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Data improving engineering decisions: SRK

Computing power combined with high-end engineering skills are starting to yield “remarkable benefits” in the form of better project outcomes and improvement risk mitigation, SRK Consulting (South Africa) chairman, William Joughin said at the 2018 Investing in African Mining Indaba at Cape Town.
Data improving engineering decisions: SRK Data improving engineering decisions: SRK Data improving engineering decisions: SRK Data improving engineering decisions: SRK Data improving engineering decisions: SRK

SRK’s William Joughin: Data created a ‘real step-change’ for engineers

Staff reporter

"Larger quantities of better and more reliable data - combined with specialised and in-depth engineering experience - are a real step-change in our ability to understand and manage project risk," Joughin said.

"Today's technology gives us the power to collect and analyse data in previously unimaginable quantities."

Addressing the Indaba Mining 2050 (Technology & Innovation) stream, Joughin said SRK's growing ranks of tech-focused experts, combined with its traditional mining proficiency, were helping the global consulting group exploit the value of big data to improve strategic and engineering decisions in mining, and better address mining risks from safety and environment to geology and social licence to operate.

"We have used drones and photogrammetry, for instance, for mapping geological structures - giving us a better understanding of the geology and more reliable resource definition," he said.

"This in turn helps mines manage geotechnical risks such as slope stability, as more data means more accurate interpretation of geological structures."

As well as its surface-mine rockfall risk mitigation work, SRK has collaborated with the Australian Centre for Geomechanics at the University of Western Australia to develop software for analysing seismic risk. Joughin said the joint effort was aimed at addressing the danger of rockbursts in underground mines.

The company had also taken the leap into augmented reality technologies to help address resource and geotechnical risk - exploiting the three dimensional integration of data for a fully immersive user experience.

"The key to leveraging technology in this way is to imbed innovative thinking into all our specialist disciplines, so that the full benefit of modern invention can be applied across the mining project life cycle," said Joughin.