WMC Resources, Australia

Accessing the Outback: Remoteness Doesn't Deter WMC Resources

Mining industry leader uses Intergraph plant information technology to drive a distributed engineering environment.

industry With more than 4,700 employees, WMC Resources is one of the largest mining companies in the world. The company’s Olympic Dam mining and processing site in remote Roxby Downs, South Australia, is the largest known multi-metal and uranium ore deposit. The site has a footprint 5 kilometers long by 3 kilometers wide, and produces 25,000 metric tons of ore a day and 200,000 metric tons of copper each year.

Olympic Dam demands a high level of engineering excellence. WMC has partnered with Intergraph to provide a resilient and flexible engineering IT infrastructure. Although WMC’s capital engineering is headquartered in the southeastern city of Adelaide, access to engineering information is needed daily to support operations and maintenance (O&M) at the Olympic Dam site in the Australian outback.

WMC has tackled the problem by adopting Intergraph’s plant information management solution, SmartPlant® Foundation, and using the Internet as the delivery mechanism. The simple user interface provided can be easily accessed by the operations and maintenance personnel on site: familiarity with an Internet browser is the only prerequisite. “Easy to use and easy to train,” as WMC Design Coordinator Trevor Porter puts it.

As well known in the industry, engineering document management has special requirements and SmartPlant Foundation’s rules-based engineering numbering system, CAD file management, file view and markup, revisioning and versioning have been essential to WMC’s O&M environment. For example, SmartPlant Foundation’s CAD file management allows WMC users to manage both primary reference files as well as nested reference files. This means that when they are storing and retrieving files they also have the ability to store and retrieve associated files at the same time, ensuring that they have all the relevant data.

But to maintain the plant’s integrity, WMC recognizes it needs to manage more than just the documents. Documents are containers of information, information that is shared across multiple documents, for example, the flow rate of a pump. Maintaining the accuracy and consistency of this shared information across related documents is difficult. And this is compounded when the pump’s flow rate changes.

Managing the associated engineering information as data in its own right and cross-referencing it to related documents helps achieve plant integrity. Integrating engineering systems with other business systems is another essential component. WMC’s selected Intergraph’s engineering information management solution to provide the infrastructure for both current and future requirements.

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