Real organs of mining (Project Optimization)


Mr Carl Dufour

What I’m about to say will be a surprise to no-one: What often kills a mining company are the operation costs. A mine without an ore body is no mine, just as the heart is to the human body. There is a narrow relation between the two, we could see it as - The human heart is the ore body - The brain, the electricity - The lungs the ventilation - The kidneys would be the pumping… and so on… Many studies show that many mining companies in operation should not be able to make a profit and never the less succeed to do so. The reason they do make a profit is simple, they understand their ore body and operate it properly. They understand that the secondary organs of their operations have to be well defined and properly operated. The secondary organs of the operation, such as ventilation, electricity, or the concentrator are just as important and necessary to the operations and should be addressed as such. It is also true for the respect of the environment or the pumping. All these secondary operations have an important impact on the operation costs and can be the difference between reaching or not your operation goals. If your ventilation fans are unable to send ventilation underground and recuperate the air in an efficient matter, your operation costs will be very important and could prevent from making your targeted tonnage. A common mistake these days is to focus on generalists. More often than not, companies have one or two centers of expertise. The clients and operators have to be able to understand that no one company can excel at everything they do. It is always profitable for a company to give various contracts to various companies whose specialty is in a specific field, such as electricity, ventilation, haulage, pumping, etc. It may be more expensive in CAPEX, however, it will easily and rapidly be recuperated in your OPEX. Turn-key companies today that have to operate part of a system are often the best to have an optimal system because they have to meet the norms and attain their objectives as opposed to a generalist company that will make plans and deliver to the client who will have to deal with the problems encountered. The choice of partner or partners, that are specialized in one specific field may be an advantage as the have probably accomplished many times a project and are specialized in the field as opposed to a generalist company. They may also have to meet operational targets that will be paid after a year of operation so they are well aware of the costs and realities of not being optimal.