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How mobile data capture is changing the game in mining

April 26, 2023

How mobile data capture is changing the game in mining

Written by
Sachee Perera

Technology has been advancing rapidly with new powers being unlocked in computing, connectivity, and accessibility.

And as such, the mining industry has benefited by incorporating new technologies to increase efficiency in their administration, supply chains and operations. Still, many exploration companies and drilling contractors have resisted moving their operations to digital.

This has mostly been due to the need for heavy customisation or the time and costs needed to implement, train and onboard staff. This has left larger companies with big pockets to rapidly build and take advantage to get further ahead of the pack.

Today, modern software is making it easier for small and mid-tier companies to access mobile data capture so they too can benefit from cost savings. By using agile methodologies that maintain an ever-improving product, today's software is usually cloud-based and designed with the end-user in mind. This means it takes little to any training for even the most tech-averse worker to start using new tech.

So if enabling mobile data capture for your company is now a reality, what do exploration companies and drilling contractors stand to gain?

To answer this question let's first define what mobile data capture is.

What is mobile data capture?

Simply defined, it’s the use of mobile devices (phones, tablets, etc) to record and transmit data. 

Mobile data capture: 

  1. Eases up data entry. Being able to make templates digitally allows for user-friendly designs, like splitting up plods into smaller sections and making mistakes easily fixable.
  2. Provides standardised templates for recording data. Plod sheets, safety forms, field activities and other documents can be represented digitally in the same format or customised for every site.
  3. Tracks how the data was entered and delivers it instantly. Mobile devices being connected to cellular networks means that the data is available as soon as it's entered*.

*Digital operations platforms like CorePlan provide mobile apps that work both online and offline, so workers can continue to operate at ease.

Why is mobile data capture important in mining?

Today, the cost of mobile data capture is far lower than before and many organisations have their own systems. Large mining companies like BHP and Rio Tinto will even offer (request) their drilling contractors to use their own mobile data capture system. 

For large businesses, mobile data capture is a godsend because of its time savings. You can get data from the field immediately the moment it’s recorded, in any format you require. The reduction in time lags and standardisation of data formatting means:

  1. Saving time through automation. Many updates that happen are recorded along with photo evidence if needed and stored in a structured manner. This data can then be used straight away on the platform or banked into a data lake, connected to analytics tools and more via an API.
  2. Operations can be seen in real-time. Mobile data capture from the field means that as soon as the data is submitted, the drilling supervisor can instantly access the data and then provide instant visibility to the exploration company enabling real-time course correction.
  3. Communication is based on current information. Due to the instantaneous capture of data, reports and production numbers are guaranteed to be current, allowing for more accurate decision-making.
  4. Chances for human error are minimised. The possibility of something getting overlooked due to bad writing, forgetfulness and task complexity is eliminated.

‍What is CorePlan?

CorePlan is a Digital Operations Platform that converts your workflow from paper, spreadsheets and a mishmash of multiple systems into an all-in-one workplace for your team to go to work.

CorePlan Drilling Hub is designed for drilling contractors to collect plods, invoice clients and conduct payroll. 

CorePlan Exploration Hub is designed for exploration companies to plan their drill programs, capture field activities, track samples and manage their costs.

Both Hubs can also add on CorePlan Forms, our digital form and document management system. Forms is an easy way to capture incidents, inspections and other data in the field and manage all documentation from one place. There's even a safety dashboard to help you keep track of your lead and lag indicators and bring safety into the spotlight. 

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