Zinc and lead producer Pasminco Limited is preparing for an upgraded IT environment ahead of SAP's plans to end support for R/3 version 4.6B at the end of 2004.
Pasminco's general manager business systems Peter Dean said feasibility studies with detailed costs and timeframes are under way for completion in December.
The aim is to have the project go live in May 2004.
An upgrade of the company's SAP system from R/3 version 4.6B to Enterprise, Dean said, will involve multiple projects including the establishment of a new disaster recovery system and upgrading a Legato backup environment and a Unix upgrade.
He said a main component of the feasibility study is to test core transactions and customisations.
"The feasibility study will determine the final costs; however, our initial investigations have shown it will be significantly cheaper than our previous upgrade from SAP's R/3 3.1H to 4.6B," Dean said.
"This is because we will have no additional hardware costs at either the server or desktop."
Dean was unable to provide details on the cost of the previous upgrade from SAP's R/3 3.1H to 4.6B, but said "The project ran from July to December 2000 on time and under budget."
The big unknown, he said, is the level of effort required to upgrade customised objects.
However, the Enterprise upgrade has a dependency on the establishment of a new disaster recovery environment and Unix upgrade, he said. "The Legato upgrade can be done either before or after the Enterprise upgrade; it is just a standard part of staying on supportable versions," Dean said.
Headquartered in Melbourne, Pasminco has 2000 IT users and an IT budget of more than $2 million.
Dean said the company has mines in Tasmania and Queensland, and smelters in Tasmania, South Australia, Netherlands and in the US.
Pasminco produces 6 per cent of global zinc metal production and 4 per cent of the global lead metal production.