In a presentation to many of the world’s leading resources firms at the Esri International User Conference, US-based gold, silver and copper producer Freeport McMoRan revealed they’re positioned to shave $14M off their operating costs each year.

All from taking a creative new approach to fleet management with a technology they’ve been widely using in mining exploration and environmental management for years.

Freeport McMoRan is a long-term user of GIS – but it’s only been relatively recently they’ve used the technology to map real-time feeds of the movements of their oil trucks.

By using GIS to undertake predictive analysis, the mining giant has been able to clearly identify adverse road conditions and direct drivers on how best to navigate particular routes to reduce wear and tear and fuel costs – which equates for $14M-plus in savings for the company each year.

This type of ROI isn’t isolated to Freeport McMoRan. Locally, a growing number of Australia’s top and mid-tier mining companies are generating similar dollar savings from light vehicle tracking and analysis. For example, companies are now able to devise the percentage of a vehicle’s travel on private roads compared to public roads and use that information to maximise Fuel Tax credits.

The increasingly important role of GIS in slashing operational costs for the resources industry is certainly becoming more widely understood. In fact, a recent report from one of Australia's leading professional services firms PwC recommends resources firms invest in GIS to remain competitive during periods of low commodity prices and capital constraints.

The PwC report encourages companies to apply predictive analytics to their business and operations planning to make it through the downturn. It also indicated the use of mobile digital solutions to improve the performance and safety of mines is on the rise – so if you aren’t doing it, chances are your competitor is.

Of course the use of the technology in the mining sector extends far beyond optimising efficiencies. Another emerging use of GIS lies with strengthening OH&S policies and procedures. One of the best examples of this lies with Australian natural gas producer QGC, which has used GIS to develop a solution for real-time staff safety monitoring.

The world-first system consolidates real-time data about QGC personnel that was previously held in several isolated systems, enabling the organisation to rapidly locate and communicate with staff working in remote locations during an emergency.

Information, including staff and vehicle locations and threat alerts, is integrated into a central operational dashboard that can pinpoint the whereabouts of staff within seconds.

When a staff member or contractor crosses a ‘geofence’ – a virtual parameter set up around a defined area – system operators receive notification that someone is leaving or entering a high-risk area. This function is particularly valuable during bushfire season as it instantly identifies who is in a fire-affected area, and provides intuitive warnings and advice on evacuation routes.

This project is at the forefront of safety standards in the resources sector. You can learn more about this world-leading staff safety system by reading the full case study.

About the Author

Alicia Kouparitsas
Alicia Kouparitsas
Guest contributor

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