Newcrest has selected Microsoft’s Azure as its preferred cloud globally, and the two will collaborate on programs of work that include digital twins to boost operational performance for its portfolio – beginning with a priority project at the Cadia mine in New South Wales.
All of the miner’s key workloads, including SAP, have been migrated now from a private cloud to Azure, Microsoft said, and its Microsoft 365 – as well as its Teams and Power BI – have been deployed company-wide.
There are now two priority projects which have commenced with the two companies, the first one being the creation of a full value chain digital twin for the Cadia operation.
“Developed in collaboration with Microsoft, Willow and site operational experts, the digital twin displays data from both information technology (IT) and operational technology through easy-to-digest 3D visualisations of the mining process. This allows operators and managers to make tactical and strategic decisions in real time to improve performance,” Microsoft officials noted.
In addition, a scenario planning tool will be integrated into the digital twin, allowing simulated action testing against live data before the mine makes operational changes in the field. It will use that information with data on other critical operational metrics, such as recovery and costs, to have a full productivity model for each mining site.
Microsoft and Versor are also working with Newcrest on a sustainability data model; the first release of that is expected by June and is designed to improve sustainability and streamline environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting.
CIO Gavin Wood said the new platforms will “create a scaffold for new digital solutions” that will aid Newcrest in its predictive and prescriptive insights, and thus help optimise operations.
“When you think about how big and complex a mine site is, particularly in regard to the processing done on site, how much energy and water it consumes, the ability to use the full power of AI to provide actionable insights across the value chain is going to unlock so much value for us,” Wood said.
“Complexity is the thing that kills you. It’s better to have simpler architectures and technology portfolios with fewer partners, where you have deeper partnerships and you work closely together, and benefit from the integration that comes with this approach.”