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Open-pit mining conference offers solutions for operators: presentations discuss the latest developments related to truck-shovel mining.

The bi-annual Haulage & Loading conference kicks off May 7, 2017, at the Wigwam Resort in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. The event, which features a continuing education program and a small exhibit, caters to professionals involved in surface mining operations with an emphasis on truck-shovel mining methods. Over the course of three days, the technical program offers five tracks: Improving Operations, Haulage Strategies, Fleet Management, Safety & Training and Loading Techniques. In each of the sessions, presenters from the mines and the service side of the business, offer ideas on how to operate open-pit mines more safely and efficiently.

The Wigwam Resort offers a rustic, affordable atmosphere to learn and meet with peers. The full conference registration includes access to all of the presentations and the exhibit area, along with breakfast each morning and two lunches.

In addition to the technical program, Haulage & Loading also offers several opportunities for delegates to mingle with peers. On Sunday morning, before the event begins, E&MJ and Coal Age sponsor a golf outing. In the evening, delegates will enjoy a pleasant desert evening at a casual poolside soiree. What follows is a preview of what conference delegates can expect to see and hear at Haulage & Loading 2017.

Improving Operations

The mining industry has long recognized the importance of slope stability as it pertains to safely extracting metal and ore from open pits. In his presentation, Optimizing Slope Angles with Controlled Blasting, Slope Monitoring, and Good Communication, Keith Taylor, senior geotechnical engineer, Freeport-McMoRan, will discuss a different approach.

Many open pit mines use advanced monitoring techniques to detect small movements in the highwall and provide operators with ample warning prior to instability. The fundamentals of slope design, when combined with careful blasting and mining practices, can be used to increase the angle of the highwall. This increases the value of the resource by reducing stripping, increasing accessible ore, or some economic combination of the two. This presentation will review the combination of slope design, slope monitoring, blasting, mining, and management being used to safely increase the value of Freeport's open pit mines.

Professor Tim Joseph from the University of Alberta will present: Is Bigger Still Better? Considerations in Increasing the Size of Haulage Equipment. Equipment selection is one of the most important decisions made in mine planning as the size of equipment affects decisions from size of pit to total cost of operation. This presentation discusses a study that analyzes hauler scale impacts on aspects not currently incorporated into conventional mine planning, including expansion of roads to accommodate larger equipment, road layer thickness variation depending on hauler size, and fuel consumption and emissions. Results obtained indicate that such correlations have a high impact on cost and therefore an expanded consideration of the capacities of increasing equipment size in mine planning is highly recommended.

In The Critical Link Between Loader Productivity, Operator Performance and Mining Costs, Andrew Jessett, CEO, MineWare will explore the critical link between loader productivity, operator performance and the overall cost of mining as far as:

* How the performance of material loading assets--such as draglines, shovels and excavators--heavily influences the success of the downstream mining processes;

* Why inefficiencies on the front end have dramatic repercussions to the overall value stream; and

* Why the variation in performance between operators on loading equipment will continue to significantly affect the success factor for the whole load-and-haul process.

There are three key dimensions to loader productivity under the loading operators' control including payload compliance, mine plan compliance and machine damage management.

David E. Pitchford, President, MMD Mineral Sizing (America) will introduce a revolutionary new concept for loading haul trucks is his presentation: Improving Truck-and-Shovel Utilization with a Surge Feeder. Typical truck and shovel operations have "start/stop" operations: the shovel loads a truck and then waits for the next truck to back into a loading position. This means that the mine production is totally dependent in terms of volume on the efficiency of that loading method. In-pit crushing and conveying (IPCC) systems that compete with traditional truck-shovel mining methods allow the shovel to continuously load and achieve its full potential.

MMD has in the past shown that loading haul trucks with a feeder greatly improves the utilization of the truck fleet. The company can now offer a system that can be loaded with a shovel and size material at the face, and then load trucks with a "Surge Feeder." This system allows the shovel to load continuously; size the rock; feed the surge bunker; load the trucks to max capacity; eliminate trucks having to reverse into the loading position and achieve a 20%-35% increase in terms of tons per hour by eliminating the waiting time experienced by traditional truck-shovel methods.

