Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
SEGOPOLO, P.R.. Optimization of shuttle car utilization at an underground coal mine. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2015, vol.115, n.4, pp. 285-296. ISSN 2411-9717.
The purpose of the project is to convert current shuttle car utilization on an underground coal mine to best practice by focusing on change-out points and tramming routes, which have a major influence on shuttle car away times. Time studies were an integral part of the project as these enabled the determination of shuttle car away times. An indirect proportional relationship between shuttle car away times and productivity is established. Through the time studies, it is deduced that a third shuttle car will make an insignificant contribution to production when there is only one split open. During this time, maintenance on the third car can be optimized. In order to satisfy the mine's key performance indicator of keeping shuttle car away times less than 75 seconds, a belt extension must be scheduled after the third split is open. It is established that at any given time, a minimum of two shuttle cars should be used. When cutting on the left-hand-side of the belt road with only two shuttle cars available, the centre and left (left of the feeder breaker) shuttle cars should be used for coal hauling. When cutting on the right-hand-side, the centre and the right-hand-side cars should be used. If only one shuttle car is available, the centre car is the most efficient to use. Alternative anchoring configurations can be employed so as to enable cars (left or right, especially) to reach the opposite extremities of the panel and hence minimize cable length restrictions.
Keywords : coal mining; underground transport; coal hauling; tramming; scheduling; optimization.