INCREASED MILL PRODUCTION

THROUGH WEEKLY CRUSHER SHUT OPTIMISATION

Business Case

Our client’s Australian executive team had embarked on a strategy to broaden the application of business improvement throughout the organisation. As part of this activity, a program to balance and stabilise the mine to mill process was initiated.

Scope

Through a series of workshops to assess the current departmental plans and site objectives, the project team were able to ascertain which activities were critical to ensure that the financial year budgets would be met. Within the processing department, a mill throughput increase was identified as a key requirement. Through further discussions and observations, it was identified that an opportunity existed to increase the overall feed to the mill by reducing the duration of the weekly crusher shutdown.

Project Summary

On investigation it was discovered that the shutdown duration was seen as ‘untouchable’, as it was required to enable the engineering department to perform their regular inspections, which previously had been identified as the cause of several major mechanical failures. Following discussions, it was agreed that the right approach would be to challenge the completion of the inspections in a shorter duration and not the content, frequency or cost aspect of the shutdown.

Through the application of Quick Change Over (QCO) methodology the inspection process was analysed with the support of two of four production crews. Several opportunities for improvement were identified, which once implemented and formalised into a standard process, resulted in a consistent inspection process being performed by all crews in a significantly reduced duration.

Results

  • Utilising the existing assets the weekly shutdown was improved by 54% (13 to 6 hours)
  • Production throughput at the mill was increased by 292kt pa delivering a $29m pa increase in revenue (project ROI 58:1)
  • Several safety concerns were also eliminated through the development and standardisation of safer working practices