PI System Reference Architecture for Mining and Mineral Processing - White Paper

Discussion created by rwilliams on Jan 6, 2020
Latest reply on Jan 7, 2020 by aewan

The mining and mineral processing industry encompasses a very wide range of operations (e.g. ore extraction, comminution, refining,smelting, etc.) and applies to an array of commodities such as base metals (like copper, zinc, nickel), energy (such as coal), ferrous metals, precious metals, precious stones (like diamonds), industrial materials (like aggregates), and fertilizers. The mining industry can be segregated into 2 distinct sectors:

  • Mining
  • Mineral processing


This document defines a recommended architecture for each of these sectors, for the sites, and for the enterprise. Since many facilities are located in remote locations and due to the various mine types, open pits, underground mines, and alluvial deposits; each use-case scenario will have its own specific set of challenges. However, most of these scenarios do have some common points of interest – the most prominent of which is that the industry in general is extremely energy and water intensive, and these are the major cost and environmental drivers affecting the profitability of the operations.


In terms of technologies, we are also seeing many challenges. Distributed sites, slow networks, data shadows, are all common concerns in harsh environments. In this regard, software infrastructure operating in this context must be both resilient and simple to deploy and manage.


OSIsoft’s PI System™ can integrate the distributed operational areas into one standardized information system for the site(s) and for the headquarters.  This provides the company with access to real-time data from across the enterprise in one standard format, allowing users access to the necessary information that allows for quick reaction to operational issues, improving the ability to analyze past events more effectively, and making better planning decisions. Existing customers having implemented a PI System™ infrastructure following the architecture best practices in the mining and mineral processing industry have typically been able to:

  • Manage and report water consumption
  • Energy use monitoring across units and plants
  • Rollup metrics and report comparable KPIs to top decision makers
  • Monitor and report environmental performance and impact on communities
  • Survey safety and air quality in underground mines
  • Provide visibility over mobile equipment
  • Oversee operational states
  • Track product quality for continuous improvement
  • Implement condition based maintenance of critical assets
  • Reduce asset downtime and increase overall plant availability
  • Carry out six sigma projects
  • Improve production reporting and forecasting by integrating with business systems


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