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MINING

UNDERGROUND

Our clients are well established mining organizations with world wide operations (both underground and open-pit). In their Canadian operations, PVA assisted them in improving their development and production cycle time, while addressing issues such as: historical cultures, poor communication and engagement of the workforce, mismanaged work practices, skilled worker availabilities, and poor inter-departmental communication and coordination.

Objectives

Developing a new mine two kilometers away from another production mine also owned by this company. Their objective was to start production mining in early 2013.

To develop and implement a uniform Management Operating Systems with common metrics and key performance indicators (KPI’s) while improving the levels of active management at all organizational levels. This would result in increased ownership and accountability driving the attainment of the operational improvements and a culture of continuous improvement.

  • Developing a world class mining operation and culture.
  • Capturing all recoverable opportunity (process, systems, and behaviors) and instilling efficient and effective mining practices.
  • Developing proactive supervisory models adapted to the different operational areas.
  • Providing individual performance coaching for the surface and underground Supervisors/Shifters, Captains, Superintendents and senior management team.
  • Improving planning, scheduling, follow-up and reporting to ensure effective management of variances across all mining activities (engineering, geology, planning, development, production, maintenance and the mill).
  • Developing and implementing key operating metrics in all areas.
  • Ensuring participation in throughput improvement efforts by all levels of the organization through accountability and ownership.

Assessment Findings

  • Lack of effective use of trucks and scoops: units overloaded with muck falling on the ground causing damage to equipment.
  • Long periods of waiting for equipment at the maintenance shops resulting in less capacity to haul muck with scoops and trucks.
  • Inefficient work assignment practices by the Supervisors/Shifters to ensure that all employees have clear expectations about their roles, responsibilities and requirements during the shift.
  • Supervisors/Shifters not using the appropriate time standards and expectations to establish and coordinate activities between mining crews to achieve increased levels of operational effectiveness.
  • Supervisors/Shifters not following-up on a set work plan as the shift progresses to ensure that their objectives are being met.
  • Lack of effective shift transitions by the Supervisors/Shifters results in employees being nonproductive at the start of their shifts (i.e. looking for their equipment: jumbo drills, scoops, and trucks at the start of the shift), headings not being properly mucked out and maintenance not having equipment ready for operations.
  • When they visit their crews during the shift, Supervisors/Shifters were not documenting problems on the Safety Cards, or initiating and following-up on action plans.
  • Maintenance areas and preventive maintenance work orders were not effectively planned or managed causing equipment to be unavailable when it was needed in the mining operations, and for emergency work to be excessive.

Mining Underground Assessment Findings

  • Work Time

  • Non-effective Time

Mining Underground Breakdown of Time Spent

PVA's Response

PVA responded by offering group training and individual one-on-one coaching for all levels of management in the departments of Development mining, Maintenance (mechanical and electrical), Engineering, Geology, Supply Chain (Warehouse), and mining contractors. The training and coaching that was provided to the managerial group focused on different key components, including:

  • Developing performance standards to provide specific production targets to the mine, maintenance, and mill personnel.
  • Training and individual performance coaching for all levels of management in the departments of Development/Production, Maintenance (mechanical and electrical), Engineering, Geology, Supply Chain (Warehouse), Mill, and mining contractors.
  • Training and performance coaching provided to the managerial group focused on:

    • Proactive supervision of the employees (miners and mechanics).
    • Improving inter and intra-departmental communications.
    • Identification and resolution of variances through action plans.
    • Employee involvement and engagement in the success of the project.
    • Coaching on how to handle difficult situations.
  • Enhancing the roles and responsibilities for personnel in all areas of the mining operations.
  • Implementing new Management Operating Systems (MOS) to increase ownership and accountability at all management levels.
  • Increasing equipment availability through pre-op inspection programs ensuring that the mining equipment was properly maintained on a shift basis.
  • Enhancing weekly reporting from anecdotal to tangible volumes, variances, action plans, and results.
  • Improving supply chain processes from ordering material to the delivery underground.
  • Increasing the capacity of the skipping hoists by improving material coordination, handling, and hoist schedules (equipment, materials, and labor).
  • Better planning and coordination of maintenance activities with the involvement of the mining and mill departments during review meetings.

