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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 0038-223X

J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. vol.111 n.1 Johannesburg Jan. 2011




Can buffer stores improve productivity?



R.C.D. Phillis; H. Gumede

Ukhozi Project Management




The management of critical resource inventories is an important productivity lever and a significant risk factor-risk in the sense that poor resource availability lends itself to disempowerment of workers, unsafe work practices, wasted spending (high unit costs), and poor quality of work (including mining waste/rework). Most underground platinum mines experience lost blasts that directly lead to reduced productivity. In most surveyed shafts, 30% of lost blasts can be attributed to shortages of critical material and/or equipment. The problem is prevalent despite the existence of conventional transitory surface and underground stores. This paper discusses the introduction of buffer stores as a complementary materials storage system in order to improve health and safety in mines as well as reduce lost blasts. Both quantitative and qualitative results have shown that buffer stores result in dramatic improvements in productivity and are readily acceptable by stakeholders.

Keywords: Buffer stores, lost blast



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