Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
PHILLIS, R.C.D and GUMEDE, H. A case study on stoping shift buffering at Impala Platinum: a critical chain project management perspective. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2011, vol.111, n.11, pp. 793-800. ISSN 2411-9717.
Conventional stoping in hard rock mining is largely considered an operational environment. This paper suggests that stoping falls within the realm of a project management environment typified by uncertainty, variation, and large numbers of interdependencies. Stoping was then equated to a micro-project with many simultaneous activities that had to be executed accurately using finite resources within limited shift durations in order to reach specific goals. Critical chain project management (CCPM) principles were applied to the stoping activities, and the results showed that the number of blasts per panel can be significantly increased by successfully moving the distribution of work as close as possible to the start of shift. Critical chain principles also assisted in facilitating re-focusing and teamwork among stoping crews as well as between day- and night-shift crews. The main recorded success was in managing inherent protective capacities/local contingencies/fat/buffers that are found in all projects. The impact on mine health and safety (MHS) was significant as individual operators and crews became convinced that they could perform all stoping tasks (activities) without compromising accuracy or speed.
Keywords : buffers; critical chain; stoping shift..