Continuous improvement might be defined as seeking incremental improvement over time through improved equipment, processes, technology and the efforts of people. Most people working in ore processing facilities embrace the general principles of continuous improvement. However, given the industry-wide issues with skilled personnel and the constantly changing environment in ore processing facilities, it is often difficult to identify improvements in a facility over a given time period.
The driver for these outcomes is the use of basic principles and technology to achieve best practice targets. The process involves four stages: develop standards of practice to define best practice in specific areas; write procedures to guide the organisation towards these best practices; implement the procedures and develop a review process to provide a method of measuring performance against best practice.
By reviewing performance against best practice on a regular basis, the organisation measures progress towards the best practice targets and the incremental improvement between these regular reviews is a measure of continuous improvement.
This paper provides the background for developing standards of practice for metal accounting, metallurgy and metallurgical management. The paper also describes how standards of practice can be used to develop continuous improvement and the skills set of the department’s leadership team.
McCallum, W and Dunne, R, 2012. Metallurgical
management tools for continuous improvement, in Proceedings 11th AusIMM Mill
Operators’ Conference, pp 225-230 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).