Mining3 for interoperability

Interoperability has become a hot topic across many mining companies worldwide due to issues with new and emerging equipment, in particular, an increased use of automation and robotic technologies. These systems are often built independently, requiring specific integration tools that result in operational difficulties and a decrease in competitiveness across the industry. However, interoperability is not just about how machines/equipment communicate with each other but more broadly how we connect and share information/knowledge along the complete mining value chain and across the enterprise.

Chile’s ‘Technology Program for the Creation and Adoption of International Standards for Interoperability in Mining’ was established with the prime directive to create an international organisation that facilitates the creation and revision of interoperability standards. In turn, producing a common language and guiding framework for the mining industry.

With founding financial support from the Chilean Government entity Corfo and mining companies Codelco and BHP the Interop project was initiated in 2017. Fundacion Chile and co-executors Codelco Tech and CSIRO Chile (Mining3) were contracted to define a mining industry interoperability conceptual architecture and reference model and an associated roadmap that delivered interoperability outcomes and value for agreed key industry defined areas of the mining value chain. These then feed into a five-year long funded program to create and encourage the adoption of new standards for interconnection and interoperability of equipment, components and systems involved in the mining process. Mining3 in partnership with CSIRO Chile have and will continue to contribute resources to the research phases of this program.  In late 2018, the not for profit and industry led organisation “Interop” was established to steer these activities.

The interop initiative consists of seven phases,

P1 – Formation of international standards organisation
P2 – Conceptual interoperability model
P3 – State of the Art interoperability standards in Mining
P4 – Gap detection and quantification
P5 – Development prioritisation
P6 – Interoperability standards roadmap
P7 – Technical projects e.g. standard development, pilot experimentation and performance measurement

Mining3 through CSIRO Chile led the work for the P2, P4 and P5 phases. As part of these activities, and also utilising Mining3 own industry networks, focus areas for interop program investment and collaboration were recognised and workflows developed for identified outcomes. Common elements including repeated structures, required behaviours and interoperability frameworks were identified and have been used as leverage points to select meaningful research projects that will deliver appropriate guidelines and related standards.

As part of this intitial work interop has implemented an interoperability collaboration tool that enables both high level conceptual models and low level detail to be consolidated into a coherent and interactive interface. This resource provides a common platform to enable collaboration with other interoperability initiatives, but critically will also allow identification of key framework elements and gaps for future development.

With phases one through six of the initiative now complete, a number of opportunity areas have been highlighted and Interop will be advancing its research with technical projects focused in these areas.

If you would like to participate or learn more about the initiative contact us.