The Results

Some significant results obtained by our Client included:

  • Improved communication and attainment of health/safety requirements.
  • More than 35% improvement in horizontal development meters per active crew shift.
  • Increased production throughput levels averaging more than 30%.
  • Improved managers proactivity and communication between departments through more effective meetings.
  • Early identification of variances and implementation of action plans that created a climate of continuous improvement.
  • Clear improvements in the company’s culture and in the employee’s engagement in the success of the company (a notable decrease of more than 50% was observed in the number of grievances per employee).
  • Attainment of Preventative Maintenance objectives has risen from 25% to 80%, while maintenance time spent on emergencies dropped from 64% to 35%.
  • Increased motivation of the mine, maintenance, and mill employees through completing pre-op checks and best operating practices.
  • Clear improvement in the company’s culture and in the employee’s engagement in the success of the company.
  • Improved levels of proactive management by the Supervisors and Shifters.
  • Improved equipment availability for mining and milling operations.

Performance Evaluation

Mining Overall Meters Per Week

Improvement in Supervisory Activities

Mining Underground Supervisory Activities

PRE-PROJECT
4% 1% 45% 11% 39%
POST-PROJECT
40% 10% 20% 10% 20%
  • Active Supervision
  • Training
  • Administration
  • Travel Time
  • Available

Improvement in Horizontal Meters

Horizontal Meters Improvement

Improvement in Tonnes of Ore Hoisted

Tonnes of Ore Hoisted / Man-Shift

Long Term Work Continuation

The partnership between PVA and the client continues in other areas of their Mine operations in Quebec, including:

  • Improving hoisting operations and skipping capacity.
  • Continuing to enhance current improvements on horizontal development meters.
  • Ensuring the coordination between the two hoists./li>
  • Providing ongoing support and training to the new continuous improvement Coordinator.
  • Developing and installing a new Management Operating System for construction management.
  • Providing training to new Shifters, Supervisors, and Managers.
  • A Client Coordinator was trained and certified during the PVA engagement.
  • A quarterly audit program of the new Management Operating System was developed for the Coordinator.
  • PVA conducted audits over 18 months to ensure compliance to the continued utilization of the Management Operating Systems.
  • These Audits resulted in recommendations and action plans to further identify additional opportunities for improving operations.

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$1.15
+ BILLION SAVED
4.2
AVERAGE ROI
28
YEARS
580
+ ENGAGEMENTS
220
+ CLIENTS

PVA’s facilitation of our Business Improvement initiative has allowed for the accurate assessment of our current operations performance and brought the team a vision of where it can go. By setting standards and expectations and giving supervisors the tools to roll these out, have given rise to performance improvements that would have been difficult to capture without PVA’s assistance.

Duncan Middlemiss, President & CEO - St Andrew Goldfields Ltd.

The purpose of PVA’s involvement at Westwood was to obtain momentum as well as quick improvements and consistency in underground development by working with the managers on their critical activities. Establishing KPI’s reinforced the focus on results, and the understanding of the inherent daily opportunities. The implementation of daily meetings and reports, and the training and clarification of the roles of the supervisors and captains resulted in significant increases in performance. I would recommend PVA’s intervention.

Sylvain Lehoux, Project General Manager – Project Westwood

The experience with PVA was very enriching and educational. PVA’s strength is their great capacity for analysis and synthesis of the particular context of the site their team works in. Also, they were able to integrate and blend with our team, making it easier to facilitate a climate of mutual trust. PVA has involved every level of employee in the realization of the improvement plans. Undoubtedly, improvements in the process occurred in the cycle PVA had indicated.

Isabelle Labrie, Human Resources Director - Abitibi region

PVA's people quickly adapted to our mining reality. In the areas where PVA were involved, we have significantly increased our performance levels. In the hoisting, material and people movement, and lateral development areas, their involvement was significant and greatly appreciated. PVA has proven to have a good and healthy relationship with all members of our supervisory team. Overall, the coaching provided by PVA helped several supervisors to realize the importance of their communication skills with others.