The client is one of the largest mining companies in Saudi Arabia, active in gold, silver and base metals mining. It engages in the exploration and development of mineral resource properties, primarily gold and bauxite, in Saudi Arabia. Besides a $10.8 billion integrated aluminium project and a $5.6 billion phosphate mine, the company operates five gold mines producing over 150,000 ounces per annum, with 11 million ounces of resource.
The client engaged Renoir Consulting to determine the scope of financial and operational opportunities available in three of its largest mining sites.
The Renoir team was entrusted to:
- Determine each mine’s current ore throughput and productivity levels
- Assess mine processes, procedures, systems and behaviours
- Identify opportunities and areas for improvement
- Project possible effects on the client’s bottom line as a result of improvement
- Develop an implementation approach to realise long-term improvements
In Renoir’s initial Focus Process ® analysis, two potential improvement areas were identified – operational inefficiencies and maintenance effectiveness. Hence, focus was then placed on the throughput of underground and open pit mining operations and the maintenance of the plant and machinery to support that.
|Potential Areas of Improvement|
|Operational Inefficiency||Equipment Maintenance Effectiveness|
|Improve active supervision||Increase equipment operator accountability|
|Enhance interfaces between departments||Improve compliance to planned vehicle and equipment maintenance|
|Tighten management of the mining cycle||Implement backlog for full maintenance needs|
|Increase adherence to maintenance and shift scheduling||Enhance assessment process for prioritization, resources, and parts requirements|
|Define communication targets, positive reinforcement & variance control||Improve performance-driven supervision by charge hands and foremen|
|Improve planning, controlling and reporting systems||Improve interfaces and collaboration between operations and other departments|
To ensure that mine performance resulting from the implemented changes were tracked consistently over time for long-term improvement, the Renoir team also recommended the following steps:
- Set up the right key performance indicators dashboard for management
- Implement key daily, weekly and monthly meetings with the task force and Management Action Team (MATs) to systematically review past performance versus plan, analyze any deviations and take corrective actions
- Increase clarity in accountabilities and responsibilities
- Improve management skills across the organization, to further drive continuous improvements safely
The initiative was a 40-week project designed to deliver a 17% increase in throughput across three of the client’s mines, measured against the previous year’s performance.
The project consisted of a dedicated Renoir Project Team along with a Task Force, consisting of four of the client’s team members, who were allocated full time to the project. A monthly Steering Committee chaired by the client’s president also ensured that the project remained on track and achieved the stated objectives.
On a weekly basis, MATs focused on identification of opportunities for observed problems, evaluating ideas to implement. This secured buy-in and ownership of the improvements to ensure sustainable and lasting change.
Both the Task Force and the MAT members also received extensive training throughout the project, to prepare them to become key change agents for the organisation.
Significant time was invested in training all supervisory levels to ensure the understanding of the new tools and techniques and to illustrate the most appropriate management behaviours for the mining site environment. Detailed follow-ups were conducted to ensure long-term, measurable sustainability.
The Renoir project team designed and developed a new Management Control System (MCS) that would drive productivity through clear, accurate and achievable plans. This would then be controlled on site, through short interval control mechanisms and then reported.
As a result, tremendous behavioural improvements were realized, specifically in areas such as shift management, intra- and inter-departmental communication and coordination, operator handling of equipment, accurate target-setting and positive reinforcement, and most importantly the creation of a corrective action culture and environment.
Optimized Equipment Maintenance Systems
One of the client’s mines was particularly affected by maintenance bottlenecks and unplanned downtime. Its other mines also suffered from production losses due to vehicle and equipment availability, primarily through a run-to-failure practice and minimal preventive maintenance.
To improve visibility of the real maintenance needs of the mines, a preventative maintenance management program was implemented in all three mine sites. The core goals of this program were to increase the operators’ accountability for equipment conditions and identify maintenance issues early.
An early assessment process was also implemented, which helped maintenance planners plan the acquisition of required parts, minimizing equipment downtime.
Training at all organisational levels was also provided to ensure understanding of the new tools and techniques, and to instill a different approach to managing people through constructive feedback.
Through a systematic approach of planning vehicle and equipment maintenance, and increasing the adherence to preventative maintenance practices, equipment availability increased by over 40%.
Looking to reduce equipment downtime through preventative maintenance for optimal mining operations?