Precious Metal Mining - Australia

Established traditional mining company involved in precious metal mining at two sites in Telfer, Australia.

Extraction of the metal resulted in a significant amount of waste from impurities in the ore and the company was keen to improve the operation from sample analysis through to extraction of the precious metal at the mining site.

Whilst customer demand outstripped supply, volatility of market prices meant the company was keen to speed up extraction to delivery time. The company employed a wide variety of trades and contractors in the maintenance operations across two mining sites.

33%

Reduced quick change over times in maintenance operation by 33% in 3 months, from 36 hours to 24

172,800

Increased mining capacity by 172,800 tons per year

20%

Reduction of drill and blast re-work by 20%

Precious Metal Mining - Australia

Results

Improved employee attitude and reduced lateness through better planning and daily task lists.

The ratio of briefs to won orders rose from 1 in 8 to 1 in 4.

Labour cost savings introduced through re-allocation of certain tasks and operations.

Introduced standard work practices into the drill and blast operations, eliminating re-work requirements.

Precious Metal Mining - Australia

Observations

One of the key observations which is typical of a mining operation, is the enormity of the site and the distance between various parts of the operation. The distance between different areas of the mine, impacted on speed and efficiency of the overall extraction process. Six-Sigma had been used in the laboratory for sample analysis which had improved the accuracy but not the efficiency of the process.

- High level of re-work in the drilling and blast operation
- Lack of discipline in the starting of shifts over a 3 shift operation
- Locating maintenance equipment throughout the site, led to lost time, which resulted in equipment not being in the right location for specific maintenance operations

Precious Metal Mining - Australia

Objectives

- Improve efficiency and output
- Improve management of supply and demand to key clients and markets
- Reduce maintenance times to Improve uptime of key mining extraction equipment
- Reduce re-work within drill and blast activity

Precious Metal Mining - Australia

Actions

VSM

- A Value Stream Mapping activity was undertaken to identify the current state of the mining operation. This identified key bottlenecks in the ore sample analysis, drill and blast and ore crusher activities. Waste and non-value added elements were identified and a Master schedule developed

5S

- Programme was applied to the maintenance activity, focus was to set up a dedicated maintenance tool and equipment centre. The tool centre compromised of a converted container which incorporated all of the equipment and materials required to carry out site maintenance operations. This resulted in a more effective use of the team and resources allocated over a 3 shift 365 day operation

VISUAL MAINTENANCE

- Introduction of shift work plan and status boards in maintenance centre to promote effective management over 3 shift system. Process set in place to rollover improvement in shift productivity resulting in greater awareness of continuous improvement. The output requirements and current status are live and known by everyone

STANDARDISE PROCESS

- Introduced standardised 12 hr shift plans with supporting documentation. This ensured activity consistently met plan
- Drill and blast process standardised to deliver right first- time output, reducing the need for unnecessary re-work
- Improved testing process of samples within the laboratory, increased throughput and efficiency to compliment improvements in test accuracy. This resulted in improvement in precious metal extraction efficiency