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Sunday, 25 August 2019

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Focus on industry relationships sets Micromine apart
Austmine Limited

Focus on industry relationships sets Micromine apart

Building strong relationships with mining industry partners continues to guide the growth of software developer MICROMINE.

After more than 30 years in mining, the global solutions provider has maintained this focus in an increasingly competitive environment where more emphasis than ever is placed on increasing efficiencies and reducing costs.

MICROMINE’s reputation as a leading global provider of intuitive mining solutions that span the entire mining process speaks for itself.

Whether it is the namesake MICROMINE software, or the complementary Geobank and Pitram, the company’s solutions have become well known to mining and exploration companies around the world.

Earlier this year, the spotlight was on MICROMINE’s Pitram, which was implemented at MMG’s Dugald River zinc mine in north-west Queensland.

The mine, one of the world’s highest-grade zinc deposits, has an optimised mine plan that supports a 1.7 million tonne per annum (Mtpa) operation, with annual production of around 170,000 tonnes of zinc in zinc concentrate.

Pitram allows the mine’s control room administrators to capture live data, ensuring data accuracy, as well as increased efficiency and control over equipment, tasks and personnel.

The Materials Management module, which uses mine design, survey and production data to provide real-time stockpile balances throughout the mining operation, was also part of the Dugald River deployment of Pitram.

The module adds value to the Dugald River operation by providing an accurate method of tracking the material flow, including grades from source to processing.

MICROMINE has released Pitram 4.9, the latest version of the fleet management and mine control system.

Pitram joins MICROMINE – a comprehensive and easy-to-use exploration and mine design solution – and Geobank – a secure and flexible data management system – to provide mining companies with an end-to-end software offering.

Despite its complete software portfolio, product strategy manager Mark Gabbitus emphasised the importance the company placed on establishing relationships with customers to support these solutions.

“One of our key aims is to keep that strong integration with our clients through great support, great service and training,” Gabbitus said.

“Basically, we listen to their problems and develop our software based on their needs – that’s what MICROMINE has been famous for over the past 30 years. We want to continue on that path.”

Gabbitus, who is responsible for the development of the Geobank products, joined MICROMINE in October 2016 – around the same time the company announced Claire Tuder as the new chief executive officer of the company, replacing her father and founder, Graeme.

He said the expansion of the Geobank team, both in Australia and internationally, had been a notable achievement in his first year with MICROMINE.

This growing team supports the latest release of Geobank, which has delivered improved usability, functionality and performance, as well as a variety of user benefits for exploration and mining companies.

Gabbitus explained why Geobank has proved to be such a valuable asset for mining companies wanting to effectively manage their accumulation of data.

“If I asked what’s the most important asset a mine has, most people say it is the trucks, or the plant, or it’s the people, but it’s the whole operational database because every single decision a company makes is based on the information that is in the database,” Gabbitus said.

“Then you go into MICROMINE, which builds a block model and does all your scheduling, and then you have Pitram which handles the execution of the schedule and reporting of that information, so you know where things went and then you can reconcile and close that loop.

“That’s the value, we are a single vendor providing all those assets through the mining value chain.”

Gabbitus added it was critical for product strategy managers to develop close relationships with companies so the company could identify exactly what they would need from the next generation of software packages.

“As a product strategy manager, my job at its most basic level is to listen to what a client tells me and then translate that to a programmer so they can develop the product for release,” Gabbitus explained.

“The art of it is not just listening to what they say they want but digging down to find what they need. They don’t always tell you what they need but more often what they think they want.”

With Australia’s mining industry being a large, yet close knit community, Gabbitus said this personable approach was critical for MICROMINE to maintain its reputation in a competitive environment.

“Everyone knows everyone – you have to maintain that strong relationship. It is really hard to make strong relationships in mining because you have to build trust. Our longlasting relationships are something we really pride ourselves on at MICROMINE,” he concluded.

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