The mining industry is challenging and complex, with many maintenance challenges that must be addressed to ensure safe, reliable and cost-effective operations. From the onset, asset management is central to equipment availability and reliability when planning a new mine and getting plant equipment maintenance ready, right through commissioning (when several assets are already in operation) to operating the mine.
While several external factors impact mining operations, mining managers can exert some control over the condition and availability of mining equipment to support operations.
Changing technology and the digitalisation of processes allow for much better forecasting, control and reporting. Predictive maintenance and reliability engineering focus has a significant role in reducing downtime and extending the life of critical equipment. Unfortunately, many mining operations still struggle with frequent equipment breakdowns that hamper operations, incidents causing severe environmental damage or loss of life, and low staff morale.
With our extensive experience, we can help mining companies to combat their maintenance challenges.
The mining industry faces extensive legal compliance requirements due to high accident risks and potential loss of life, production, and environmental damage. Stringent maintenance practices are crucial for equipment safety. Accurate reporting of maintenance tasks is vital to avoid disciplinary charges or legal action.
Mining houses rely on internal resources and contractors, emphasising the importance of agreed standards and procedures. Effective enterprise asset management systems (EAMS) and work management apps, like the On Key Field Engineering app, facilitate planning, management, and enforcement of maintenance work.
Asset risk management involves everyone in the business, and Pragma’s approach includes training and a functional framework. Unskilled resources play a significant role in accidents, highlighting the need for practical maintenance courses to comply with regulations and mitigate risks.
Due to stricter legislation and advancing mining processes and equipment, mining companies require competent technical staff. Qualified planners, schedulers, artisans, and business intelligence engineers must oversee maintenance activities without project delays or downtime. Automation and technology require programmers and data analysts with a deep understanding of maintenance and asset management.
Pragma offers resourcing benefits, providing skilled resources for advisory projects and long-term asset care service contracts. Their Academy trains learners in asset management, offering recommended learning pathways for role-specific skills and aiding in succession planning for clients.
Mining companies face the challenge of managing costs with declining maintenance budgets, leading to neglected maintenance and frequent breakdowns. Decreased budgets result in lower productivity, revenue, safety hazards, and environmental incidents. To optimise budget spending:
Standardising maintenance processes in mining improves safety, efficiency, and equipment maintenance. Ways to achieve this include developing preventive maintenance programs, implementing computerised maintenance management systems (CMMS) like On Key, establishing standard operating procedures (SOPs), and fostering a culture of continuous improvement. Pragma’s solutions, such as asset health monitoring using IoT technologies and mobile work management applications, support these efforts. Standardisation ensures consistent and correct work execution, reduces errors, and enables effective management of maintenance plans and resources. Regular evaluation and improvement enhance overall performance and safety. Standardising maintenance processes control costs, improve equipment reliability, and ensures compliance with mining safety and environmental regulations.
Investing in a reliability engineering program is crucial for mining houses struggling with equipment failures. It focuses on critical assets and optimising their performance to prevent future failures. This proactive approach reduces downtime and maintenance costs. Reliability engineering in mining involves identifying failure modes, developing preventive maintenance plans, implementing reliability-centred maintenance (RCM), using condition monitoring techniques, establishing performance metrics, conducting root cause analysis, and implementing predictive maintenance techniques. Pragma offers reliability engineering solutions, including full-time engineers, consultation, coaching, and learning pathways to empower mining teams to manage and execute reliability engineering programs.
Maintenance, engineering, and supply chain integration and communication are vital for efficient mining operations. To achieve this, implementing an inventory management system, a computerised maintenance management system (CMMS), and regular communication processes between teams are essential. Similarly, integrating with the store department optimises material flow and availability. Implementing an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, establishing communication channels, and developing a supplier management program are effective strategies. These measures enhance equipment uptime, reduce maintenance costs, and improve safety by ensuring prompt parts availability and swiftly addressing issues.
Master data management (MDM) is crucial in mining to address various challenges caused by the lack of accurate data. MDM involves collecting, consolidating, and maintaining accurate data about critical assets, enabling informed decision-making. It includes identifying and classifying critical data, validating and storing data in a central repository, ensuring accuracy and consistency, implementing data governance, and utilising data analytics. An effective MDM system improves maintenance efficiency, enhances equipment performance and reliability through predictive maintenance, ensures regulatory compliance, and reduces costs. MDM is essential for mining companies to effectively manage and utilise data from mining operations and maintenance activities.
The belt was replaced, after a 77-hour long breakdown and put back into operation, and a root cause analysis exercise was conducted.