Gold Fields Australia (Gold Fields) has identified that improving productivity through more detailed shift planning and operational control of mining activities is a key driver to the success of their business. The Hamlet mine was chosen as a pilot site to trial a system that would allow production engineers and shift bosses to align the execution of short-term activities with the longer-term goals of the organisation.
Gold Fields partnered with Deswik to introduce an on-site, collaborative, web-based system to allow mine planners to quickly build-up a detailed, activity-based, shift schedule for the coming week from the 13-week plan. Multiple stakeholders could then review and alter the plan, and then track and manage the execution of the activities.
The system is designed to be integrated with production data capture systems to allow tracking of progress towards completion for each activity, as well as to plan and monitor the equipment operating in the mine. Integration of systems allowed engineers to use the large quantities of production data being captured to make informed decisions in the operations environment.
The system replaced a complex set of spreadsheets that required expert users in Gold Fields to maintain. By capturing the data in a central database, the planning process is transparent and historic data from the execution of activities is available for analysis to improve productivity in the future.
The system has ensured that the highest priority and critical path activities for the business are completed at the right time, improving the efficiency of operations.
Deucker, E and White, A, 2017. Productivity improvement through collaborative shift planning and tracking, in Proceedings 13th AusIMM Underground Operators’ Conference 2017, pp 225–234 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).