Innovation and the future of underground mining

PYBAR's iPlod plod data system

Innovation and the future of underground mining

July 3, 2018
Innovation, Underground Mining

In 2016 PYBAR Mining Services launched its own innovation program as part of its business strategy and ongoing commitment to continuous improvement.

In 2016 PYBAR Mining Services launched its own innovation program as part of its business strategy and ongoing commitment to continuous improvement.

Designed to ensure we meet the changing needs of the industry and continue to add value, the program leverages our flexibility and agility to facilitate inhouse competency in technology development, site-based technology trials and collaborations and partnerships with stakeholders both within and outside the industry.

Inhouse development

Our inhouse program is primarily focused on improving the transfer, capture and use of data to facilitate more meaningful analysis and greater visibility in areas requiring operational improvements.

Developed entirely inhouse, iPlod is an application that allows our equipment operators to input their plod data directly into a tablet and upload it to a local version of our database for supervisors to validate and approve.

The system has been successfully rolled out to most of our sites and is already delivering efficiencies – saving time and enabling paperless reporting.

iPlod has many other features at various stages of development and continues to advance as a key communications and data tool for our site crews.


Partnering with technology developers, equipment manufacturers, asset owners and entrepreneurs to test, co-develop or support the development of solutions to industry challenges is an important part of PYBAR’s innovation strategy.

Crews’ capability to operate technologically advanced machinery, navigate software and identify areas for improvement is of increasing importance. In partnership with our clients, we proactively seek out opportunities to upskill our workforce in the latest equipment, apps and optimised processes to give us a clear competitive advantage.

Our innovation program has seen us undertake many trials of new third party technologies and advanced equipment that we believe have the potential to improve project outcomes. Trial results are recorded and shared with stakeholders and implemented on a best-for-project basis. Recent examples include:

  • the testing and implementation of the Sandvik AutoMine-Lite tele-remote system at the Carrapateena mine in SA;
  • the trials of emulsion explosives at various sites;
  • testing of the new generation Cat R1700 loader at Vivien gold mine in WA; and
  • the development of an exciting IoT project underway at one of our sites in NSW.

This year we will continue to develop our program and build on our inhouse capabilities as we lay the foundations of a dedicated inhouse innovation and continuous improvement resource that will keep us at the forefront of innovation in underground mining.


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