Copper Mining - South America
The Client operates several large-scale copper mines in Chile.
Sinclair Knight Merz (Chilean office) was awarded a contract for the basic engineering required for mine development up to the year 2019. SMS worked with SKM to model the ore handling system associated with this block cave operation.
The modelling reviewed the proposed operation of the extraction of ore from over 500 draw points and its delivery to 6 underground crushing stations distributed throughout the Mine. Simulation modelling was used to estimate equipment requirements and to review the feasibility of the proposed mine layout.
A simulation model of the (then) proposed operations at our Client's mine was developed to evaluate alternate design proposals. The modelling encompassed the recovery of ore by LHDs, delivery to crushing plants, conveying to the bottom of the shaft and subsequent movement to the surface via a bulk winder.
The exercise explored the impact of various infrastructure arrangements (number of crushers, crusher capacity, conveyor capacities, location and sizing of bins, etc) on production. It was also used to develop a strategy for the scheduling of LHDs to the many draw-points and the servicing of blocked draw-points by the rock breakers.
Modelling was also used to develop an understanding of the expected consequences of different rock fragmentation scenarios once production commenced.
A subsequent exercise expanded the model to include a proposed significant increase in the number of draw-points.
A later study explored options for the development of a second orebody. It considered a number of means of transporting ore from the new development to the surface either by a second winder or by extensions to the original shaft.
Copper Mining - Africa
Modelling covered mining, road, rail and conveyor transport along with stockpiling of ore and mullock in a large underground gold mine.
The modelling was used to assist in both mine planning and the development of strategies for the internal transfer of ore/mullock within the mine before its final hoisting to the surface.
The modelling provided an understanding of the complex interactions in the materials handling system and allowed operating procedures to be developed to improve productivity.
Underground Rail Operations
The removal by rail of the Longwall roof chocks to the surface for reconditioning and their subsequent return to the next production block presented Colliery staff with a logistics exercise outside of their normal scope of operations. The timing of the operation was such that removal and return of chocks could be expected to cause significant rail traffic congestion. Any time lost in reconditioning and returning the chocks would represent an equivalent loss of production time.
A simulation model was developed and used to evaluate a number of proposed strategies for the transfer of the chocks. The issues addressed included control systems, placement of passing areas, shunting facilities and use of intermediate dolly. The modelling allowed alternate strategies to be quantitatively assessed and the cost of implementation compared against likely production losses.
Open Pit Mining
Simulation models of our Client's mine and transportation infrastructure have been used to assist in evaluating various development proposals and modes of operation. The focus of this work has been on the handling, stockpiling and processing of coal.
The primary areas modelled include shovel and trucking operations, stockpile management and the coal washery operations.
Other Mining Projects
Introduction of Electric Trucks
Coal Transport to Washery - Truck Versus Conveyor
Colliery Materials Handling
Materials Handling Options
Project Underground Truck Haulage