A simple tweak to a mining operation could drastically change its cost profile – getting the team to simply ‘listen‘.
I was at a dinner table a few weeks ago when a comment was made.
“The rock is speaking but you don’t want to listen to what it’s saying.”
This was obviously a geologist passionate about his field. This got me thinking, “how often do operations lose money simply because critical data is being ignored or the operation is moving along so quickly that there’s no time to apply adjustments based on the data collected?”
These days, surveyors collect a large dataset about their mining operation on a daily basis. Typically, this would include QA/QC parameters that might make or break an operation if utilized correctly.
Production drill holes are surveyed to establish deviations from design, and these designs are often created using high tech solutions that take the guesswork out of drill design, and easily create iterations of mine designs.
The effectiveness of a design is often judged by the quality of its execution. Flawless drill design is pointless if the drillers cannot execute it. This has been a major driver in the automation of drill rigs, as well as other benefits of minimizing underbreak, overbreak and maximizing extraction in production stopes.
Where mining development is concerned, things like water control, overbreak, support standards and an effective reclamation regime would go a long way towards improving the bottom line of the business. These are all parameters that a mine can improve on to reap additional rewards, but without additional investment.
Operations need technological solutions with a wide range of tools that enable rapid compilation of datasets, overbreak, off-grade mining, production drill hole position etc. Surveyors need to spend less time in the office creating the first inputs into a feedback loop. The onus lies with the operational team to make use of this information to improve the next step. A mine that actively makes use of these pieces of information in its operations, accompanied by operating officials actively pursuing continuous improvements would significantly lower its operating costs.
Your operation is speaking and you really should listen to what it’s saying.