by Philippine Resources - June 28, 2022

By: Christoph Klötzer, Hakan Arden Kahraman and Michalis Katapotis

The concept of 'Industrial Revolution 4.0' first introduced in Germany and has rapidly spread to other developed countries, describes the ongoing automation of traditional production and industrial applications using modern digital technology.  In this new era of Industrial Revolution 4.0, the mining industry too has inevitably started to focus on technology and digitalisation.  As there are many challenges ahead in this transformation process, DMT’s approach to this new era is to offer innovative and holistic Industry 4.0 solutions developed through a fastidious strategy which is expected in assisting to shape the autonomous mining vision of the future.  DMT’s approach to digital transformation is to go through initially a "Digital Due Diligence Process" to assess the existing business, identify digital potentials and operating opportunities and define a digitalisation roadmap.  DMT’s recommendation is that this process is accompanied by independent engineering and technology advice coming from an experienced partner in process design who will establish a Digital Transformation Office.  This approach includes three fundamental components:

  • “Operations” which cover the services used to provide companies with comprehensive guidance and support, systematic approaches to continually expand the offering of digital products and services covering the entire lifecycle of raw material extraction such as Reconnaissance, Exploration, Planning and Project Evaluation, Construction, Optimisation of Mining Operations, Environmental Aspects, Mine Closure and Site Remediation;
  • “People" which covers a corresponding digital transformation program for all employees of mining companies;
  • “Processes” which covers process optimisation for its Clients’ operations.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (or “Industrial Revolution 4.0”), has already identified a number of structural transformation and paradigm shifts in the societies that are expected in the coming years (Schwab, 2016).  These include:

  • The Internet of and for Things;
  • Automated vehicles;
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Decision-Making;
  • Robotics and Services;
  • Cryptocurrencies and the Blockchain;
  • The Sharing Economy (the use of a physical good/asset, or share service or provide a service by sharing);
  • 3D Printing in Manufacturing, Human health and Consumer Products;

As more of the “things” start to communicate and interact with each other in a more smart and artificial way in this Fourth Industrial Revolution particularly in the developed countries, it is inevitable that the mining segment will also benefit from this latest transformation in these economies. 

Considering the competitive nature of the business, the large international mining companies have already started to adjust themselves by digitising their mining operations across the value chain in line with the future generation of mines.  This obviously requires a remodelling of the business for growth and sustainability while using digital technology and innovation as a catalytic enabler within an existing legacy environment that behave like individual isolated units along the route from mine to processing to transport. 

Based on its long-proven ability to capture new developments and integrate them into its core competencies, DMT is passionate about the digitisation of existing products and services and on the development of new digital business models.

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Philippine Resources - November 28, 2021


DMT Consulting Limited, United Kingdom Globalisation of economies and technological advancements as well as the increased level of communication between the investors and project owners around the world has intensified the race to bring many existing and mining projects into the market place.  Prior to the 2008 financial crisis, the financing of the mining projects was less formal than today.  However, the financial crisis has made Lenders and Financial institutions more alert to the perceived risks especially for complex mining projects. Since the Lenders are not technical experts in mineral extraction, they leave the technical aspects and technical evaluation of the projects to reputable consulting engineers in the field.  However, anyone who may be interested in investing in a mining project should be aware of three fundamental questions (Arden & Lewis, 2014): Is the quantity and quality/grade of the raw commodity there in the ground? Can it be extractable? Is it worth extracting? These questions seem to be very simple, but the underlying proof for the answers that will be sought in a bankable feasibility study by a large technical team made up of a number of engineers and technical experts in different disciplines, is painstakingly complex, expensive, long, and tedious and requires a level of expertise and accreditation that is not always available from the local market.  Once all these questions are answered positively in principle, then the fundamentals of the project can be said to be in place.  When the project is proven to be technically and financially viable i.e. due diligence has been performed, it comes to the stage of financing/syndication. It is possible that a number of lenders may decide to finance the project to reduce the risk exposure.  It is up to these lenders and the borrower to negotiate the best deal for the project amongst themselves. Although a bankable feasibility study may determine the project details to an acceptable accuracy level and establish the fundamentals and foundations of the project, the uncertainties and risks associated in winning the raw commodity as well as any deviation from the expected results defined at feasibility stage can still be influential in determining the final outcome. It is also a well-known fact that the selection of contractors and suppliers for the project construction phase will have a huge impact on the project’s fate.  For these reasons alone, the Lenders will seek the assistance of the technical experts to ensure that the finance provided for the project will be utilised according to the protocol agreed with the Borrower.  This is to assure that the project will reach the production stage from the beginning to the end as agreed between the interested parties. Therefore, it is common place for Lenders (Commercial as well as Development banks and other funding agencies) to require Independent Lenders Engineers (ILE) to oversee the execution of Technical, Environmental and Social aspects of a project in order to provide security of the loans to reduce the risk exposure.

