Until roughly 20 years ago, mining was an industry that experienced comparatively limited technological change. While prospecting methodologies have steadily improved since the birth of the industry, operations in the pit have largely remained untouched by new technologies until recently. When significant technological change finally arrived in the mining sector around the start of the 21st century, the advancements were mostly focused on surface logistics and the efficient movement of rolling stock.
Perhaps the most consequential area of potential improvement for the mining industry – subsurface evaluation during drill and blast operations – has seen only limited innovation, if any. Due to the tempo of drill and blast activities, historically there has not been sufficient time to adequately characterize the bench prior to blasting. Thus, an assumption of rock homogeneity and uniform blast hole spacing has been the default modus operandi for mine operators.
This status quo has precluded mine site operators from acquiring real-time geoscience insights that would enable them to characterize the bench and deploy three powerful and underutilized blasting levers:
But that is all now changing, and I’m proud to say that DataCloud is helping to lead the way. DataCloud is today providing real-time characterization of the bench during drilling, and prior to blasting. I believe this technology is a historic game-changer for the mining industry and holds the essential key to unlocking significant improvements in the industry’s economic and environmental profiles. Bottom-line, these new technology solutions will generate strong growth for operators.
We launched DataCloud with the vision to build innovative new technologies that help mining companies to dramatically improve their processes, performance, and productivity. Specifically, our mission is the following: “To provide the modern geoscience tools and technology required to significantly improve the economic and environmental profile of the international mining industry.” We do this by supplying never-before-available subsurface information in real-time, so mine site operators can use this data to engineer grade via differential blasting and consistently achieve a desired fragmentation profile in their muck piles.
To advance this mission, DataCloud has assembled a core team of experts with deep experience in the global resource extraction industries as well as emerging technologies. One part of the team is primarily from the E&P industry, including many years working for Schlumberger. These individuals have spent decades developing and mastering real-time geoscience tools and workflows that are commonplace in Oil & Gas and are now being applied to mining operations. The second part of DataCloud’s team is primarily from the emerging technology sectors of cloud computing, big data, IoT, and artificial intelligence. Our technology leaders have deep roots and extensive accomplishments in Silicon Valley.
By integrating these two sets of skills and experiences, DataCloud has “democratized” and automated the highest possible level of geoscience interpretation, which can now be performed on streaming data collected from routine mine site operations. The resulting real-time insights allow DataCloud’s clients to accurately and quickly interpret grade distributions and rock mechanical properties required for blasting. Equally important, our clients can access this critical information conveniently via APIs, browsers, and mobile devices.
It’s not just the merging of technology and industry expertise that differentiates DataCloud and makes these mining industry breakthroughs possible. DataCloud has also established major partnerships that give our clients a winning edge. For example, DataCloud is proud to be a Microsoft Partner Company. We are now working closely with Microsoft’s technical personnel and leveraging the company’s industry-leading Azure and the Cortana Intelligence Suite to build and deliver software tools for our clients. DataCloud also has a go-to-market partnership with Orica Mining Services, the largest explosives provider in the world. Orica has roughly 40-percent of the blasting market, and a tremendous institutional knowledge of blast physics.
We hope that you will join us on this exciting journey to transform the mining industry’s economics and operations in positive, profitable ways. One way to do so is to sign up for our blog feed and keep apprised of all of these important technology developments. We also invite you to follow DataCloud on social media. And by all means, let us know how we can help you and your company succeed on this journey. We hope to hear from you and collaborate in the future.
Chief Executive Officer
DataCloud International, Inc.