Mining and metals companies accelerate focus on sustainability

AFP file photo
AFP file photo

Sandhya D'Mello

Published: Sat 17 Jul 2021, 9:44 PM

Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure platform combined with Aveva’s digital transformation solutions proven to drive industrial sustainability initiatives.

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Digital integrated operations can address key areas of the industry wide sustainability agenda by combining power and process intelligence and controls. Mining, minerals, and metals companies are on the road to delivering impactful outcomes outside traditional power purchase agreements (PPAs) – but have a long way to go.

Schneider Electric, the leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation, and Aveva, a global leader in industrial software, driving digital transformation and sustainability, announced that their combined technology offerings are supporting the sustainability initiatives of mining companies in four key pillars: energy efficiency, yield improvement, low greenhouse emission technology adoption, and new green processes.

Global decarbonisation is heavily reliant on the sustainable production of minerals and commodities. A thriving and healthy mining and metals sector is crucial for the global economy and to support the innovation of new technologies and materials needed for climate change reduction, environment protection, and the circular economy.

Schneider Electric and Aveva are providing the tools required by organisations to make informed decisions that will empower people across the mining, minerals, and metals value chains to be more strategic in their choices based on sound advice with sustainability in mind. They are assisting operators and managers in these choices leaving these organizations well positioned to tackle some of the challenges associated with adopting sustainable practices, potentially resulting in reduced operating costs and thus providing the rare ability of appeasing all stakeholders.

According to an IDC Technology Spotlight, sponsored by Aveva and Schneider Electric, Transitioning to Sustainable Mining, Minerals and Metals Practices, the top three market pressures driving the sustainability agendas of mining and metals organisations are: Need to improve brand equity; reduce the risk of an adverse event and Ensure compliance with current and future regulations

“Technology has a critical role to play in supporting mining companies,” said Ben Kirkwood, Senior Research Manager, IDC Energy Insights - WW Mining. “Efforts to hit sustainability targets and gain greater visibility and control over operations will enable corporate insight and action relating to energy, water usage, and management of the operational environment. IDC’s global analysis of the revenue growth and profitability of industrial companies shows that those with a committed and ongoing sustainability-based strategy combined with a long-term, funded, digital transformation agenda considerably outperform their competitors.”

Digitalisation Underpins Mining and Metals Sustainability

The IDC Technology Spotlight also reinforces the fact that as the industry continues to experience backlash from its perceived stagnant position on sustainability, platforms with added analytics are enabling improved operational efficiencies while enhancing the visibility of the changes being made.

“Digitally integrated operations can address key areas of an organization’s sustainability agenda by combining power and process intelligence and controls,” said David Willick, VP North America, Mining, Minerals and Metals Segment, Schneider Electric. “Digitalisation is a critical evolution for the resources industry, and Schneider Electric and Aveva are uniquely qualified to help. We are experts at marshalling the power of connected systems and human insight to bring operational performance to its highest level. Together, we have won the trust of the world’s leading companies with thousands of implementations onsite and in the cloud. Today our joint customers can benefit from our shared customer-centric innovation culture, unmatched R&D capabilities, and extensive sector-specific expertise.”

“Although the benefits of digital transformation are crystal clear, the mining industry has thus far been limited by legacy infrastructure, data inadequacies, and piecemeal optimization programmes,” said Martin Provencher, Industry Principal, Mining, Metals and Materials, Aveva.

Corporate Knights recently named Schneider Electric the world's most sustainable company. According to the IDC Technology Spotlight, Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure platform combined with Aveva’s Digital Mining and Metals Transformation solutions can provide the operational and organisational insight required to make sustainable operations and improved decisions through the collection and analysis of data. The partner companies aim to decarbonise the mining, minerals and metals value chains through the provision of an industrial IoT platform with technology and software elements supporting the capability for energy management and automation.

Paramita Das, General Manager Global Marketing and Development, Rio Tinto, said: "Mines and metal products are all around us, our homes, cars, cellphones, planes, everything we see has some link or origination to commodities in some form. Industry fragmentation usually slows down innovation cycles, but a well connected value chain positions commodities better versus high carbon alternatives."

Covid-19 has brought economic and social disruptions, but the one thing that has remained unchanged is the demand on sustainability from our customers and consumers. Consumers want to know where the products are coming from, the ingredients that were used and whether these were responsibly sourced. More than ever, they are prepared to vote with their wallets. In response, companies globally have been setting ambitious targets to cut global emissions and enhance their sustainability credentials.

"Our ambition is to reach net zero emissions by 2050. This reflects increased scrutiny from consumers and our customers who are facing more stringent regulations arising from green policies. Governments have been ramping up mandatory requirements and incentives to motivate companies to accelerate their ESG progress. There is also sustainability reporting, which is now mandatory for large companies in many countries. And the list of regulations deployed by governments goes on. The same views are being taken by institutional shareholders as well. ESG funds, for example, captured approximately $51.1 billion of net new money from investors in 2020, more than double the 2019 efforts. Businesses committed to ESG goals will certainly benefit from this new paradigm," added Das. —


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