Post Doze is a method of improving the economics of waste material movement by extending the use of dozers. The Post Doze method was developed jointly by 3D Data Guidance and MEC Mining and is protected by an PCT Patent Application number: PCT/AU2017/050915. The Post Doze method is applicable to strip mines and bulk earthmoving applications where waste is moved less than 200m horizontally. In Post Doze, a 100 -200 tonne excavator is used to elevate and translate waste towards the low wall, which is then pushed to spoil by dozers. A significant volume of work has been undertaken on the method to validate the value and create operational sequencing and training material.
Net present value (NPV) is the universally accepted tool for measuring the value of a mining venture. We spend a lot of effort maximizing the NPV by changing all sorts of parameters. Essentially, NPV just converts future cash flows back into today’s dollars by compounding the discount rate ( think interest rate ) into the future. NPV discounts early cash flow less and later cash flow more. Usually, any cash flows that are more than 15 years away are attributed negligible value in today’s dollars.
There is a crunch coming in Cobalt supply as electric cars become more common. There is 25kg of cobalt in the lithium ion battery pack of a Chevy Bolt. Looking down the track 5 years, let’s say that 10% of 78 million cars sold world wide are electric. This will require 195,000 tonnes of additional Cobalt supply each year. Currently the total world production is only 123,000 tonnes, all of which is already needed to make items such as aircraft parts.
Most mine sites measure performance in terms of ore mined, waste moved or product produced. Production KPIs tend to manifest as a drive to maximize the working hours of equipment. The drive to achieve production (rather than value) KPIs often has some negative side effects that destroy the value that they seek to create. Maximizing equipment hours tends to reward the building of inventories, as to achieve high hours, machines need to work even when they are not required.
The viability of a mine is simple to calculate. If the revenue is greater than the cost of producing then it’s viable. We work out the mine life by adding up the quantity of product that is viable. This is usually done in today’s dollars as it is assumed that both commodity prices and costs will inflate equally with time.
- Use a production blade. Spade blade and Komatsu IMac blades increase production by up to 20% compared to standard U blades.
- Optimise your design for push productivity in 3D. This often improves productivity by 25% in rehab and by up to 15% in production dozing. 3D Data Guidance make software that does this.
- Use GPS the guidance system to display push direction vectors to the operator. This cuts unplanned rehandle by up to 20% and shortens the learning curve for new operators.
Time tends to claw back the pursuits of people, eventually weathering and ageing our infrastructure. Time is however our friend when it comes to mine rehabilitation. Fresh mine voids and spoil dumps are ugly, however, it would be a mistake to assume that what you see today is what it will look like in 100 years. The forces of nature are powerful when it comes to reclaiming a mine site back to nature. I tour a lot of mine sites and much of the time I can’t tell which areas of scrub are rehabilitated spoil and which areas have not been mined.
Ever come up with a good idea, told a few people about it but the excitement waned, nothing happened? This has been me on many occasions. The key to getting your plans actioned is articulating value, expressed in dollars.
I am often engaged by mining clients to recommend ways to improve profitability.
While there are countless things that you can do, here are my top 5:
I have recently started riding my bicycle into the city each day for work. The motivation is a mixture of getting fit and saving money. I am now saving a lot of money on parking and fuel for the car, however it has become apparent that running a bicycle is not free. Basically, all the exercise makes me bloody hungry and people fuel is relatively expensive per unit of energy content compared to car fuel. A week of driving to and from work would use around 15 litres of diesel and cost around $20.