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by Technews
Issue Date: October 2007

Impala Platinum boosts processes with Protean

1 October 2007

Impala Platinum, the second largest platinum producer in the world, has reaped a number of benefits since implementing the Infor Protean Production and Inventory Module, supported by ApplyIT.
Infor Protean replaced the outdated Petala system that had been used for metal accounting at Impala Platinum Refineries. It has:
* Reduced the number of registers and manual effort supporting its processes.

* Automated parts of the accounting process.

* Met management and supervisor requirements.

* Introduced interactivity.
“The previous accounting system used numerous registers to supplement the system and the data had to be captured manually by one of our many clerks,” says Pravin Naidoo, metal accounting manager at Impala Platinum Refineries. “It did not fulfil the requirements of supervisors and managers, was not interactive and was not year 2000-compliant.
Pravin Naidoo, metal accounting manager at Impala Platinum Refineries
Pravin Naidoo, metal accounting manager at Impala Platinum Refineries
“We needed a system that was less time-consuming, automatic and identified all of the streams that must be taken into account when developing a metals accounting system. The Protean system met these requirements, giving us the ability to better control and more confidence in our metal accounting,” says Naidoo.
The Infor Protean system for metals accounting improves productivity by monitoring process performance and yields, identifying and managing declining performance and continually monitoring plant inventory and work in process levels at its Springs operational unit.
Accurate metals accounting is vitally important in all aspects of minerals processing, but particularly so in the area of metal refining. A carefully planned and dynamic metals accounting system allows for realtime monitoring of a number of parameters important for ensuring the continuous success and profitability of any metal refining operation.
ApplyIT has assisted Impala Platinum with specialised metals accounting skills and technical resources to implement and maintain its metals accounting system The new system enabled Impala Platinum to improve its process efficiencies, to identify, investigate and troubleshoot problem areas and process inefficiencies, to calculate process lock-up and to track individual batches successfully.
Other benefits include:
* Interactive access to process performance information.

* Creation of mass balance reports that form the basis for process optimisation and/or process change.

* Micro-monitoring of process efficiencies and yields throughout the process.

* Highlighting of problematic areas.

* Analysis of the deportment of metals.

* Mass balancing done accurately per batch and per processing steps.

* Accurate measurement of work in progress and inventories, thereby enabling precise forecasting of metal production.
“The Protean metals accounting system has become a critical management tool for us,” says Naidoo. “It has improved the management and control of precious metals that has led to improved productivity.”
Karl Frenz, business unit manager for ApplyIT’s Gauteng region, says the key to the system’s successful implementation was centred on a dedicated, committed and knowledgeable project team and its philosophy of ensuring detailed design and planning during the development and tailoring stages. Ongoing support of the system by ApplyIT has also been instrumental in ensuring the system remains relevant and adapts to Impala Platinum's changing business requirements.
“The system has been improved over many years to support Impala Platinum’s metals accounting since implementation. It is continually adapted to meet the company’s evolving needs and to provide it with ongoing metals accounting benefits,” says Frenz.
For more information contact Karl Frenz, ApplyIT, +27 (0)12 349 2822,

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