Acqumine’ s service sits in the epicentre of three of the most important trends in tech:
- Milestone 1 best sits in the cross-over where Regtech meets Blockchain – where it assists with compliance with community commitments, government royalty payments and anti-money laundering with its escrow account functionality. This is not particularly disruptive and is more institution-facing.
- Milestone 2 – is about digital verification, where consumer facing suppliers ensure that the source of their product can be verified and that it has been mined in an ethical way. While there will not be an interface with consumers, consumer taste will be the key driver for system use.
- Milestone 3 uses the deep knowledge that Acqumine will acquire about each mining operation to implement practical interventions that improve operational performance on mines.
Milestone 1 – smart-contract blockchain commodities platform
Acqumine has decided to partner with Microsoft and use Microsoft Azure Blockchain module onto which to develop its smart-contract software platform, enabling the software to provide a valuable billable service to commodity miners and commodity exchanges around the world.
- Milestone 1.1: Overall system architecture
- Milestone 1.2: Design configurable business rules
- Milestone 1.3: Distributed ledger dissemination mechanism
- Milestone 1.4: Node encryption coding
- Milestone 1.5: Design wallets
- Milestone 1.6: Configurable royalty functionality into the smart contract
- Milestone 1.9: Integration module into commodity exchange software
Milestone 2 – ethical scorecard verification service
Milestone 2 will involve the creation of the first externally verified ethical brand for mining commodities where suppliers will be scored and externally verified based on the following:
The benefits of this balanced scorecard to host country governments and local communities to mining operations are obvious: What is less obvious is how the supplier will benefit:
- Ethical branding will result in higher prices paid per unit of commodity
- Lower political risk as government long term interests are aligned to miner’s
- Greater ability to enforce contracts as corruption becomes harder
- Better engagement with local communities
- Long term cost savings as workers are better trained and more productive
Milestone 3 – Practical interventions
Acqumine Ver 3.0 is the most ambitious and complex software development. It also represents the most valuable part of the company’s intellectual property in terms of revenue generation. It is therefore dealt with in more detail.
The development will be time-consuming and costly – taking over two years to develop. Success will transform mine’s economic performance, where vehicle utilisation is less than 10% in open cast mines and mine equipment replacement is a material component of the current account deficits of mine-focused Southern African economics, where Acqumine 3.0 will initially focus.
The combination of under-trained workers using multi-million dollar capital equipment, mature low yielding mines and some of the most difficult operating conditions in the world have contrived to make African mines, unpleasant, unsafe and in the gold sector’s case – uneconomic in the long term, using current production techniques.
The most pressing problems that Acqumine’s solutions will address are:
- Safety – over 45,000 miners have died since 1984 in Africa;
- Underground rockfalls caused 96 of the 202 South African mine deaths in 2005. This problem costs $500 million per annum in SA’s mines alone;
- Low skill, productivity and remuneration levels – 29% of mine workers have less than Grade 5 education and 57% earn less than $200 per month;
- Excessive equipment maintenance and wear & tear costs – which together comprise 20% of total mining costs – or $3 billion per year;
- Low equipment utilization rates – are less than 30% on PRIMARY fleets;
- Fuel theft – 5 – 10% of fuel is stolen from South African mines or $250 million pa
Acqumine v3.1 – adding artificial intelligence to data logging application, more sensors to vehicles and training module
Analysis of data collected from chosen test sites, will enable the software machine to learn the calibration rules needed for the artificial intelligence around the system and training program for users.
Adding new hardware sensors
- Tyre monitoring
- Driver fatigue monitoring
- Shock monitors
- Rugged handheld devices for technicians and shift bosses
User interface in new languages
- Including voice Southern Africa’s 10 most spoken languages plus French and Spanish
- Linguistics checked
- Studio recordings for all voice recordings
Developing software rules to react in real-time from data feeds
- Safety applications
- Digital speed limits, vehicle abuse, access control
- Digital blind spots and visibility analysis (Optical character recognition to recognise writing on “sequential road signs” signifying dust problems and resulting in water trucks being dispatched
- Road condition analysis
- Maintenance and material control
- Scheduled maintenance (E.g. Bell Load Haul Dump (LHD) Truck ME123 is due to change oil filters after 230 engine hours and is now on 228 engine hours), ensures that stock is in place.)
- Preventative maintenance – (E.g. Water levels are below minimum acceptable level, which in experience suggests that engine will overheat, eventually resulting in seizure and loss of engine – warn driver verbally and with picture, SMS control room was ignored).
- Rule- based escalation (E.g. ME123’s engine is overheating, as water level alert in point 3 was ignored by operator, SMS shift boss. If no response, escalate to mine captain and maintenance supervisor. If no response, escalate to engineering manager and if no response – mine manager.)
- Technician’s module – download vehicle vital statistics remotely, all vehicle manuals online
- Fuel module – reconciling mobile bowser output with mobile equipment input, along with operator in charge of equipment when refuelling event happen).
- Bonus Buddy – Human resource focused productivity improvements – onboard computer:
- Mapping module (E.g. Map which warns verbally and with map diagram onboard vehicle PC, direction, and rerouting due to stoppages/emergencies.)
- Vehicle scheduling and dynamic dispatching (e.g. Bell Load Haul Dump (LHD) Truck ME123 go from Draw point Echo to Crusher with load from Shovel ME456.)
- Suggested decision support – (e.g. Bell LHD ME123 is in a long queue while waiting for Shovel ME456 to upload, and fuel is running low, so dispatch mobile fuel bowser MFB789 to fill up ME456 with diesel.)
- Grade control – (e.g. ME456 has to dispatch load to crusher, which takes 34 minutes around trip, but dumps in the waste pile, which takes 18 minutes and increases bonus)
- Cycle time analysis – (how long it takes ME to dispatch load to crusher and to get back to draw point)
New mining environments and location of data processing
- Underground connectivity module
Class room based training materials and demonstration
- Development of materials in major local languages
Acqumine v3.2 – Integration of all mining equipment and all relevant systems to Acqumine data warehouse, data can be relayed to central processing hub
- Inexpensive sensors on all key stationery installations
- Energy data collection
- Manual tribology kits (Oil testing for viscosity, ferro-content and purity, integrated into handheld solutions
User interface in new languages
- Front end expanding to include major African languages such as French, Portuguese, Angoni and Swahili as well as Spanish + South East Asian Languages and Chinese
- Backend to include French, Portuguese and Spanish
- Add South East Asian Languages + Chinese to language configurable backend