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Our client has interest in 10 operating surface coal mines. The mines produce high-value coal using two (2) core mining techniques: truck/shovel mining, and dragline mining. They also operate coal-processing plants that prepare the coal to meet the exacting requirements of overseas customers. Most of the metallurgic coal produced is sold to steel makers in the Pacific Rim, South America, United States and Europe. Thermal coal is sold to major electricity generators in the Pacific Rim and to industrial customers and electricity generators in Canada.



  • Training and development of Managers and Supervisors about their Roles and Responsibilities.
  • Scheduling of equipment and crewing to standards by departments to reduce non-productive time and maximize labor cost effectiveness.
  • Reducing equipment downtime and rework levels by identifying the major causes of downtime and developing action plans to address.
  • Developing and installing reasonable standard and time expectations with employees.

Assessment Findings

  • The daily mining schedule was not reflective of the engineering mine plan.
  • The Mine Operations management team was using their best judgment in planning and scheduling mining activities.
  • Poor planning, scheduling and utilization of resources (tools, equipment, materials, and labor).
  • Parts are not available when needed.
  • Poor inventory control/compliance in the shops.
  • Scheduling conflicts between mine and maintenance.
  • Poor shift start-up and shift transition in mine operations.
  • The trucks are not properly scheduled or sequenced during the mine operations process.
  • In the Plant Maintenance Department, no estimates are given to complete work activities nor are expectations communicated.
  • No tracking of % complete for PM's, nor % of emergency work required.
  • In the Plant Operations, the Control Room operators determine feed rate versus running to capacity.
  • Supervisor's tour (management by walking/driving around) with no specific action plans.
  • The Supervisors lack the necessary management tools that would allow them to follow-up on meaningful expectations and objectives for work attainment.
  • There are no formal training plans in place by department to improve employee skills.
  • Standards or estimates are not used to determine proper crewing levels.
  • There was no system in place to identify major reasons for downtime and assist management in developing action plans to eliminate variances in both Plant and Mine operations.
  • Productivity

  • Opportunity

PVA's Response

  • Developed and installed enhanced mine planning processes.
  • Provided training and individual performance coaching for all levels of management 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.
  • Enhanced blast procedures for better rock fragmentation.
  • Developed performance standards to provide specific production targets to the mine, maintenance, and plant personnel.
  • Improved shift transitions and communications.
  • Implemented supervisory compliance and quality score programs.
  • Installed labor and equipment resource allocation models (master schedules) to balance the resource capacity to workload requirements.
  • Developed and implemented a Preventive Maintenance program focused on equipment availability and utilization.

Improvement in Supervisory Activities

Mining Open Pit Supervisory Activities

3% 0% 44% 6% 47%
45% 5% 30% 0% 20%
  • Active Supervision
  • Training
  • Administration
  • Manual Work
  • Available

The Results

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Some significant results obtained by our Client included:

  • Improved communication and attainment of health and safety requirements.
  • Increased production throughput levels averaging more than 28%.
  • Improved Managers proactive management levels and communication between departments.
  • Improved the levels of proactive supervision by the Supervisors/Shifters.
  • Improved equipment availability for mining and milling operations.

Mine and Plant Savings

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Long Term Work Continuation

  • 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 for recovering additional opportunities for improving the client’s operation.

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