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Beyond Silos: Integrated Solutions for Unlocking Open Cut Mine Potential

Introduction:

Open-cut mines often struggle to meet operational and financial targets. Issues like moving bottlenecks, employee frustration, and friction between planning and operations can lead to decreased production output and increased costs. However, by taking a holistic approach to mining operations and addressing the root causes of these difficulties, mines can unlock substantial hidden capacity quickly. This blog post explores the importance of breaking down silos and adopting a whole-mine optimisation strategy to enhance production flow and address cultural obstacles.


The Challenges:

1. Difficulty in consistently meeting operational and financial targets: Many open cut mines face issues with meeting their targets, resulting from unpredictable production output.

2. Moving bottlenecks in operations: These bottlenecks can occur in various stages of the mining process, including drilling, blasting, load & haul, crushing, and plant operations.

3. Frustration due to continuous priority changes and firefighting: Employees may feel overwhelmed by the constant need to adapt to new priorities and solve problems on the fly, leading to reduced motivation and productivity.

4. Frequent mine plan revisions: The mine plan often needs to be redone shortly after implementation.

5. Friction between planning and operations: Poor communication and collaboration between these departments can result in operations not taking ownership of the plan, leading to inefficiencies and misalignment.


The Solution: Holistic Optimisation

To overcome these challenges, mines must shift their focus from optimising individual departments to optimising the entire operation. This approach involves identifying constraints, prioritising efforts to address them, and aligning operational systems to maximise production flow. In addition, by breaking down silos and fostering a culture of collaboration, mines can unlock hidden capacity and improve overall efficiency.


The Flow Room: Combining Operations and Cultural Change

Addressing cultural obstacles is crucial to the success of any intervention. To facilitate this change, the Flow Room concept can be employed. The Flow Room serves as a platform for collaboration, communication, and problem-solving, allowing teams to work together to maximise production flow. By integrating the Flow Room into the existing system, mines can drive cultural change while improving operational efficiency with minimal disruption.


Conclusion:

The key to unlocking hidden capacity and profit in open-cut mines lies in taking a holistic optimisation approach. By breaking down silos, addressing constraints, and fostering a culture of collaboration through the Flow Room, mines can significantly improve efficiency and production output.


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