Haulage Strategies

In his presentation, Bringing New Life to DC Haul Trucks with an AC Retrofit Package, Ben Balbach, heavy industry and power systems manager, Flanders, will show how custom-designed AC wheel motors can be built into the DC motor frames and a high-performance liquid-cooled IGBT drive package can be dropped into the existing DC drive footprint. With the upgrade, old DC haul trucks can now meet or exceed the capability of modern AC haul trucks. An all-new, open and flexible industry standard control package makes troubleshooting and diagnostics simple and streamlined. Advanced traction control with a virtual limited slip rear differential greatly improves truck tracking in slippery haul road conditions.

Hooman Askari-Nasab will present: Mine Haulage Simulation: A Tool Towards Managing Uncertainty. An extraction simulation operational planning tool with Excel input/output interface and automated reporting has been developed, validated and used as part of the short-range planning of a large-scale oil sands open pit operation in Canada. The simulation tool takes the mine production schedule as an input and imitates the truck-shovel haulage-systems and its interaction with the extraction plant including crushers and downstream assets. The simulation tool accurately reported the major system's KPIs at 95% level of statistical confidence within 3% accuracy of the historical dispatch data for the project. Major KPIs reported by the automated output reporting system are: ore and waste production, queue time, spot time, load time, dipper tonnage, haul time, dump time, truck speeds, backup time, loading cycle time, head grade, time and number of trucks in queue, and truck-and-shovel operational KPIs. The simulation tool gives the planner capability to assess the impact of changing operational scenarios such as stockpiling, different sizes of mixed-fleet trucks, and introduction of new haul-roads into the mine plan. Normalized results of the project will be presented.

In Can 'Big Data' Answer the Big Question: How Do My Haul Roads Perform?, Roger Thompson, Professor of Mining Engineering, Curtin University, Western Australian School of Mines, will put a modern twist on haul roads. Much has been made recently about the potential of Big Data to transform mining and how to capture, evaluate and share this information with those decision makers that value the data. While the amount of data available from mining operations and equipment is increasing, only a fraction of its full value is currently being extracted and used. For most operations, fleet management systems now record truck fleet load, haul, dump and travel times while on-board systems record engine operating and drive information--and more commonly these days, metrics of the truck response to the road.

In truck haulage, cycle times can vary as a result of many factors, not the least of which is the road condition itself. While we may see, over time, an increase in cycles times, it's often harder to explain the source of that increase--especially if and when it is related to road deterioration as opposed to simply the geometries of the haul itself. One critical measure of truck performance and associated cycle time is based on the effect of road rolling resistance--especially the impact of increased rolling resistance on cycle times and unit costs. But can a measure of this effect be extracted directly from existing Big Data and used to inform road management strategies?

This presentation examines the extent to which on-board data can be used to replicate the speed-rimpull-gradeability characteristics of a truck and thus isolate road rolling resistance. Ultimately, it may not be just as simple as 'today's rolling resistance is 3%,' but rather interrogating the data to reveal an incremental change indicator which would flag a more proactive response to road maintenance, as opposed to the reactive responses more typical of current operational strategies.

In his presentation, Electromobility Solutions for Modern Haul Trucks, Daniel Robertson, business manager for mobile mining equipment, North America, Siemens, will discuss the evolution of electric drive systems used by modern haul trucks. It will also briefly cover recent developments and compare the advantages and costs of traditional systems against hybrid drives and trolley assist.

Fleet Management

Lia Walker, quality leader II, Freeport-McMoRan, kicks off the Tuesday morning session with Innovative Information Mining: Fleet Optimization. Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (FCX) has continually made it a priority to invest in processes and systems that provide the information required to run a data-driven business. FCX has established a competitive advantage by coupling technology with its world class resources.

New advancements in technology have presented an opportunity to gain insights into Business Intelligence (BI) and drive new efficiencies. Big Data solutions are characterized by large volumes of data that have a wide variety of data types and must be processed at a high velocity. These types of data cannot be processed by traditional means and require a different approach.

Building on advanced BI and capabilities as far as the Internet of Things (IoT), Freeport's Big Data strategy includes developing and implementing a technical solution combined with integration with the business operations to achieve results. The vision is titled Innovative Information Mining, and the company is focused on solving critical business issues like reducing equipment idle time, improving cycle efficiencies and avoiding high-cost component failures. A collaborative team was challenged with analyzing data to identify root cause opportunities that improve the mining process. The team is implementing the technology, as well as developing the processes, people, and engagement models that ensure a lasting positive change.

