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March 2017 www.coalage.com 31 plant engineering continued mines throughout the Americas could bene- fit from modular design especially in North America where labor can be quite expensive. DRA takes a deliberate hands-on approach and they want to work with like-minded partners, he said. "We prefer to roll up our sleeves and take ownership of projects as if they were our own," Carve- las said. "Our project teams take owner- ship from concept to commissioning and commercial operations. The engineer does the design and follows the project and the components through commissioning. We have an ethos in the company of taking complete ownership and we seek partners that can embrace that and have a similar ethos of accounting for every dollar as if it was their own." Of course, depending on whether it's a reimbursable type project or an EPC turn- key type project, DRA also needs to make sure that it is not taking on undue risk, Carvelas explained. "It's important to un- derstand the partners we work with and their track record and vice versa," Carvelas said. "There needs to be a set of identified synergies and an understanding of how they will be integrated for success." Success begins at the ground level and Carvelas stresses that investors and owners need to make sure that feasibility studies are conducted properly and followed. "That is the foundation for any project and, if the feasibility study is not followed, the project gets off on the wrong foot," Carvelas said. Carvelas acknowledged that the min- ing industry has a bad habit of dusting off old designs for new plants, forgetting that the last project was not optimal, and re- peating previous mistakes. "Because we operate so many of the plants we have engi- neered, we are mindful of not making those mistakes," Carvelas said. "We are actively recycling that operational knowledge back to the engineers to make sure that errors are not repeated." DRA is seeing a strong push from inves- tors and mine owners to get it right the first time and to make sure the estimates and the schedules are accurate. "Our full life cycle service sets us apart from other engi- neering firms in that regard," Carvelas said. The Transition to the Digital Mine There is a lot of talk these days about the transition to the digital mine, but few peo- ple know how to advance that agenda. DRA has developed a system called Mine Operations Management System (MOMS), which gathers information from pit to port across all technical operating facilities, as well as the ERP and procurement systems, and captures information in one database. "This allows us to optimize business pro- cesses and the facility itself," Carvelas said. "We are working very hard to advance the concept of the digital mine. With our large operating database and MOMS, we have the ability to analyze data and predict per- formance against the original mine mod- el. We believe this is the next step for the mining business. We are well-positioned to implement our first intelligent mine site. That's quite exciting. It's in the early stages now, but it's high on our agenda." DRA experienced a slowdown in busi- ness and had to work through a rationaliza- tion process. It's clear, however, that they not only plan to remain the leaders in the coal space, especially in the eastern U.S., but they plan on being one of the leading engineering firms for minerals processing worldwide. CleanScrape ® Cleaner • Lasts at least twice as long as traditional cleaners. • Easy to install with little ongoing maintenance, requiring only one tensioner adjustment EVER! • Offers the lowest blade-to-belt pressure of any cleaner on the market. • You can put it anywhere! 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