As more than a few mines gradually sink under the weight of emails, whiteboards, notice boards and ever more complex spreadsheets, the holy grail of effective short-term interval planning and control in underground mines is as far away as ever. Despite the mining industry investing ever greater amounts in planning and Enterprise Resource Planning systems, short-term plans become ever more complex and rigid. What the industry desperately needs are not more ‘disembodied voices down the speaking tubes’, but flexible and effective planning systems that encourage people to make reasonable commitments to each other so that everyone can work as a coordinated team to complete the work required each shift.
One solution to the challenge has emerged. This paper describes the ‘Fewzion’ shift planning and short interval control system which has been developed at Anglo American’s Moranbah North and Glencore’s Oaky Creek coalmines in Central Queensland. Fewzion has drawn on management theory embodied in Management Operating Systems, Lean and Theory of Constraints approaches to continuous improvement to play a key role in both mines achieving record breaking tonnages.
In addition to explaining the Fewzion approach, a case study is presented describing how Anglo American’s Moranbah North improved production by 39 per cent in 2014/2015 and won ‘Coalmine of the Year’ two out of the last four years and how Glencore’s Oaky Creek sustainably improved monthly development meters by 34 per cent within two months of implementing Fewzion.
Moynagh, P and Britton, G, 2017. How a frontline planning and commitment system improves trust, commitment and results in operations, in Proceedings 13th AusIMM Underground Operators’ Conference 2017, pp 235–240 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).