Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
CLAASSEN, J.O.. Application of systemic flow-based principles in mining. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2015, vol.115, n.8, pp. 747-754. ISSN 2411-9717. http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2411-9717/2015/V115N8A11.
Mining value chains are dynamic systems and should be managed according to systemic flow-based principles. This includes a detailed focus on the impact of variable geological conditions on material flow, product quality, and production cost, visibility of the total mining system to operators and managers, as well as the synchronization of resources and activities in downstream processes. Thirty mining operations across the African continent were studied to establish to what extent systemic flow-based principles are applied in day-to-day operations. The study indicated that although most mining operations have identified the relevant geo-processing variables, only a small number apply this information in a flow-based management approach. Most mining operators do not focus on developing a clear flow view of the mining value chain and on making it visible to operators and managers to enable them to optimally set and reset operations. Daily synchronization of geoprocessing variables is limited to a small number of variables, e.g. synchronizing ore hardness with drilling or milling requirements, in less than 30% of the operations evaluated. Operations where these principles have been adopted reported a noteworthy improvement in performance. The study indicates that notable potential exists in most of the operations evaluated to implement flow-based management principles, including geometallurgical principles. This can significantly improve value chain performance without exorbitant capital layouts and enhance ROCE.
Keywords : geological variables; mining value chain; mining systems; mining management; systems management; systemic; synchronization; geometallurgy.