Accenture launches Applied Intelligence Studio for mining in Johannesburg

07 February 2019

With the objective of supporting the struggling mining sector in South Africa, global management consultancy Accenture plans to establish an Applied Intelligence Studio in Johannesburg for the development of integrated digital and data analytics solutions for mining companies. 

A global dip in commodity prices in 2014 sent the mining sector in South Africa into a nosedive of sorts, causing severe dents in the sector’s revenues as well as in its market capitalisation. Despite relative stability in global prices since then, the sector has struggled to bring revenues back to their original levels.

In the wake of the revenue dip, experts have put forth one primary suggestion to help the sector rebuild itself – digitalisations. Last year, Big Four accounting and advisory firm Deloitte has predicted the advent of the digital mine, which leverages industry 4.0 technologies to optimise mining operations and identify faulty areas in real time.

The firm launched an integrated digital solution for the mining sector, which is based on enterprise resources planning technology and allows for functions such as Short Interval Control and Unstructured Supplementary Service Data, among others. Accenture is now looking to support this movement towards digital mining.

Accenture launches Applied Intelligence Studio for mining in Johannesburg

The management consulting firm will establish and Applied Intelligence Studio for the mining sector in Johannesburg by the end of February. The studio will be lent digital expertise from Accenture’s Applied Intelligence department, while the technical knowledge will be supplied by the firm’s global mining solutions practice.

Commenting on the establishment, Senior Managing Director and Lead for Accenture’s global mining business said, “Volatile commodity prices, rising input costs and changing global demand for commodities require mining companies to rethink their strategies and business models to remain competitive. They are increasingly looking to apply advanced analytics to reimagine processes, unlock trapped value, and drive operational excellence in their businesses today and position themselves for growth tomorrow.”

Caroline Belrose, Africa Lead for Accenture Applied Science and data science added, “We are currently recruiting data scientists with engineering and mining experience to rapidly scale the studio’s capabilities. “They will join Accenture Applied Intelligence’s global team of more than 3,000 data scientists and work collaboratively with our global digital and local Accenture teams to deliver digital solutions to address the mining sector's unique challenges as well as priorities. This work will help ensure operational efficiencies, worker safety and reduce environmental harm.”

The new Applied Intelligence Studio now supplements Accenture’s Liquid Innovation Studio and Liquid Design Studio in Johannesburg, which will combine to offer the latest digital solutions to several of South Africa’s most important sectors.



SRK Exploration Services appoints John Paul Hunt as new Local Manager

13 March 2019

South African mining consultancy SRK Consulting has appointed John Paul Hunt as a new Local Manager for its Exploration Services Vertical. Hunt will join the firm’s Johannesburg office, and will help with domestic delivery in South Africa as well as international delivery from the firm’s Cardiff office.

Hunt holds a degree in Economic Geology as well as a degree in Resource Evaluation from the University of Witwatersand, and a degree in Applied Geostatistics from the University of Alberta. He began his professional career as an Economic Geologist at Norilsk Nickel Africa, where he worked for a period of six years.

He then moved on to become an Exploration Manager at Newgenco Exploration, following which he ascended to Chief Executive Officer at First Drill – a position that he held for just under two years. Between 2015 and 2018, Hunt worked as a Spcialist Scientist for Economic Geology at the Council for Geoscience.

He joined SRK Exploration Services in August Last year as a Senior Exploration Strategist, and has now been promoted to the position of Local Manager for South Africa. At SRK, he will leverage his expertise in exploration programmes from the planning to the execution phase, at a time when such services are of the essence for the economy.John Paul Hunt - SRKFollowing the dip in global commodity prices in 2014, the mining sector in South Africa has struggled to maintain its previously soaring levels, both in terms of revenue and in terms of market capitalisation. Such a scenario has proved catastrophic for the country, given its high dependence on mining.

A number of experts on the mining industry have since been recommending possible courses of action to help instigate a recovery. The broad consensus has been that more expansive and efficient exploration is the solution, given that the country might still have undiscovered mineral deposits.

SRK Consulting has been among the firms most active in supporting the sector through its time of turbulence. The firm has produced extensive analysis on South African mining, informing firms about a range of functions, from digital exploration to cost cutting under new regulatory frameworks.

The firm appointed a new Chairman – William Joughin – early last year, which makes Hunt the second major appointment in a year. Hunt will hope to boost the firm’s competitiveness as international consulting firms look to rush in and support South African mining companies in trouble.