Open cut operations

Our engagements address all aspects of mine operations to enhance productivity. our consultants work with you to identify and prioritise the major bottlenecks and critical drivers of volume and cost.

Our work in open-cut operations identifies and prioritises the major bottlenecks and critical drivers of performance to enhance productivity.

Drill and blast

Drill and blast is a common bottleneck with our mining clients. We work with our clients to optimise operations through the coordination of external contractors, improving the maintenance of drilling equipment, managing impact of blast times on production, and minimising the economic impact of downstream fragmentation on mine and mill productivity.

Typical improvement approaches in drill and blast:

  • Equipment availability and utilisation
  • Pattern coordination and drill moves
  • Pattern design and charge optimisation
  • Mine-plan compliance
  • Mine-to-mill strategy optimising across drill and blast, dig rates, milling rates and yield
  • Explosives contract renegotiation

Example: Drill and blast improvement

An open-pit gold miner faced declining mined grade and an unfavourable transition from soft, free-dig, oxide material to hard rock. As a result, drill and blast had become the mine’s bottleneck and in-pit blasted stocks were declining. With PIP’s assistance, our client achieved increased blasted stock from 10 to 27 days, increased drill yield from 7 BCM/m drilled to over 9 BCM/m drilled and reduced explosives spend by 14%.

Truck and shovel operations

PIP has worked extensively with truck and shovel operations in all commodities and all major mining provinces around the world. We share our best practice experience in managing critical equipment and creating rapid behavioural change to drive rapid increases in output and optimise fleet size.

Typical improvement approaches in trucking operations:

  • Increase critical equipment availability (see fleet maintenance)
  • Improve equipment utilisation
  • Control shift changeovers, crib breaks, refuelling times, tyre and maintenance checks, no operator delays
  • Reduce truck cycle times and optimise truck fill factors
  • Enhance Management Operating System for thorough short-interval control on dig rates and load cycles, optimised haul distance and speed, and improved dump interactions
  •  Improve recovery in pit and across site

Example: Trucking operations improvement

Low demand had led an open-cut coal miner to focus on cost reduction and not invest in pre-strip. A rapid increase in demand then placed intense pressure on pre-strip rates. PIP helped deliver a 45% increase in material hauled by the same fleet, by: focusing on the biggest levers of operating and cycle time, providing one-on-one coaching to Supervisors and putting in place a strict routine of meetings and Visual Boards to drive accountability. For more information see:

Dragline operations

PIP knows draglines. We know the drivers of dragline performance and we have an extensive library of improvement ideas covering all aspects of their planning, operation and maintenance.

Typical improvement approaches in dragline operations:

  • Value Driver Trees for operating performance
  • Identify key drivers of dig rate, availability, payload, conformance to plan and re-handle
  • Short-interval control to improve prioritisation and accountability to meet targets.

Example: Dragline operations improvement

A large coal-mining company with multiple mines and draglines in Australia was performing well on international benchmarks for dragline productivity. However, there was still room to improve. We helped our client generate, prioritise and implement improvement ideas to increase productivity by 15% – the equivalent of gaining one extra dragline across their fleet without the typical $100m capital cost of purchasing a new one.

PIP clearly stood out. And the primary reason for me was sustainability. The tools that PIP brought were firstly themselves: the quality of people with a strong operational background and good leadership qualities. There was a definite focus on delivering outcomes: so getting on to the ground with our people, helping our people deliver outcomes. Our utilisation is [the] best amongst the Energy Group within Rio Tinto Coal Australia; by a long shot. Month-to-date we're running at 39 loads per day out of each truck. Historically we were down as low as 22. I'd recommend PIP to anybody else.CAMERON HALFPENNY

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Relevant Case Studies