Michael O’Kane, Founder
As digitalization and automation sweeps through the mining space, organizations are overwhelmed with large volumes of data generated from mining processes, their equipment, and the mining environment as a whole. While new technologies are growing rapidly, organizations are finding it hard to bring the data together to develop a conceptual model that supports them in actively managing mine waste landforms and assets, as well as closure risk. In this scenario, the question is: how to gather, store, and extract meaningful information from data silos efficiently. Okane Consultants (Okane) has the answer.
Having been in the mining industry for over two decades, Okane interprets meaningful information from site-specific data and combines it with effective communication tools such as conceptual models to support mine closure planning for long-term management of mine wastes. “Our unique modeling technologies and data management tools allow us to develop conceptual and predictive analytical models that support clients in managing risk throughout their asset’s lifecycle,” says Mike O’Kane, founder of Okane.
Okane began its journey in closure planning focusing on engineered cover systems then broadened its scope to include entire landform designs, which includes mined rock and tailings management.
Today, Okane is a global leader in the mining space for its proficiency in mine-life-cycle optimization, closure planning and performance monitoring. “Our innovation and expertise in the mining space has helped us constantly evolve and improve our design methodology for closure planning,” remarks O’Kane.
The company has a unique approach to closure planning that helps clients make informed decisions while identifying opportunities at all stages of an asset’s life cycle. Okane collaborates with various stakeholders from the early stages of a project and incorporates tools such as failure mode and effects analyses (FMEA) to achieve cost effective and efficient closure outcomes for clients. One of the key benefits of coupling conceptual models with an FMEA approach is its ability to proactively evaluate the risks that closure impose on the client’s business, workers, the surrounding environment, and public. Okane’s clients generate long-term value while reducing future environmental liabilities and costs by purposefully integrating closure planning early and often in the mine-life-cycle.
When it comes to client engagement, Okane starts the process by understanding the challenges, requirements, and conceptualizesa workflow to address the issue faced by the client. According to O’Kane, “Our meaningful connection with clients helps us interpret their data silos and demands, and choose the workflow that integrates all of this data into a single database to meet any potential user’s requirements.”
Alongside closure planning, Okane also focuses on developing site-specific sustainable practices for improved management of mine rock stockpiles and tailings storage facilities. Okane monitors the performance of sites in every climatic condition possible and helps clients store the data obtained securely. This data is utilized consistently to understand what can be improved. O’Kane speaks of one particular case where an Australian client was experiencing acid rock drainage (ARD) from one of its largest mined rock stockpiles. The client turned to Okane for their opinion regarding the collection and treatment of ARD. Through their integrated approach Okane demonstrated that the company could reduce its closure costs by moving themined rock a few kilometers farther, incrementally increasing haulage cost, but significantly decreasing the long-termcosts of treating the ARD. Okane’s proven process provided the client with substantial long-term savings.
What makes Okane unique from the competition is its inherent curiosity, collaborative multidisciplinary team, and revolutionary modeling tools that can analyze complex closure scenarios. Using Okane’s Roadmap to Closure (RtC), the team has been able to recommend practical solutions that manage client risk and meet shareholder expectations. “With core values at the heart of our functions and client engagements, we are able to develop cost-effective solutions with better results to meet our client’s requirements,” concludes O’Kane.