Open pit mines today have more technology and data available. The challenge is to effectively use resources to analyse and identify mine productivity improvements. AMC Consultants Pty Ltd (AMC) has completed more than 100 benchmarking studies worldwide. In the process of gathering cost and productivity data, insights have been gained on how mines are using data to drive productivity. This paper aims to share good practice on using data, what benchmarks operations should be aiming for, where mines are currently sitting, high value areas to target, and how to best prioritise improvement to meet operational goals.
A key purpose of data is to assist in managing and improving operations. Key information is used to drive meetings, decisions, budget estimates and reports. Safety, equipment productivity, available stocks, grade and spatial reconciliation are examples of where data is important for management systems. The key is to keep reporting simple whilst maintaining access to source data for troubleshooting and analysis.
Some operations still have paper-based reporting systems. Some operations collect data directly off machines and instruments, use cameras and have off-site control centres. The level of technology is a fit-for-purpose choice.
Comparisons of productivity assumptions commonly used in feasibility studies with good practice productivity numbers sourced from AMC’s benchmarking database will be shared in this paper. A typical activity mining cost breakdown will highlight where the high value areas for productivity improvement sit.
In addition to examining the productivity of each mining step it is also important to examine the impact on the mine plan. Equipment numbers, strip ratio, grade and material hardness can impact the results of bottleneck analysis. A bottleneck example case study will highlight how productivity and other factors can be used to identify and prioritise improvement opportunities.
Keep it simple. Use only the critical data for meetings, decision-making, reports and plans. Knowing and communicating the key performance indicators (KPIs) you are striving for aligns the operation and prioritises improvement plans.
Parkinson, J and Sommerville, K, 2016. Getting the Most Out of Technology to Drive Mine Productivity Improvements, in Proceedings Ninth AusIMM Open Pit Operators’ Conference 2016, pp 84–93 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).