The mining industry is no different when it comes to increasing productivity. Although the entire chain of command can be improved, the mining face is really where productivity counts the most, whether it’s surface or underground mining. Of course, the increase in productivity should not impede safety standards.
Optimizing overall procedures
Before a mining company is ready to increase productivity at the mining face, overall procedures and work processes need to be optimized. Start by gathering data to establish an administrative model aimed at resolving any existing productivity issues.
In this sense, you should not rely solely on management but on actual miners whose advice, remarks, and insights will prove valuable. Drilling, mining, and crushing all areas that need to run smoothly if miners at the mining face are to improve their efficiency.
Dealing with constraints
Another efficient method is to use the theory of constraints, known as TOC. The theory argues that there are bottlenecks in the production process that are hindering profit generation. Once you identify these constraints, you will be able to nullify their detrimental effects open an avenue of profit.
Managers, in particular, should analyze all the factors that lead to bottlenecks and suggest procedures to do away with them. As soon as the initial bottleneck is “widened,” you will feel a tangible rise in productivity, and the overall expenses will drop.
Turn your attention to metrics
Mining companies rely on statistics heavily but the figures need to be interpreted correctly or metrics analysis might backfire. For instance, industry managers typically measure labor productivity using the final product output as the main reference point. However, the hour’s individual workers put into mining is not a valid measurement of their efficiency and the actual progress made at the mining face.
Instead of a strict focus on numbers, miners and administrative staff should turn their focus to generating value within the existing timeframe. Data such as ore grade, explosives used, in blasting the rock face, the quality of ore, and depth should all be taken into account to successfully and gradually increase productivity at the mining face.
Best parts for the role
The attention to quality in mining should extend to all the machinery and equipment as well. Everything from tire pressure on dump trucks to selecting the right type of conveyor belt rollers can improve the ore extraction process significantly.
In fact, a simple switch to composite rollers will lead to a reduction in work-related injuries, saving power, and a reduction in noise violations. When perceived on their own, oiling an engine or replacing a conveyor belt might not seem like much but when combined, these improvements result in a significant drop in operational costs.
Reworking external relationships
As stated earlier, productivity at the mining fade is inherently connected with everything that goes around on in the background, from procurement to sick leaves and levels of motivation among employees.
The logistics of a typical mining company rely on ties with equipment manufacturers, various service providers, device instrumentation experts, and lastly, end customers. In order to speed up the process and reduce the waste of material and man-hours, you should strive to handle as many tasks as possible in-house.
After this change, the decision-makers process will become more internal, allowing you to focus on value instead of chasing business partners for undelivered parts or late payments. Of course, startup mining companies will have to outsource heavily but as your business grows, you should look to internalize as many procedures as possible.
Don’t shy away from modern technology
Millennia have passed since Egyptian workers used primitive stone-cutting tools to carve out the blocks for the pyramids. If they had a better way of extracting limestone from quarries, they would have definitely used it.
The mining industry today is much more sophisticated and it is getting more tech-dependent by the decade. Don’t shy away from technology, such as load-haul-dump mining equipment and autonomous LHD systems.
The mining face is the apex of any mining business. Making it more productive is not a simple as it sounds, as the whole mining operation needs an overhaul, from getting state-of-the-art equipment to rethinking external relationships.