Advancing Together With Barrick Gold

Environment Waterlogged no more

Database project makes it easier to visualize, share and analyze water treatment data

One of the key elements of Barrick’s ongoing digital transformation is to enable easy, rapid and comprehensive access to data from across our operations. This allows us to make decisions based on facts and figures, trends and patterns, and data analytics. Ultimately, it is helping us find new ways to generate value.

As part of our water management strategy, Barrick is implementing a project to collect and visualize data from our water treatment plants around the world. These plants, which treat water in accordance with strict regulatory and permitting standards, collect large amounts of data about the water they treat, their treatment processes and technologies, and their operating expenses.

However, historically, this data hasn’t been easy to share or analyze—making it difficult to effectively evaluate how the Company can improve performance and manage costs. Water treatment is one of Barrick’s largest operating expenses and, potentially, one of the Company’s biggest closure commitments globally. This project will improve Barrick’s understanding of its water treatment data, which will drive better performance and help Barrick meet its water stewardship goals.

The situation

Barrick has more than 30 water treatment plants at its operating and closure sites around the world.

Data collected at these plants are stored in disparate databases in multiple locations, making the information difficult to share, analyze, and act upon.

Lori Manoukian, Environmental Metallurgist at AuTec Innovative Extractive Solutions, elaborates on the current situation. AuTec is a Barrick subsidiary that develops solutions to complex mining industry challenges. It is leading the water data project.

The challenge

To facilitate quick and easy access to key data from all Barrick water treatment plants.

Peter Kondos, Senior Director, Strategic Technology Solutions at Barrick, and the sponsor of the project, elaborates on the rationale for the initiative.

The solution

To consolidate Barrick’s water treatment data into a centralized database that allows users to easily view, analyze and compare the data.

The database is displayed in easy-to-read dashboards using a Microsoft visualization product called Power BI.

Consolidating the data and the user interface on Power BI began in January and is expected to be complete by year end.

David Sanguinetti, a third-party technical consultant who is working on the project, talks about the high level of collaboration from sites.

What does this mean?

With Power BI, users can view, analyze and compare the following data from every Barrick water treatment plant:

  • Water treatment processes and technologies used at each plant
  • The quality of water before it enters a plant, or influent quality
  • The quality of water after it is treated, or effluent quality
  • Water flow rates at each plant
  • Operating costs at each plant

Data on Power BI will be presented as monthly averages to allow users to identify and analyze longer-term performance trends without being distracted by day-to-day fluctuations.

With the data readily available in a user-friendly interface, Barrick people involved in water management—water treatment plant operators, mine-site leaders, senior leaders at Barrick’s corporate office, as well as the environment, water, closure, permitting, and sustainability groups, to name a few—will be better able to:

  • Address Barrick’s future water treatment needs
  • Measure how plants are operating against permitting requirements, and gather supporting data for future permits
  • Advance our understanding of:
    • Water treatment technology specifications
    • Historical performance
    • Water treatment plant operating costs
  • Enhance transparency around water treatment and promote collaboration between Barrick’s water treatment community
  • More effectively evaluate new water treatment technologies

Noelene Ahern, Senior Manager, Strategic Technology Solutions at Barrick, discusses how the project is already contributing to the evaluation of new treatment technologies.

Next steps

To complete full automation of data feeds into Power BI.

Barrick’s water team will create a plan to coordinate data-sharing initiatives, ensure relevant site personnel are trained on Power BI, and that the database is properly maintained.

John McCartney, Vice President of Water Management at Barrick, explains how this initiative fits into Barrick’s Water Management Strategy.