*This is an abstract only. No full paper is available for this abstract.*
Over the past ten years, many projects have been pushed into operation or increased in production to capitalise on historically high commodity prices and investor interest. As a result, many projects were developed quickly without being fully optimised. Despite this, in many cases, the high commodity prices underpinned the relative success of these projects until recently.
In this new world of high commodity price volatility, with sustained high costs, a new operating focus has emerged and the desire to lower operating costs and achieve ‘more with less’.
A cost-effective methodology to find value, opportunities and direction in existing operations is to conduct detailed operational reviews or audits. They are relevant to all styles of operations and need to be undertaken in a methodical, holistic way, where all operational interactions (namely geology, mining, processing, infrastructure, etc) are interrogated across all planning horizons.
This method can identify immediate opportunities as well as longer term approaches to improve margins and add value. It benefits significantly from being fully aware of current technologies, equipment developments and practices as well as challenging the existing operation and practices. It does, however, require teamwork, a champion and management support for successful implementation and realisation of the benefits, particularly where cost increases in one area provide overall operational benefits and savings.
Newell, A J H, 2014. Achieving more with less – approach and methodologies, in Proceedings 12th AusIMM Mill Operators’ Conference 2014 , pp 11–12 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).