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Speed Runs: optimising truck payload and cycle speeds
At the Cowal Gold Mine, trucks transport ore over many km’s from the open pit. The more ore they take, the slower they move. Can you optimise for speed and tonnage?
The Cowal operation is an open pit mining operation with production from a number of different areas within a large, single pit. As a result of the general site configuration and layout, haul distances, in particular for waste disposal, is the longest of all open pit operations across the company. Material is typically hauled for a 4km distance at a 1:10 incline and thereafter another 1-3km on a reasonably flat surface to the crusher, stockpiles or waste rock dumps depending on material type. A fleet monitoring system (MineStar) is installed and fully operational with a significant amount of individual truck cycle data available. Mining is carried out with a company-owned fleet of mining equipment that includes 2 x Liebherr 994 backhoe excavators, 1 x Hitachi 3600 Excavator and 16 x Cat 789 dump trucks.
The key question remains: What is the optimum payload vs haul speed trade-off and how does that change with increases to the depth of the pit and haulage distances to future waste dump locations?
At present the operating philosophy is to “light load” trucks to ensure they reach at least second gear on the way out on the ramp. Payloads are controlled, however given the haul distance required, every tonne counts. If the optimum cycle speeds and payload can be determined, there is potential to improve productivity and reduce costs across the haulage fleet.
Critical areas to consider include:
- For any given haulage cycle, can payload be “calibrated” to a specific location using historical VIMS data?
- In excess of two years VIMS data is available for analysis that could be “mined” to establish the optimum trade-off!
- Can payload optimisation be done in real time and displayed to the operator?
Ryan Kare - Lead Mentor