Roy Hill is using technology to grow its business quickly and safely. Source: Shutterstock

Roy Hill is using technology to grow its business quickly and safely. Source: Shutterstock

How Roy Hill is digitally transforming the mining and metals industry

TECHNOLOGY is changing the mining and metals industry but there’s not enough evidence

For Australian mining and metals industry giant Roy Hill, technology is an important part of the company’s roadmap for the future.

Founded in 2012, the company represents the next generation of integrated iron ore mine, rail and port projects to be developed in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, and is using technology to optimize the value chain and make operations safer.

Some of the technologies that the company is tapping into include data (analytics, machine learning, etc.), mobility, artificial intelligence, visualization techniques (3D, AR etc.) and automation.

Roy Hill General Manager of Technology Rebbecca Kerr, who has recently been shortlisted by IDC’s Digital Transformation Awards under the ‘Digital Transformation Leader’ category shed light on the company’s journey with technology thus far, for Tech Wire Asia’s audience.

“Enabling technologies are assessed on the future opportunity provided with the understanding that initial investment will realize value in the long term.

“There are many projects I am proud of for different reasons. Our analytics platform provides enormous value to the business and I am proud of the way we partnered with our vendor to accomplish that outcome.

According to Kerr, the company’s most valuable asset is its ore body. As a result, the company has been focused on delivering projects to expand its ore-body knowledge and support its remote operations team.

“These have included co-investment collaborations for ore body modeling as well as smaller proof of concepts with 3D modeling that have provided invaluable insight,” explained Kerr proudly.

While it isn’t hard to imagine the direction in which the company is headed with the technology, the reality is that industries such as mining and metals have to be more careful about how they implement solutions — which has a significant impact on how companies climb the digital maturity curve.

“There are two challenges to climbing the maturity curve for Roy Hill.

“First is technology maturing to a level that is the right fit of application, cost, and outcome for the business.

“The second is managing the people change. It’s important to understand that digital maturity is a journey and as such, needs to be thought through and iterated each step of the way to achieve the right outcome for the business.”

Despite the challenges, however, Roy Hill seems to be doing a great job. Aside from recognizing Kerr’s efforts in the digital transformation space, the Australian mining and metals company has been shortlisted for another award under the ‘Omni Experience Innovator’ category at IDC’s Digital Transformation Awards.

“Roy Hill was established as a technology-enabled business from the start with strong support from our Chairman and CEO to mine ‘differently’.”

According to Kerr, the company’s leadership has provided an environment where people are empowered to propose and try new things, resulting in the innovative culture present today at Roy Hill.

In fact, the company has a number of programs in place to ensure its workforce is developing in line with new technology, and includes technology-specific training and a career enrichment program that allows employees to gain skills and experience in new areas.

“While Roy Hill will take on new hires for specific skills, where possible, we aim to develop and give opportunity to our own workforce as a priority.”

At the end of the day, the company is moving in the right direction with technology — and Kerr believes that the awards she and her company have been shortlisted for are just an acknowledgment of the great work that the team at Roy Hill, led by its Chairman, Board, and CEO are doing, to forge a new way of mining.