Tag Archives: SPH Kundilila

GOOD PARTNERSHIPS CAN LOWER MINING CONTRACTORS’ CYCLE TIMES

When planning and implementing load-haul mining contracts, the importance of close cooperation between contractor and customer cannot be over-emphasised, says Graeme Campbell, commercial and operations manager of Raubex Group company SPH Kundalila.

“It begins with the customer providing relevant and accurate data, so that the contractor can make the right calculations, but it goes much further than this,” says Campbell. “When both parties are focused on improving cycle times, the project efficiency can be significantly improved, and the cost reduced.”

He highlights that contractors will not be able to achieve the required cycle times if the customer causes any delays. But, on the other hand, it only takes small improvements to shorten cycle times and reduce the cost per tonne. This result should provide enough motivation for a constructive partnership.

“There are basic principles of earthmoving that influence cycle times, and these include ensuring ideal conditions both on-site and off-site,” he says. “On site, the loading area should be level and stable underfoot, while the haul road needs to be well-maintained, quality surface with as few stops as possible.”

The off-load area should also be easy to access, as this contributes to a quick turnaround time, he emphasises.

“Conducive off-site conditions mean that all activities must be accurately recorded, information on tonnes handled and hours worked per shift must be regularly provided, and there must be constant feedback on health, safety and machine status,” he says.

Not only will this achieve the shortest cycle times possible, but it will ensure a safe working environment – to the benefit of both the contractor and the customer.

“When adjudicating load and haul tenders, it is therefore vital that mines scrutinise the cycle times that contractors estimate, as this is a key criterion on which service providers can differentiate themselves,” says Campbell. “The difference between a couple of minutes per cycle could add unnecessary millions to the cost of a contract.”

THREE TIPS FOR MEETING PRODUCTION TARGETS

Mines are dynamic environments with loads of pressure on managers, department heads and procurement officers to keep up the pace, but there are three key bases to be covered if they are to consistently meet daily goals and keep the wheels turning smoothly.

These must-haves are communication, trusted role players and resource capacity, according to SPH Kundalila group commercial officer, Werner Cloete.

“Managers and procurement officers decide on crucial aspects that can make or break a project,” says Cloete. “When key actions are regularly taken – making them habits instead of emergency responses – it can revolutionise the way a site functions.”

Firstly, good communication is vital, so that everyone is clear on the target and the strategy and they can all play their roles in meeting daily production targets. Managed well, the regular morning meeting can be a powerful tool allowing progress to be tracked through role-players reporting back.

“In this forum, changes to the production plan can be easily shared and discussed,” he says.

It is important that communication methods should be practical and timeous. This means a judicious balance of verbal and written communication. The message must also reach all parties involved, so communicators must ensure that everyone has access to optimal communication tools.

Secondly, the project must have trusted role players who have been vetted and chosen on their ability to finish work within the allocated timeframe, and have the experience to conduct work effectively.

“All teams on a project must also function well with others from different contractors, without causing unnecessary conflict or problems,” he says. “Such problems can cost time and money.”

Thirdly, the project’s resource capacity will determine whether it is able to adjust to new production targets at a moment’s notice. This might occur when commodity prices change – demanding higher output – or when there is a breakdown on site.

“This is when it pays to have a well-resourced mining contractor like SPH Kundalila,” says Cloete. “In these situations, the mine does not want the uncertainty of whether the contractor can increase its capacity in a short time.”

Meeting the challenge of increased production means having proven back-up plans already in place, which leverage off the contractor’s access to a large enough fleet, and to enough skilled personnel to get the work done.

“This is one of SPH’s guarantees which help put clients’ minds at rest,” he says. “The company’s flexibility and resources can handle almost any unexpected scenario.”