Continuous improvement is one of the key ways that Kinross is reducing costs at operations across the company. From the move to self-perform mining at Chirano, Maricunga and Tasiast, to a new ore blending strategy at Paracatu, CI efforts have helped reduce cash costs Kinross-wide to $720 per ounce in 2014.
At Round Mountain, a focus has been on improving haul truck payloads and the results are paying off. The operation has seen a 5% increase in payload for the third quarter of 2014 and an 8% increase in production from November 2014 through February 2015 as a result of haulage optimization efforts.
“This is an opportunity to make gold production more economically viable and somewhat offset lower gold prices by improving the margin,” says Neil Jensen, Senior Mining Manager.
The initiative was launched after studies by the Continuous Improvement Department, Caterpillar and Cashman determined that the majority of haul trucks were under loaded. Both Caterpillar, supplier of heavy mobile equipment and Cashman, a Caterpillar dealership that also provides sales, service and maintenance and repair contracts, have strong working relationships with Round Mountain and have collaborated with the site to improve cost effectiveness. As a Caterpillar Alliance customer, Kinross has access to Caterpillar’s Scale Study and Tray Scan technology and technicians, which were used in these studies to scan truck loads (trays) and determine their volume and specific gravity.
To correct the under loading, the team focused on getting haul truck loads “full and centred”. In regular crew meetings and daily reminders, crews have been educated on what a properly loaded truck looks like and how to achieve it. Feedback from drivers and operators has been crucial to the modification of practice.
Photo credits to John Hutchinson and DJ Jackson