Value Impacts of Truck Limited Haulage
Recent drops in commodity prices and economic uncertainty have seen many businesses re-evaluate their operational expenditure to ensure mine profitability. The high capital and operational cost of truck and digger fleets has resulted in loading and hauling of material being a significant proportion of a mine’s expenses (Nel, Kizil and Knights, 2011), thus it is often one of the first areas to be considered for cost reduction. If an operation requires additional trucks to maintain or improve productivity, a robust justification is crucial due to the expenditure involved.
Mining schedules form the basis of productivity and cost estimations for mining operations and therefore must have a significant level of confidence with regards to achievable quantities and rates. Traditionally, a mining schedule is produced without detailed consideration of the trucking capacity or requirements. Although some mine planning software incorporates haulage predictions into schedules, most cannot model the dynamic nature of dumping and haulage. Previous studies have shown that it is necessary to have detailed haulage analysis instead of the traditional mining block centroid to dump block centroid methods for more realistic mining schedules and cost estimation (Doig and Kizil, 2013).
Recent developments in software have allowed the dynamic integration of haulage analysis with mining schedules. Engineers can now create mining schedules in conjunction with dumping schedules, allowing mining schedules to reflect the restrictions created by the number of available trucks, combined with dynamic consideration of available in-pit and out-of-pit dumping locations.
A study has been completed producing a mining schedule in conjunction with a dumping schedule and haulage analysis. Multiple schedules were run with various haulage strategies (including minimising rehabilitation liability) and truck availability to identify the impacts on coal production, and hence revenue. A financial analysis was then completed where a Net Present Value (NPV) was calculated for each scenario. The study showed that trucking shortfalls can significantly impact mining schedules and cost estimations, both in terms of cost as well as revenue lost when trucks cannot maintain forecast production rates, thus dumping schedules and haulage analysis should be completed simultaneously. If dumping and haulage is not considered when planning the mining schedule, a mining business is ignorant to the impacts trucking has on the mine production, closure risk and profitability.
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