News & Events

There’s always something going on at Deswik…

How Deswik’s online consultancy services can help maximize ROI on mine planning technology during the COVID-19 crisis

April 7, 2020

Deswik has a stellar record for developing software to improve the efficiency of mine planning and, ultimately, mining operations – but that’s only half the story.

Deswik’s global consulting services division has always worked hand in hand with the company’s software development team, to solve operational issues in design and scheduling.

The consulting division comprises more than 170 mining engineers and geologists, who have operational and project-based experience across all commodities and mining methods. In 2019, they collectively spent more than 250,000 hours working with Deswik clients on six continents.

Embracing a new service delivery model

Historically, Deswik has delivered consulting services face-to-face but travel bans and shutdown provisions imposed by governments in response to the COVID-19 crisis have created a significant logistical challenge.

Where travel to and from sites is time consuming, costly or restricted by health directives, Deswik is now working with those customers to deliver training, mentoring, model building and troubleshooting services digitally.

Deswik has identified communications and software tools that allow consultants to recreate the interactive, collaborative feel of a face-to-face session, and lines of communication are tested in advance, to ensure sessions run smoothly on the day.

Deswik eastern Australia consulting manager John Buffington said many customers, in Australia and globally, had engaged in online sessions and found them efficient and effective.

“Our team is committed to assisting mining companies to combat the disruption caused by the COVID-19 crisis and to continue, as far as is practicable, with ‘business as usual’,” Buffington said.

Helping clients optimize their use of software tools

While Deswik’s mode of service delivery has had to change, the consulting team’s dedication to helping customers optimize their use of Deswik’s market-leading software tools has not. Those tools will continue to be put through their paces on each and every one of the mining engineering projects this highly skilled team tackles each year.

Consultants work closely with Deswik’s software development team to solve customer challenges, identify more efficient processes and methodologies and provide feedback ‘from the coal face’, on how Deswik software modules can be enhanced.

When opportunities for improvements in the tools are identified, the Deswik development team provides highly responsive support to the consulting team. The continual flow of new functionality to solve the latest mine planning puzzles is a big part of what keeps Deswik’s tools at the frontline of mine planning technology.

Thanks to the tag team nature of the relationship between Deswik’s consultants and developers, they’re able to draw on the collective expertise of their colleagues around the globe, to resolve complex and specialized issues quickly and cost-effectively for Deswik clients.

A comprehensive suite of services

The consulting team’s remit includes: mine planning, design and scheduling work that is always focused on “doing it better”; equipment selection; software implementation and process review; mine rehabilitation, water analysis and closure; technical due diligence, scoping, pre-feasibility and feasibility studies; and ongoing engineering and training support.

Deswik consultants also carry out regular mine planning ‘health checks’ for clients, to ensure they’re abreast of new developments and are using Deswik’s suite of mine planning tools and modules to best advantage.

Consulting assignments vary in length, from a couple of days of troubleshooting or training, to several years designing, implementing and optimizing enterprise-wide mine planning processes and solutions.

A large volume of consulting projects is in the underground metals sphere, which accounts for more than 50 per cent of Deswik licence sales. These assignments range from helping to finetune short -term operational design and scheduling to life of mine planning and feasibility projects for new mining areas.

Recent enhancements to Deswik’s flagship underground drill and blast module, Deswik.UGDB, have led to increasing demand for its use in operations planning and projects.

Whatever the challenge, Deswik is here to help

Buffington said the ongoing shortage of mining engineers around the globe has resulted in Deswik being asked to take on an increasingly broad range of assignments in recent years.

“Our involvement can consist of mentoring and advising the customer on an ad hoc basis, through to completing design and scheduling projects over several years – and every type of assignment in between,” Buffington says.

“It’s a continuum and we can work with our customers at any point along that mine planning line.”

Whatever the scope and scale of the project, the consulting team’s aim is to empower clients and increase their knowledge base. Deswik’s preference is to work in conjunction with on-site mine planners, to ensure their invaluable local knowledge is captured and capitalised on. At the same time, those users have the opportunity to tap into the expertise of Deswik experts, leaving them better placed to derive maximum benefit from the tools after projects go live.

“Thanks to the breadth and depth of our experience, we’re often asked by clients to assist them on a more extensive or strategic basis than that for which we were brought on board initially,” Buffington says.

“Our aim is to leave a legacy, to leave things better than we found them, by working side by side with clients, to come up with new strategies and more efficient ways of doing things.

“The COVID-19 crisis has forced Deswik and its customers to embrace new ways of working but that’s one thing that will remain unchanged.”

For further information please visit: