedented market conditions prevail and environmental restrictions become more stringent, the traditional approach to quarry planning is falling short of what managers need. Most planning revolves around either short term blast to blast planning conducted by the quarry manager or at best, life of quarry sketches found in paper reports and rarely referred to. Despite significant advances in other comparable industries, quarrying has been slow to adopt critical strategies needed to take the industry into the future.

During discussions with the industry, he found that there were two focuses.

Firstly, Operation Manager wanted to be able to check that quarry manager are doing what they are supposed to be doing. They also wanted continuity of planning and direction when managers change. The ability to consider “what if “ scenarios would also be an advantage. As one senior industry figure astutely observed that “it was better to make mistakes on the computer than in the field”.

Secondly, Quarry Manager were looking for a more visual (3D) way of communicating what was happening in their quarry. They were also looking for integrated quarry development plans so that everybody was operating on the same page. Finally, the ability to do survey economically in the quarry so that boundaries, drill and blast, benches , etc could be located correctly.

There had been 3 major advances that had significantly impacted the quarry industry and addressed these needs. Each one is important but together they are the vital precursors to making reality in the near future.

• The availability of cost effective drones

• A new generation of quarry planning software that is cheaper, easier to use and covers the entire operational planning scope from geology, geotechnical, design, scheduling, drill & blast and environmental management through to closure.

• The rise of cost effective GPS survey systems to guide operators to drill and dig to plan

Steve Franklin, flying our drone.

In pulling all this together, the concept of “Digital Quarrying” was penned.

But Why would the quarry industry be interested in this new concept?

As all this was being implemented, it was the customers who came back with the answers.

  1. It reduces management time
  2. It reduces mistakes
  3. It improves stakeholder engagement
  4. It reduces costs
  5. Increases productivity

By way of example, Fulton Hogan Queensland saw a twenty (20%) increase in productivity as a result of implementing the Digital Quarry processes in their business over a twelve month period (as noted in a recent Quarry Magazine case study).

In the last 3 years the Cemagg has grown from its base in Brisbane to working with quarries throughout SE Qld, NSW and an ever growing presence in Victoria.

Steve Franklin, flying our drone.

It is quite evident and gratifying that the work we do with operational quarrying planning in this visual dimension is appreciated by our customers and is reflected in our growing customer base.

Being new to Victoria, it has been very interesting the encouragement we received as we travelled around visiting quarries to join the CMPA. We are part of the quarry scene and we believe that CMPA represents it the best and so were very happy to join.

Of particular note we would like to thank, Peter Richardson and Adrian Bull and the folks at Mawson’s Lake Cooper who have wholeheartedly taken on the concept of Digital Quarrying and are seeing some tremendous results.

If you would like to discuss Visual Operational Planning and the concept of Digital Quarrying and how it may be beneficial to your quarry, please contact us on sales@cemagg.com or our BDM Paul Soden on 0418 730 598.

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