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How to develop mining operational efficiencies

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article image Maintenance software systems contribute to increased productivity and profitability by improving equipment reliability

Leading Australian maintenance and asset management solutions specialist, Mainpac advises mining companies to lock in operational improvements to address key challenges impacting the sector.

The Australian mining industry is facing significant and numerous challenges as the mining boom transitions from an investment and construction phase to a production and export phase. High exchange rates, falling productivity, lower commodity prices, high labour costs and falling returns have all converged to generate a near-perfect storm.

Mainpac believes the high costs will continue to take a toll on mining companies until there is a sustained shift towards the optimisation of asset performance, operating costs and capital allocation. While any cost reduction is good, companies that improve their long-term value by embedding sustainable improvements will be around for the long haul, or snapped up at a good price.

Increased automation and digitisation provides miners with the opportunity to better monitor and analyse processes. The greater visibility on operations will help miners understand process and productivity weak spots better, and provide an opportunity to make improvements.

There are significant gains to be made through the implementation of strategic asset management practices such as reliability centred maintenance, capital planning, condition-based monitoring, and data quality management.

Leading mining companies already acknowledge that maintenance software systems contribute to increased productivity and profitability by improving equipment reliability, optimising maintenance costs and inventories. Not only do maintenance systems reduce the drain of technical know-how due to staff turnover, these codified improvements benefit current production. Operational improvements captured within a maintenance system are also transferable to the next mining venture, thereby ensuring that new projects operate with similar reliability and efficiency.

To survive the downturn, existing mining operations can invest in an asset management system that captures and leverages lessons learnt, implement and commit to continuous improvement programs, and automate and optimise processes and practices.

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