Processing plants need to run 24/7, yet the movement of ore is often uneven or disrupted. Lack of material leaves people and equipment idle and reduces output, while an excess causes backlogs that must be cleared – at great expense. Processing and mining are often run as separate divisions, with insufficient communications between the two, leading to a lack of synchronization over planned stoppages due to maintenance and holidays.
Lost blasts are typically caused by backlogs clogging up the mine, or by cleaning activity. Costs rise due to overtime for staff clearing backlogs and moving excess ore to temporary stockpiles, which also requires expensive equipment and transport. With these resources in constant use, maintenance suffers, leading to breakdowns or accidents.
Trains are often left waiting, either at the mine due to lost blasts, or at the processing plant as a result of full tips. A lack of ore can either cause a complete processor shutdown, or reduce yields due to inefficiencies.
Towards greater integration
Management should quantify the impact of these various phenomena, and integrate production planning of mining and processing functions, developing complementary performance measures and shared targets. Centralized stockpiles, appropriate sized tips and higher capacity silos can all reduce backlogs.
Sizing the challenge
KPMG’s mining professionals can measure the financial and productivity impact of inefficiencies, and challenge clients to take a more holistic approach, viewing the mining and processing operations as a single process.