From the earliest days of digging into the earth for minerals, one question has been raised by all those seeking to make use of the materials the earth offers up: what exactly have we dug up and is it what we hoped it would be? Well we’re not panning for gold anymore and hoping for a glint of something shiny at the bottom of our pans, unless we hobbyists. Modern mining operations have the advantage because today we rely on sophisticated laboratory information management systems (LIMS) to determine the quality and content of the materials sourced from the earth. In the laboratory or in the field, mining companies are focused on improving efficiencies and controlling processes so that they can verify the quality of their end products, improve margins and maintain adherence to local environmental, governmental or other regulatory requirements, such as ISO 17025.
A LIMS is an essential part of mining and metals laboratories, and today serves as the foundation for a completely automated lab by integrating with instruments and other laboratory tools, as well as enterprise systems like PIMS, MES and ERP solutions. And because a lot of the revenue of the mining company can be generated at the downstream operations level delivering processed materials to end users and other manufacturers, a LIMS is critical to determining a clear picture of the work-in-progress status of the lab at any point in time, identifying potential process bottlenecks and producing real-time analysis of large amounts of data for quality control purposes.
Mining Magazine published a good article authored by Colin Thurston, Managing Lab Data, laboratory information-management systems in modern mining, which outlines the benefits of a LIMS in a mining operation. The application example showcases the Codelco mine in Chile, the largest copper mine in the world. You might want to read the full Codelco case study about the company’s use of SampleManager LIMS to horizontally integrate with existing enterprise systems and also integrate several remote and networked systems into a unique and common platform.
Modern mining operations need sophisticated informatics solutions to help improve efficiencies and quality and ensure profitability. A good Mining Resource Page outlines how mining companies are looking for a full range of products that service exploration through processing – products that can handle industrial conditions and deliver high levels of accuracy year after year. Companies that can provide a comprehensive portfolio of solutions, from informatics solutions, bulk weighing and monitoring systems,portable elemental analysis and automatic sampling systems to online sampling and analysis stations will benefit from long-term partnerships with the mining industry. Use this Mining Resource Page to find a comprehensive list of solutions for mining companies, as well as technical information and additional published materials.