5 Reasons Why it’s Important to Optimise a Mine Site’s Productivity
Never underestimate the importance of mine site optimisation. Here’s why
Each year, the mining industry spends millions of dollars on managing and maintaining the fixed assets of mine sites. According to Global Mining, maintenance is the industry’s biggest cost and ranged from 30% to 50% of the total operating costs in 2014.
These numbers are a strong indication that mining companies are committed to prolonging the life of their tools, equipment and facilities to increase the efficiency of existing assets. By doing this, they can reduce the total operating costs and maintain the optimal productivity of a plant site which is fundamental to all action taken in the mining industry.
With all the money spent annually by mining firms on maintenance, here are 5 major reasons as to the importance of maintaining optimal mine site productivity.
1. Operational life of equipment
Maximum operational life of equipment is necessary. This involves thorough analysis of the failure rate of all equipment. Repairing equipment before failure occurs is essential. Staying competitive in the industry is vital and therefore companies always need to look for new ways to get the most out of their assets to ensure optimal productivity.
Automation is one of the new leading forces in the mining industry. Apart from the fact that the automation of various processes of a plant will result in huge improvements, there needs to be a strong management team with skilled workers in place, to implement such technology accordingly.
To overcome the challenges that slow down mine site productivity, mining companies need to have the right systems in place. A series of practices needs to be followed to keep your assets maintained or restored to a state where it can perform as best as possible.
2. Production Rate Reliability
The reliability to run to scheduled plan production rates in a sustainable manner, and thus preventing the re-work or break in works failing the schedule, is important. There should be systems in place that report scheduled and unscheduled events, underperforming equipment and give a complete analysis of losses. The systems should also detect machinery problems quickly enough to avoid emergency shutdowns and major failures.
3. Unscheduled breakdowns and stoppage
Mine site maintenance is crucial in the prevention of unscheduled breakdowns and stoppage delays at inconvenient times. Optimal planning and execution that’s achievable with the most efficient use of resources is paramount. When activity within a mining plant stops or becomes delayed for asset maintenance, productivity losses increase. The stop-and-restart actions result in energy loss, extra wear on machines, start-up waste and the need to catch up on overtime.
More so, mining companies need to fight unnecessary downtime, low return on assets and ineffective service attainment – all factors that increase costs.
Causes of unwanted downtime can be attributed to; unproductive maintenance procedures, poor task or works planning, ineffective contractors, inefficient communications, unavailable parts and service delays. Effective management of such issues will result in less downtime and gained productivity.
Maintaining optimal mine site productivity will ensure continuity in achieving targets of production and sustainability. To achieve this continuity, the scope of work targets must always be met – hence reliable and consistent servicing is required. Maintaining a high level asset optimisation system that identifies the reasons for production losses, will ensure that the plant is always operating at peak efficiency.
5. Labour resources
A reduction in the requirement of labour resources needed to manage unscheduled stoppages comes from maintaining optimal mine site productivity. To reduce labour resources required for unscheduled stoppages, future works must be identified and placed within a repair schedule. It’s important that this is not overlooked.
The safety of operating and service technicians are also essential for optimal productivity, since they often have to work in dangerous environments in remote circumstances.
Making sure the appropriate engineering company is called upon to take charge of your asset management and maintenance, will minimise costs and ensure optimal productivity.