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Introducing and Sustaining a Continuous Improvement Program in Mines and Smelters


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Author M Costa and L Polizzi
ID P201409006


Process optimisation and continuous improvement are usually acknowledged when making a process more effective, efficient and transparent. During the last few decades, thousands of companies around the world have used total quality concepts in order to establish a continuous improvement process in their companies. Typically these companies apply some kind of Kaizen-type tools and expect results in the short term; however, the great majority of companies are poorly implementing these continuous improvement programs.

Usually the most common reasons for failure of the program are lack of commitment from leaders, lack of discipline and engagement from the team to follow process and lack of clear targets for the program. When the results do not come at the expected timeline, it is common to simply drop the current process and apply a different approach from another company or consulting firm.

This paper will explore some successful cases of companies
that have invested time and effort to establish a reliable and sustainable
process of continuous improvement. The focus will be case studies of mines and
smelters around the world that use the plan–do–check–act (PDCA) cycle to
increase productivity with the best services and lowest costs. The main tools
and processes used by these companies will be discussed, as well as results


Costa, M and Polizzi, L, 2014.
Introducing and sustaining a continuous improvement program in mines and
smelters, in Proceedings 12th AusIMM Mill Operators’ Conference 2014 , pp 55–62 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).