Mine Reconciliation and its Potential in Mining
Posted: 10/08/2012 12:00:00 AM EDT | 0
At a time where there’s more focus than ever on the mining industry and the debate around the mining boom looking set to continue, there’s never been a more critical time to focus on where mining operations could be saving millions of dollars.
Mine reconciliation is a fundamental part of the operations of any mine site, but with so many sites not running effective reconciliation process, is everything being done to make the most of the functions already in place?
Mining IQ recently caught up with Mark Nope, Managing Director at Xstract Consultants. He’s worked with several operations gaining experience across varying degrees of reconciliation. We wanted Mark’s insight on how any mining operation could make the most of reconciliation.
Any geologist will know, having the right technology to obtain the data is only the start of the journey, Mark explains:
“One of the things that we continually see is that the way the data is used and applied, and the degree to which it is actually used to drive improvement, depends on the energy and the capability and the amount of time the individual has. You can have a great system but, number one, if it’s not fed correct data, or, number two, the data is not even used correctly or used at all, because there’s nobody who actually cares or understands or is tasked with driving that process.
“The real value lies in understanding that information and data to help drive the weekly and monthly mine planning, scheduling, forecasting, and ensuring that they’re actually moving the correct ore in the correct place and feeding the correct ore through to the process plant.”
“Reconciliation should be a real, live, weekly, monthly tool for mine improvement and process improvement across the resource to reserve to grade control to mine selection to ore feed.”
“Integrating the benefits of reconciliation and promoting the strategy across an entire mine site is by no means plain sailing. Getting buy-in and conveying reconciliation as a cost saver to the business is often the hardest part of the process. Mark says that this engagement is a vital part of ensuring reconciliation is being used to its full potential.”
“The best sites I’ve worked on are where from the survey to the mine planning to the geology to the process plant all understand that the correct data and answers and feedback are critical to delivering to the ultimate client. Whether that client is the people you sell your product to or, ultimately, that’s really what it is, or it’s your stakeholders or shareholders in the company or the mine.
“That’s one of the things I think we battle with in our industry, people actually buying into reconciliation as a value adding process, as opposed to something you just do because you’re asked to do it every year.”
So how can this be achieved? Mark says the key lies in unlocking the potential of your staff by proving the potential value available to them:
“People need to understand why each step of the reconciliation process is important to the different departments or disciplines on the mine. What are the inputs, what are their outputs, and how can it actually add value and make your mine more efficient or your life easier?
People don’t understand the integrated way that it works, getting that buy-in, basically unlocking the potential of the people that are on the site, by helping them understand the importance of this as a management and a business improvement tool, is the key one because it’s driven by people.
You can have the best system, but if you don’t have the right data feeding in or the right people making sure the right data’s being fed in, and then using it, it’s only as good as the people using the system. I think that’s what it comes down to, understanding and appreciating the importance of this to managing your resource, estimating your reserve, controlling your ore feed, and therefore delivering on your planned sale product.
That takes a buy-in by the different people across that chain from the geologist to the mining engineers to the process engineers to the schedulers. And so it’s about a team approach and an appreciation for why you do these things and what value they actually add to the business.
I don’t think that’s commonly appreciated. So sometimes it’s one champion, rather than the team who get it, and the sites that work best have a combined buy-in as to what it does, what value it has, and why you do it.
Mark will be continuing the discussion at the 3rd annual Mine Site Reconciliation conference in December. It’s the only event that provides practical strategies for improving your mine site reconciliation process, and most importantly, how to use reconciliation to drive business improvement.
The 3 biggest reconciliation challenges the industry faces will be tackled head-on by mining’s leading reconciliation specialists:
• Building an internal, integrated system that promotes reconciliation
• Effective data planning, collection and reporting
• Utilising reconciliation to drive business improvement and mine site
For more content on mine reconciliation, click here.
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