Canadian Mining Journal


Argus payload technology improves oilsands production efficiency

MineWare shares how its intelligent shovel monitoring technology improved payload management at a large oilsands operation in Canada.

Argus’ colour-coded, in-cab software display provides actionable information to the operator. The dynamic truck fill bar to the far right of the display helps the operator hit precise loading targets first time, every time Credit: MineWare

As digitization and automation continue to transform mining, Canada’s oilsands industry is one of the latest to adopt intelligent shovel monitoring technology to improve their payload management.

Supporting more than 100 mine sites worldwide, including both hard rock and soft rock applications copper, iron ore, diamonds, gold, bauxite, platinum, and coal, the Argus monitoring system is designed to manage payload, mine compliance and machine health for electric and hydraulic loaders across all makes and models.

A MineWare solution, Argus is improving payload performance at one of Canada’s largest oilsands mining sites, with trials also under way at another oilsands site of a similar size.

Justin Johnson, MineWare’s manager of customer value, says the first oilsands installation of Argus on six P&H shovels is helping site teams to reduce costs and move material and waste more efficiently.

Machine operators, supervisors and other personnel, onsite and remotely, are embracing the intuitive, real-time monitoring technology, Johnson said, and another three systems will be delivered onsite and installed on CAT shovels by the end of 2020.

In under twelve months, it’s promising to see how quickly the team has adopted Argus and its ability to provide instant feedback to machine operators inside the cab while supporting the customer’s growing remote teams,” Johnson said. “Before Argus, operators relied on manual processes and truck weights only, which were unreliable and inaccurate, resulting in poor payload management, more truck overloads and underloads, and significant variations in operator performance.”

He adds: “From day one, shovel operators were incredibly interested in how our system worked as well as how easily it could improve their performance on every pass and every shift.”

Argus supports continual improvement and benchmarking for supervisors and management with KPI scorecards and reporting.

Sustained results

In less than 12 months, the site has maintained over 90% of their loads within desired target payload ranges.

Making more accurate decisions, faster

Minimizing or eliminating operator variation and human error is a key driver in the continued digitization and automation of mining. “Smart monitoring systems such as Argus allow mine sites to make more accurate decisions faster, boost efficiency and reduce human error,” said Johnson.

In addition, connected solutions demand integration and interoperability, and the interoperable nature of the Argus system allows mines to use and share the data collected to make better decisions across the entire value chain.

By leveraging open and interoperable platforms, we can now share real-time, actionable information between systems, people and processes,” he said.

Most mines run mixed fleets of equipment, with multiple mining technology solutions monitoring different aspects of their operations up and down the mining value chain. For a mine to truly optimize and take the next step towards automation, the data needs to be shared up, down and across for it to deliver the most value.”

Argus can connect and integrate with any third-party system via a standard API, including leading global solutions such as Modular DISPATCH, Caterpillar MineStar, Wenco Fleet Management System, RPM Xecute, Leica Jigsaw and Maptek Vulcan.

We’re looking forward to continuing our work in the oilsands mining space and helping more sites improve their payload management, reduce costs and drive whole-of-mine efficiencies,” Johnson said.

In North America alone, MineWare’s intelligent monitoring systems Argus and Pegasys, together with our artificial intelligence-based drill automation platform Phoenix AI, now support 17 major mining companies across 35 unique mining operations including coal, iron ore, oilsands, diamonds, gold, aggregates and copper.

Clare Masters is the marketing director for MineWare. She can be reached at +61 424 261 947 or

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