In his presentation, Craig Griffiths, manager, customer solutions, Volvo Construction Equipment asks: How Big is Too Big? Mines and quarries around the world are limited by capital availability and the deposit's potential. Quarterly reporting, although interesting for the share markets (when positive), loses sight of the objective to sustainably extract the resources available. The mindless pursuit of numbers can kill a company. Deferring capital expenditure (cashflow) is a fundamentally sound management program for operations. To lose potential cashflow while maintaining a sound bankbook, can, in the long run, be the most economically sound solution for an operation.

More companies are investing in modern technology to assist mining operations. In his presentation, Turning Erdenet's Data into Dollars, Job Del Rosario, business solutions manager, Micromine Americas, discusses a case study involving the Erdenet Mining Corp. (EMC). Finding ways to reduce mining costs and improve efficiency while working complex ore bodies has been a challenge for EMC, a large Asian copper miner. They decided to face it through the introduction of technology that also would strengthen the technology skills of their employees. With the implementation of the full suite of Micromine products with the forward view of complete integration, EMC is moving forward to fulfil their needs.

Adam Norris, Regional Manager--North America, Immersive Technologies, will present: Adopting a People, Process and Technology Strategy to Drive Sustainable Workforce Optimization. This study examines the methods used and results achieved from mines who have adopted a people, process and technology strategy to drive workforce optimization. Best practices, barriers to achievement and actual case study data are presented. One-time improvement initiatives (driven out of necessity during the mining downturn) have already hit the financial bottom line and their impact is lessening. Now operations are looking for sustainable longer-term, solutions that integrate operational data, analytical tools and decision making processes that can be leveraged to improve financial outcomes on an ongoing basis. Aligning a workforce development strategy with operational data and analytical tools to improve the speed and effectiveness of training and risk management initiatives has produced large financial gains.

Safety & Training

In Coordinated Operator Training, Graham Upton, director of business development, Doron Precision Systems will discuss a unique approach to mine equipment operator training.

Equipment training using simulators reduces accidents and provides efficiency for the mine operations, improving the productivity and cost savings for mining companies.

Typically, mining simulators can train one operator at a time for particular operations, whether it be haul truck training, shovel operator training or other equipment operators. This presentation will discuss a new concept of coordinated training. This approach allows the operators of two or more vehicles to be fully integrated, immersed, and coordinated within a training scenario. Using multiple simulators, one instructor can train several operators at a time.

Slips and falls from heavy mobile equipment continue to be an issue in mining. In their presentation, Improving Ingress/Egress Systems on Mobile Equipment, William L. Porter and Jonisha P. Pollard; National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Pittsburgh Mining Research Division, will show that slips and falls commonly occur during the ingress/egress process with root causes being largely unknown. The NIOSH Mining program conducted research to determine the injury mechanism and equipment characteristics associated with front end loader ingress/egress injuries. This work included reviewing injuries reported to MSHA and identifying the elements of the system that equipment operators feel create difficulty while getting on or off of their equipment. This research highlights the need for improved mobile equipment ingress/egress systems and provides areas for design improvement.

Josh Savit, senior manager, Predictive Safety, will present Human Fatigue and Impairment--Predicting, Detecting, and Mitigating. Data science has already begun to revolutionize banking, business, and healthcare, and the same is becoming true for occupational health and safety, creating leading indicators that can prompt actionable results that make workplaces safer.

Two examples are Predictive Safety's Fatigue Monitoring System (PRISM), and its Cognitive Impairment Detection platform (AlertMeter), which have been in use at two major mine sites (with more than 3,000 employees) in South Africa for the past few years. As comprehensive systems in a progressive safety culture, these systems have demonstrated the value of predictive analytics in reducing risk in everyday occupational settings.

This presentation will show how high-tech and low-tech practices can be combined in a three-step program to make workers aware of their own fatigue and impairment levels (Prediction and Detection), providing supervisors and employees with proactive countermeasures that can be self-managed or brought into focus for intervention (mitigation), reducing the number and costs of accidents. The outcome demonstrates that fatigue and alertness management correlates with improved safety performance to mitigate a broad range of risky human behaviors that often go undetected until accidents occur.

Loading Techniques

The closing session will open with a new take on the old debate of: Hydraulic Excavator vs. Rope Shovel Performance. An analysis of dig performance for a hydraulic excavator versus an electric rope shovel of similar size class was performed in terms of the energy required to excavate a unit quantity of the same material from a mining face. The outcome of the analysis was that the energy-per-unit excavation quantity of rope shovels and hydraulic excavators are in fact identical. This is, for the most part, a material property. For any given material, the amount of energy to excavate a unit quantity, regardless of the excavating tool, is constant.