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Philippine Resources - August 05, 2022


Photo Credit: Arrow Creatives Nickel Asia Corporation, the Philippines’ largest producer of lateritic nickel ore, reported a 41-percent increase in attributable net income for the first semester this year. Based on unaudited financial and operating results for the six-month period ended June 30, 2022, attributable net income increased to P3.83 billion from P2.73 billion while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) increased by 19 percent to P6.33 billion from P5.32 billion the year prior. Despite lower ore volume sold during the period, revenues increased by 7 percent to P11.78 billion from P11.01 billion last year, owed largely to higher nickel ore prices and favorable exchange rates. NAC’s four operating mines sold a combined 6.95 million wet metric tons (WMT) of nickel ore during the first half of the year, down 16 percent from 8.30 million WMT in the same period last year. The drop in sales volume was almost in direct proportion to unrealized workable days caused by inclement weather that adversely affected the Company’s mining operations during the period. The weighted average nickel ore sales price over the first half of year 2022 rose by 18 percent to $30.03 per WMT against $25.54 per WMT in the same period last year. The Company also realized P52.56 per US dollar from these nickel ore sales, a 9-percent increase from P48.25 last year. Breaking down the ore sales, the Company exported 3.12 million WMT of saprolite and limonite ore at the average price of $42.05 per WMT during the six-month period compared to 4.55 million WMT at $37.62 per WMT in the same period last year. Likewise, the Company delivered 3.83 million WMT of limonite ore to the Coral Bay and Taganito high-pressure acid leach (HPAL) plants, the prices of which are linked to the London Metal Exchange (LME) and realized an average price of $12.52 per pound of payable nickel. This compares to 3.74 million WMT at $7.92 per pound of payable nickel in 2021. Expressed in US dollar per WMT, the average price for the deliveries to the HPAL plants were $20.23 and $10.85 in the first half of 2022 and 2021, respectively. “The first half of 2022 was not without its challenges especially for our mining operations, brought about by weather conditions at our mine sites, particularly in Surigao, and continuing lockdowns in China, our major market,” said Martin Antonio G. Zamora, President and CEO. "However, the higher LME nickel price and stronger US dollar tempered the impact on our revenues.” Owing to the higher LME nickel price during the period, NAC also recognized gains from its equity share in investments in the two HPAL plants in the combined amount of P1.09 billion against P244.1 million year-on-year. The stronger US dollar further enabled NAC to log a 353-percent hike in net foreign exchange gains from its foreign currency-denominated net financial assets to P863.5 million from P190.6 million the year prior. Total operating cash costs decreased by 2 percent year-on-year to P5.19 billion from P5.32 billion last year. On a per-WMT sold basis, total operating cash costs increased to P747 per WMT compared to P641 per WMT in 2021. For the Company’s renewable energy business, its subsidiary, Emerging Power, Inc. (EPI) energized in June 2022 another 38-megawatt (MW) solar farm in Subic, Zambales, bringing total capacity on this site to 100MW. For 2022, the Subic plant has been operating at an 18- 19% plant efficiency factor with 90% of generation contracted under power sales agreements. EPI has realized an average tariff of P4.65 per kilowatt hour. EPI has another 100MW service contract for the Subic site and will commence construction of a 68-MW farm in August. Completion is expected by the third quarter of next year. EPI was also chosen by Shell Overseas Investments B.V. to be its exclusive local partner in a solar, onshore wind, and battery storage joint venture that aims to contribute up to 3GW into the Philippines’ renewable capacity. NAC is evaluating a range of financing alternatives including accessing global debt capital markets to raise EPI’s share of the equity required for an initial 1GW target by 2028, among other uses. The Company’s strong financial position will allow it to be opportunistic in evaluating funding options that meet the primary objective of maintaining a flexible low-cost capital structure. “We remain confident that our mining and renewable energy businesses provide a solid foundation on which to realize the OneNAC Vision’s twin objectives, which is to become the premier ESG investment in the country and to be counted among the Top 25 PSE-listed companies in terms of market capitalization by 2025,” said Zamora.   Article courtesy of the Philippine Stock Exchange


