Anyone in the investing world has tales to tell of the bear and bull years while mining is synonymous with boom or bust years.Continue reading “Forward thinking to Futureproof Mining Careers”
Never has the modern world been more volatile than at the current time. Anxiety and uncertainty have rocked industries and businesses, in fact, all communities. But now is probably the perfect time to prepare for a return to a more stable working platform and consider ways to get your team re-engaged and ready for a new phase of productivity.
Open-cut mining (coal and metals) is used when the minerals are found over a large area and relatively close to the surface. It is a surface mining technique that extracts rock or minerals from the earth by their removal from an open pit or borrow.
The unfolding coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis is creating complex and evolving challenges worldwide. Following events and escalation over the past few days, I wanted to update you on MEC Mining’s current status and approach.
In a truck shovel operation, all we ever talk about is the excavator. We schedule the excavator, measure it’s productivity, compare various models and make judgements about which ones perform best. But In fact, the excavator doesn’t put any material in the dump or stockpile, its the trucks that do all the work and incur most of the cost of moving the material. So we should really be looking at which is the best truck to use. Assuming that the truck and excavator size are appropriately matched (between 3 and 5 bucket passes to fill a truck), the performance of the excavator only comes into the equation during loading which is perhaps 2 minutes out of a total truck cycle time of 20 minutes. So if the excavator hits some hard dig and takes 3 minutes to load a truck, the excavator productivity will fall by 50% but the truck productivity will only fall by 5% which hardly affects the unit cost of the operation.
What is the biggest factor that you could control at an open cut coal mine to generate return? For me it would be loss and dilution. Small improvements deliver big increases in cash generation, usually at minimal or no additional cost. Commonly, most of the coal losses occur at top of coal as blast energy breaks up the coal and makes it difficult to separate cleanly from the waste. Big gains can be made by improving blasting practices to avoid fracturing the coal.Continue reading “Reduce Coal Loss to Improve Profitability”
Extractive industries are, by the very nature, a set of defined and repeatable processes to meet the business objectives. Typically, within each process are Drivers eg. Labour Rosters, Geological and Geotechnical factors which impact negatively on business costs. Then there are the Levers eg. Physical factors, Process Cycle and Operating time and affecting rates and hence Productivity.
Decision making is often a complex series of processes which may result in a “less than optimal” business outcome. Whilst there are tools to support and rationalise the process such as Multi Criteria Decision Analysis, the real value can be realised and optimised using a Trade Off Study approach. The outcome is logical and auditable to inform the best decision for the business.
Most of us in mining will agree that we have too many meetings, using up too much of our time, but it’s really hard to do much about it. I would spend around half of my time in a meeting including some days that are wall to wall meetings. I often reflect that if had an extra hour each day to get the real work done, then that would make a material difference to my effectiveness. Now, I think that a lot of our time in meetings is wasted and we often subconsciously find ways to fill the meeting agenda to use the whole time slot.
Drill and Blast is one of the leading causes of coal loss in an open cut coal mining operation. There are so many aspects that must be considered as part of the Drill and Blast Engineers design process and it is easy for an inexperienced or time constrained engineer to overlook critical areas. A poorly designed and managed blast can lead to millions of dollars of lost revenue.