The results indicated higher production rates by excavators of similar capacity and age. In general, electric rope shovels, with higher initial purchase cost, exhibited lower service cost per cubic meter capacity, becoming overall more cost effective within five years (-30,000 hours) of operation over the hydraulic excavator counterpart of similar capacity.

In an industry that continues to stress the importance of efficiency, LED lighting is opening up a whole new world of options. In his presentation, The Use of Lighting Technology on Mobile Equipment, Tom Feldhusen, senior sales manager, phoenix Lighting, will explain how mine operators are able to use their resources like never before while gaining productivity and cost benefits from technology.

LEDs offer numerous benefits to the operational needs of the surface mining industry. They are more durable than traditional lighting. This continues to be proven by fixtures installed in the field, especially on more demanding equipment. They also dramatically decrease energy expenses and virtually eliminate maintenance. Positive operator feedback regarding LED light quality continues to pour in throughout the industry. At the same time, remote cameras thrive under the vibrant white light.

The qualities of LED are especially ideal for mobile equipment and the sporadic lighting needs associated with it. Traditional technology is either susceptible to vibration and/or requires up to 20 minutes of warm-up time following a restrike. This is lost productivity and a source of frustration for many mine operators. LED technology, however, is instant-on and requires no warm-up time for the lights to reach full intensity. Lights can also be turned on and off as frequently as necessary without any effect on the life of the LEDs. In addition to optimizing productivity, this reduces light pollution and further increases energy savings. Usage of LED technology can be combined with controls to activate lights only when needed.

Tom BoBo, director of technical sales and marketing, Split Engineering, will present: Shovel-Based Fragmentation Analysis of ROM to Improve Blast Planning.

Blast planning involves the identification of rock mass properties, then designing a blast that achieves the desired particle size distribution (PSD) for the run-of-mine (RoM) to feed the next stage in comminution. Typically, the RoM PSD information is fed forward to the primary crusher or heap leach operations.

The overall goal of any mine site is minimizing avoidable operational costs and maximizing efficiency in comminution to achieve the desired PSD. Many costs are preventable with a real-time reporting fragmentation analysis system located at the dig face, which provides feed forward PSD to the crusher and feedback to blast planning engineers. If you don't measure the results of blasting, you can't improve the process.

Discussed in this presentation will be the importance of providing real time fragmentation analysis as an important metric for determining energy factors for each hole and blast. This study presumes the energy factor is primarily determined by rock type, desired fragmentation distribution, and in-situ fracturing. Data has been collected over time at Asarco Mission mine, in Arizona, to support the evaluation of a shovel-based PSD analysis system. The mine blasting engineers use blast patterns in their short-range planning. Therefore, the energy input is changed based on the fragmentation analysis.

In this study, the geology and reported PSD are integral in determining the necessary energy factor for each material type. The crusher feed optimization is based on a blend of material and size. Based on location, geology and the PSD-reported data, the optimum blend of material and size is achieved to feed the crusher. Ultimate downstream mill throughput is key.

Split-ShovelCam was used for this study and is a fully autonomous digital fragmentation analysis system. The study determined it to be efficient and accurate by comparing reported PSD to proven hand-delineation software. It is expected that the blast designs can be further refined as initial testing and additional data is collected during the mining processes.

In the day and age when productivity and reliability rule, mining equipment such as electric rope shovels are being pushed to the performance limits while still being required to maintain a high level of availability. In his presentation, Shovel Control Advancements, John Burant, vice president global business development, Flanders, will explain how optimizing and balancing this relationship is at the core of the Flanders Freedom control system and DC motors upgrades. In 2012, Flanders installed the Freedom control system, adaptive control system called "Optimized Bank Performance," and the high performance M21 crowd motor, termed Freedom Level 3. A case study was presented at the Haulage and Loading conference in 2015 to demonstrate the pre- and post-upgrade performance with Freedom Level 3. Flanders has now taken it a step further by installing two high performance M24 hoist motors. This upgraded configuration is termed Freedom Level 7. An updated case study will be presented to outline the performance results of the Freedom Level 7 upgrade.

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Title Annotation:HAULAGE & LOADING 2017 PREVIEW
Author:Fiscor, Steve
Publication:Coal Age (1996)
Article Type:Conference news
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2017
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