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Digitalization of short interval control and production scheduling in mining

How to bring mining operators and supervisors closer to understanding where the entire mine stands with respect to overall goals of the day, week, month and year - for optimal use of shift time and assets (personnel, equipment and activities).

Want to improve the speed at which mining production can be tracked and automatically matched to expectations?

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Manual scheduling of the vast number of interdependent mining activities is a hard task

In an ordinary open-pit or underground mining operation, the weekly production schedule  received by the short-term planners is based on the medium-term production plan. This schedule is then divided into days, shift and hours for detailed planning and scheduling of resources.

Although it may seem simple, the coordination between the tactical plan and the operational plan is one of the top challenges faced in modern mining. Imperfect coordination often limits the mine's ability to operate at maximum profitability.

Mine operators constantly consider and evaluate a complex set of operational constraints, adjusting to ever-changing day-to-day, hour-to-hour situations. Mine planners often have to build a short-term plan with limited visibility of ongoing activities in the mine, which can impact operational efficiency and raise costs.

ABB believes that only by enabling true integration of operational technology and information technology can the gap between the tactical plan and the operational plan be closed.






Digitalizing short interval control enables super fast feedback loops on production tracking against targets at short-term intervals so that decisions and actions can be taken to minimize deviations.







Fast production feedback at short intervals requires a cutting-edge scheduling system

When high-level planning is combined with low-level control, the mine operator acts as a dispatcher, optimizing resource usage in real time and following the production plan more effectively.
ABB Ability™ Operations Management System for mining integrates two tools into the same digital platform: Short Interval Control and the Closed Loop Scheduler.

Short Interval Control allows mine operators to monitor and review operational plans and performance based on targets, metrics and KPIs. Variances can be analyzed and mitigated in real time during a shift for immediate corrective action or they may be reviewed and reported upon at the end of shift.


The Closed Loop Scheduler combines high-level planning with low-level control. The short-term planner achieves new levels of production scheduling efficiency and can maximize production throughout blast cycles, haulage, crushing, ore processing and transport. The mine operator then acts as a dispatcher, optimizing resource usage in real time  and following the production plan more effectively.













Assuming, a drilling cycle missed a blast round

Let us talk about ABB Ability™ Operations Management System in practice and let us assume that a drilling cycle has missed a blast round. In this case, the disturbance is putting the production at risk.

  • The local operator reports a machine failure and the estimated delay that may be caused.
  • The shift manager has a dashboard system in his workplace and gets notified immediately.
  • The shift manager and the mine coordinator can discuss among themselves and run what-if analysis to simulate different solutions.
  • Since all staff see the same information, they can jointly decide what actions to take in real time, no need to wait until the end of the shift







The shift manager and the mine coordinator can discuss among themselves and run "what-if" analysis to simulate different solutions.






Moving towards a continuous and large-scale mine-to-port operation

This progression in mining has reduced variability and has improved responsiveness to unplanned events

Advanced planning and automation allow mines to act as ore factories, moving  toward a continuous and large-scale mine-to-port operation.

  • This progression in mining has reduced variability and has improved responsiveness to unplanned events.
  • Equipment availability is also maximized by moving from a reactive to a predictive maintenance model.
  • All through blasting, crushing and haulage to the surface, production flow from the face is also maximized.
  • Ore inventory can be tracked and controlled to allow maximum flow and optimal grade.
  • This modern approach to mining increases operational awareness for all personnel.

The unique ABB Ability Operations Management System approach effectively closes the loop between planned and real-life operation.

Achieve a higher level of automation & optimization

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