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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.4 Johannesburg Apr. 2011




Optimizing LHD utilization



D. Mkhwanazi

University of the Witwatersrand




The purpose of the project was to optimize load haul dump (LHD) machinery use as they were spending too much time doing what they should not be doing. During the investigation, the author found that the machine's actual availability was 86% and the utilization ranged between 30% and 42%.This shows that the availability of the machine has met its target. Therefore the main problem was with the LHD utilization and that is what the project focuses on. To satisfy the objectives, the author firstly studied the existing mining data like the key performance indicators (KPIs) in order to analyse the machine's availability and utilization; this is what gave direction to the problem. Secondly the author did a literature review on mines with similar problems. This gave the author ideas on what to look at in approaching such a situation. Thirdly, the author gathered information on what the LHDs are doing on a daily basis by doing a time study. This gave the author an idea of how long it took the LHDs to complete a specific task. The author also interviewed operators and their supervisors in order to find the best practice work. This helped in identifying the problem areas when comparing the best practice work with what the LHDs are actually doing. According to the project results, it was found that the LHDs are underutilized due to shortage of drivers and the long distances the LHDs have to travel for material loading and refuelling. The author recommended that the machine utilization should be improved by training more operators in order to eliminate the 'no operator' downtime; the cost arrangement of this recommendation is included in the report. The author also recommended that the travelling time should be reduced by using tractors instead of LHDs when long distances need to be travelled for material loading. Another recommendation for reducing travelling time was to bring the mobile fuel tank closer to a section; the cost arrangement for this recommendation is also included in the report.

Keywords: Optimizing, LHD utilization, LHD availability, key performance indicators (KPI), shortage of drivers, long distances, mobile fuel tanks



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2. New Denmark Colliery. Training Department internal data source, 14 December 2009.         [ Links ]

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8. New Denmark Colliery. Stores internal data source, 5 January 2010.         [ Links ]



Paper written on project work carried out in partial fulfilment of B.Sc Mining Engineering

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