Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
MBHALATI, W.. LHD optimization at an underground chromite mine. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2015, vol.115, n.4, pp. 313-320. ISSN 2411-9717.
Conzal Mine was not meeting production targets in 2013, and it was established that this was caused by the inability of the load haul dump machines (LHDs) to tram the required tonnages. An investigation of the LHD productivity was therefore conducted to identify the inhibiting factors. This was accomplished by carrying out a literature review on LHD operations to gain in-depth knowledge and conducting observations in the working environment. The relevant information and data on the LHD type used at Conzal was also acquired. The major inhibitor was found to be excessively long tramming distances in all the sections of the mine. The one-way tramming distances were all significantly greater than the 90 m set in the mine's code of practice (COP), with the Main Shafts section having the longest average one-way tramming distance of 260 m. The other inhibitor was LHD utilization, which in 2013 was only 47% against a target of 70%. Simulation of the LHD operation, taking these two factors into account, showed that production could be increased by more than 100%. As a result, it was recommended that conveyor belts should be extended regularly in order to keep tramming distances within the recommended one-way distance of 90 m. In addition, utilization can be improved by minimizing employee absenteeism as well as by modifying the travelling routes such that LHDs do not encounter unnecessary delays.
Keywords : underground transport; tramming; load-haul-dump optimization.