Sibanye-Stillwater doing more with data

Independent global gold and platinum miner Sibanye-Stillwater has selected DataProphet and its Omni solution for the implementation of an artificial intelligence-powered plant optimisation system
Sibanye-Stillwater doing more with data Sibanye-Stillwater doing more with data Sibanye-Stillwater doing more with data Sibanye-Stillwater doing more with data Sibanye-Stillwater doing more with data

Sibanye-Stillwater is the largest individual producer of gold in South Africa

The South Africa-based miner said the partner will use Omni, which was designed to use its AI platform to better the manufacturing process by predicting defects, faults and quality errors, to extract value from historical data to optimise the miner's system.

DataProphet managing director and co-founder Frans Cronje said its Omni technology was built upon machine learning models to help clients make the best decisions for the current plant state while also being aware of the up- and down-stream processes.

Once the data is ingested, and before being unified and provided to an operator or engineer, Omni creates a learnt digital twin of the plant.

"Often in mineral processing and manufacturing plants, an innately human combination of experience and gut-feel guide operators in their decisions when they can't process an understanding of the intricate and complex interdependencies of the process in real time," he said.

"The [digital twin] can inductively discover the entire process from hundreds of man-years' worth of institutional knowledge embedded in the data," he added.

Patterns can then be found and applied to an action plan that considers the current operating characteristics of a plant. Then, Cronje said, a plant is left with a reduction in variation and improved plant metrics through optimised, unified processes.

Sibanye-Stillwater technology and innovation lead Alex Fenn said that its research, development and prior implementation of similar - yet less technologically advanced - initiatives lead it to take the AI avenue for its processing facilities.

"As the initiative deals with the backend of our value chain, the primary returns are almost wholly reflected in our bottom line and, at the scale at which we operate, are generally several orders of magnitude larger than the investment required to achieve them. We elected to partner with DataProphet based on their globally competitive capabilities in this space as well as their agility and professionalism."

Sibanye-Stillwater is the largest individual producer of gold in South Africa and is a top 10 global producer of gold, according to the miner's data. In addition to gold, the company also mines palladium and platinum.