Mining & Metals

A Mining industry executive once told us that, “When times are good, we run to failure to keep making product and when times are bad, we run to failure to save money”.

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A Mining industry executive once told us that, “When times are good, we run to failure to keep making product and when times are bad, we run to failure to save money”.  Mining is a difficult industry.  First because even the best plans often do not materialize due to unforeseen conditions in geology, weather, labor, and commodity prices.  Second it is a global industry but often on a locally small scale, meaning it is not uncommon to find operations in remote areas with several hundred employees with the next closest operation several thousand miles away.  Both of these conditions present great challenges for miners.

Certitude brings a comprehensive business approach to our Mining clients.  This means we review and challenge all business, technical, scientific, and operational assumptions, plans, and projects to help our clients articulate where they have been and where they need to be in the future.  Once the future state business objectives are defined and validated we design implementation projects that deliver the future in a way that is self funding over a short time period and fosters operational alignment to the company’s business objectives.

Our team is highly experienced in the following areas:

  • Mine Planning review and validation utilizing Mining Engineers and Qualified Persons
  • Operations Improvement across entire process: Drill / Blast, Mining, Rock load & haul, Comminution & Milling, Separation and Concentration, Dewatering, Tertiary Processing
  • Asset Reliability and Maintenance
  • Personnel & Contractor Management
  • Shutdown planning and execution

Project Examples

Metallurgical Coal Mine:  Surface mining operation suffered from high levels of equipment failure.  Overall, in excess of 40% of the assets were inoperable at any moment in time.  An asset reliability program was devised and installed as an integral part of the operations.  Routine maintenance schedules were elevated as survival imperatives and partnerships were developed with OEM’s for critical high value assets.  Equipment downtime was reduced significantly to under 10% within one year and production rates and revenue grew over 15%.

Phosphate Surface Mine:  Operations for this phosphate producer were suffering from low asset utilization of draglines in overburden removal and beneficiation, separation, and flotation.  Unwieldy assets caused an unbalanced situation across each step in the process.  A reliability program was developed and instituted along with improved maintenance practices to return production to a more balanced situation.  Client also reduced cost by over $14M within 12 months.

Iron Ore Pit Mine:  The blasting and loading activities on this mine were performing beyond spec while the crushing & concentrator process was suffering from significant unplanned downtime.  Analysis uncovered that operators were setting the machinery to run beyond levels specified by the manufacturers.  The root cause of this behavior was that over time the culture had evolved to one of “make more today than yesterday” which had little basis in operational reality.  All “old” procedures were reproduced and updated including maintenance policies and procedures and an equipment reliability program was instituted to better balance the whole operation.  Client increased Revenue by17% in first year due to improved runtimes.