Philippine Resources - August 04, 2022

Further shallow copper mineralisation identified at MCB

Figure 3. Cross section of drill hole MCB-039 relative to the interpreted geology and significant assay results. We (Celsius Resources) are pleased to announce we have received further shallow and high-grade copper assay results from the ongoing drilling program at our flagship MCB copper-gold project, held under our Philippine subsidiary Makilala Mining Company, Inc. (“MMCI”).  The results continue to identify new positions of shallow mineralisation which are in line with other recent drilling results from holes MCB-036, MCB-037 and MCB-038 (see CLA announcements dated 13 December 2021, 23 May 2022 and 4 July 2022 respectively) confirming the presence of an extensive shallow higher-grade position.  The results from MCB-039 were designed to further expand the size of the shallow higher-grade copper zones which are considered to have an important positive impact on early mining options at MCB. The current drill hole in progress (MCB-040) is similarly designed to further expand the higher-grade copper mineralisation leading to potential improvements to the economics of the already positive Scoping Study at MCB as reported by Celsius on 1 December 2021. “The results from MCB are continuing to grow the size of the shallow higher-grade copper zones,” said Country Operations Director, Peter Hume. “We are getting much better definition now on the various high-grade zones, which are important for the optimisation of the MCB mine plan. We can see many good high-grade intersections coming together to expand on the earlier understanding of these high-grade zones. Where we get multiple high-grade zones staked on top of each other, we can achieve outstanding results, as recently announced from hole MCB-038 which intersected 611.4m @ 1.39% copper and 0.75g/t gold from 32.5m.” RESULTS FROM MCB-039 Drill hole MCB-039 was drilled to further confirm the interpretation that further shallow high-grade positions exist as a relatively flat body extending into the surrounding host rocks (see Figures 2 and 3). This drill hole was more specifically targeted to fill a gap in the drilling information where there was previously defined lower grade copper mineralisation. The results from MCB-039 have confirmed the further extensions to the higher-grade copper mineralisation as part of a series of relatively flat lying, high-grade zones which are extending away from vertically orientated feeder structures which are all closely related to an intrusive Tonalite rock (Figure 3). Figure 2. Location of MCB-039 drill hole relative to recent and historical diamond drilling at MCB.​​​​​ A large broader envelope of copper mineralisation at a lower cut-off grade at approximately 0.2% copper also continues to be better defined, highlighting the very large scale of the copper-gold mineralisation at the MCB deposit. Table 1: Significant intersections from drill holes MCB-039.   Article courtesy of Celsius Resources. Full press release can be found HERE


Philippine Resources - August 04, 2022

Diokno banks on mining for sustained economic recovery, expansion

Photo credit: PNA - Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the mining industry is a potential source of sustained economic growth as he underscored the benefit of mobilizing investments for mine development. “The mining industry holds the greatest potential to be a key driver in our economic recovery and long-term growth, especially now that world metal prices are high. The Philippines, after all, is one of the world’s most richly endowed countries in terms of mineral resources,” he said Wednesday at the listing of Philex Mining Corporation’s (Philex) common shares in the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE). Philex is mobilizing investments for the development of its Silangan underground copper-gold mine in Surigao del Norte. In a disclosure to the PSE, the company said it is offering a maximum of 842 million common shares at the rate of one offer share for every 5.8674 shares owned for PHP3.15 each to raise a total of PHP2.652 billion new equity. The stocks rights offering (SRO) period started on July 12, 2022 and ended July 25, 2022. The Silangan project, considered one of the biggest copper-gold mines in the country, is planned to be mined in two phases. The first phase has a mineable ore reserve of 81 million metric tonnes which will be mined for 22 years at a rate of 4 million tonnes per year. The mine is targeted to commence commercial operations in the first quarter of 2025. Diokno said Philex’ SRO listing demonstrates the mining industry’s confidence in the country’s promising economic growth prospects.   He said the offering means more jobs will be created, local economies will be reinvigorated, and additional revenues will be contributed to the government.  The Department of Finance (DOF) estimates that the project will generate around PHP8.5 billion in excise taxes alone for its entire mine life. Diokno said the listing sends a strong signal to the mining industry that the country's capital markets are viable instruments for fast tracking the development of large mining projects.   He said the Marcos administration is committed to continue creating an enabling environment for mining activities to flourish in the country as he looks forward to similar listings in the future. “We recognize that apart from boosting local development, mining is a strong magnet for investments that can propel our economy into a higher growth trajectory,” he added. Diokno said the government expects the mining industry to strictly adhere to responsible and sustainable mining practices.  He said the mining industry should strike a balance between protecting the environment, uplifting local communities, and supporting the government’s socioeconomic agenda. “This is a non-negotiable condition so we can guarantee the sustainability of the industry and the strong economic growth of its host communities,” he said.    Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency

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