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Operations versus Projects – How Do People Think and What are the Implications?


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Author G Lane and B Clements


The operations and project environments are very different, but overlap in many areas. The development of mineral processing projects is goal oriented, is schedule focused and is a contractual environment. The operating environment for a mineral processing plant is oriented around longer-term commitments, focused on delivery against budget expectations, and an environment heavily influenced by long-term personal relationships, community relationships, and people issues.

Further contrast is evident in the way expenditure is managed. Projects commit large amounts of money quickly to meet schedule-based objectives. Operations manage expenditure to minimise operating costs and are able to, or are forced to delay decisions on large expenditures. However, these two environments need to come together in many ways, ranging from greenfields plant handover to a new operations and maintenance crew, to day to day interaction and management of brownfields projects, often in close proximity.

This paper considers the different perspectives people bring to projects and early operations, including the advantages and disadvantages of ‘operations’ input to a project and models for managing value adding during project development, implementation and debottlenecking.

Lane, G
and Clements, B, 2012. Operations versus projects – How do people think and what
are the implications?, in Proceedings 11th AusIMM Mill Operators’
, pp 11-16 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).