Biz-Community (Cape Town)

6 July 2012

Africa: Barnstone Mining Solution Well Suited for Africa's Mid-Mining Sector

Designed specifically for mid-market mines, the Barnstone Mining Solution has proved to be effective in the African mining and exploration environment. The Barnstone Mining Solution is a SAP-certified version of SAP's All-in-One enterprise resource planning software.

"We developed the mining solution with mid-market mining companies very much in mind," says Conrad Steyn, CEO of Barnstone. "In today's volatile commodity markets, mines have to be both lean and agile as they find and rapidly bring on stream mineral deposits in remote areas. They don't have the luxury of time or big budgets, but they need the rigour and industry-leading practices that SAP brings."

The Barnstone Mining Solution offers financial and management, project systems, plant maintenance, procure-to-pay and inventory management modules at a fixed price. Once it is stabilised, clients have the option to build on the basic solution.

Putting solution to the test

The mining division within global commodities group Trafigura recently put the mining solution to the test. Its Angola Exploration and Mining Resources joint venture (AEMR) is in the process of building an open-cast iron ore mine from scratch, including all the supporting infrastructure down to access roads. With the project already underway, the company needed an enterprise resource planning system. Barnstone was able to implement SAP using the template in just 12 weeks.

This kind of speed was made possible because the template is preconfigured, so all that needs to be done is absolutely necessary customisation. In this instance, the fact that this was a new operation meant that the need to migrate legacy data did not arise.

Shortly thereafter, Trafigura decided to extend the system to its mining operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The first step was to hold a workshop with DRC employees to explain what had been done in Angola. Having achieved their buy-in and scoped the differences between the two, Barnstone's team rolled out the solution to the DRC operation in only eight weeks.

Processes are sound

"Given the operational momentum at both mines, we needed stronger control over both expenditure and business processes," notes Paul Collins, head of Mining Information Systems at Trafigura. "I was impressed at how consistently Barnstone's templates migrated to the DRC operations, showing that the processes on which they are based are sound."

With Barnstone's help, Trafigura has been able to create a uniform, standard SAP platform for its African mining operations within a very short time frame. This gives both projects the necessary structure to keep them on track, a prime consideration given their inaccessibility and the speed with which they are progressing. The single platform makes management of the projects much easier and, in the long run, will allow Trafigura to harness synergies across its mining operations.

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