Polyus boosting productivity with fleet size class upgrades and remote control trials

first_imgIn the first of a series of posts on Russia’s largest gold miner Polyus and its implementation of equipment and technology to boost productivity across its sites, Paul Moore looks at changes the company is making to its open pit fleets, both to the machine fleets themselves but also in terms of its automation plans. The information is from a media briefing in London as part the Polyus Capital Markets Day attended by IM together with Polyus staff Vladimir Polin, Chief Operating Officer; Sergey Lobov, VP for Mineral Resourcel Michael Kamenev, Vice President of Engineering and Andrey Krylov, Vice President for Operations and Technical Development.Russia’s largest gold miner is also now the seventh largest globally in terms of 2017 figures at 2.2 Moz produced. In P&P Reserves terms it reports 68 Moz, behind only Newmont; with the highest rating in terms of Life of Mine average at 31 years. It has 190 Moz of M&I Resources, with 100% open pit operations and 95% of Reserves from operating assets. Its Krasnoyarsk cluster of mines alone has 70 Moz of Resources behind only Pebble, Olympic Dam, Grasberg and KSM, while Olimpiada alone has 40 Moz of this. Importantly the company believes it is the lowest cost producer in the world at TCC $364/oz and AISC at $621/oz. Gold ore processed has increased 31% since 2013 from 22.48 Mt to 26.66 Mt, while gold recovery has increased by 4.1% largely due to process plant improvements (more on this in a future post). This is all against an impressive safety record, with no fatalities in 2017 and an LTIFR of 0.11 that year.This position, however, is not standing still with a number of operational improvements already made or underway. This post focuses on open pit changes. Since 2013 Polyus has upgraded its mining fleet across all its assets, decreasing the share of trucks with small payloads from more than half the fleet in 2013 to less than a third in 2017. Large Caterpillar 793D and Komatsu 730E/830E trucks are being introduced both at Krasnoyarsk Business Unit (KBU, which includes the Olimpiada, Blagodatnoye and Titimukhta deposits) and the new Natalka mine, to the point where larger trucks (above 180 t) will be over a quarter of the Polyus fleet by 2019 and by end 2018, the share of 220 t trucks in actual ore haulage will be 31% up from 9% in 2017, while in the same year 90 t truck class share of ore haulage will fall from 14% to 11%Specifically in 2016 the company only had two trucks above 180 t, plus 95 trucks of 120 to 180 t class and 78 below 120 t class. In 2017 the figures changed to 7/105/81; by end 2018 this will change again to 38/106/86 and in 2019 to 65/104/78. This has allowed Polyus to increase material moved volumes from 125 Mt in 2013 to 224 Mt in 2017 with an associated increase in mined ore tonnage from 30 Mt to 37.8 Mt. Average truck payload capacity is now 115 t, up from 106 t in 2013, and will increase to 139 t in 2019. At Olimpiada and Blagodatnoye in 2018, a fleet of 26 new 220 t Caterpillar 793D trucks are being introduced. At KBU as a whole, by end 2018 there will be 34 Cat 793D trucks, 11 Komatsu D475 dozers and six Chinese WK range shovels (see below).Moving on to the shovels, two new Chinese TYHI WK-20 shovels with 20 m3 capacity have been introduced at KBU in 2017 and another four WK-35 machines being introduced this year, replacing larger fleets of small Russian EKG-10 shovels. Average shovel load by end 2018 will be 14.6 m3 up from 12 m3 in 2017. One of the new WK-20 shovels introduced in July 2017 had already reached its planned capacity of 600,000 m3 by October 2017. One of the WK-35 machines has already been commissioned at Olimpiada where its has reached its planned capacity of 900,000 to 1,000,000 m3 per month. Three more WK-35s are due to be added in 2019. New Russian IZ-Kartex EKG-18 shovels are also being introduced to replace EKG-10 machines.The drill fleet is also being updated with older and smaller models replaced. Three new Epiroc Pit Viper 271 electric drills are being introduced at KBU, capable of 250 mm diameter holes. Polyus states that these machines are four times more efficient than what they were using.Lastly moving on to fleet optimisation and automation. Polyus is using a Wenco FMS aimed at optimisation of the mine fleet schedules and tie-down times to increase average truck speed and payloads and improve fuel consumption. Real time monitoring allows better control over mining equipment and reduces wear and tear. There is also increased safety with front and rear awareness zones displayed; and more precise blasting and drilling. Now Wenco Drill Navigation enables high precision drill rig guidance at optimal angles and depths to best fit the mine plan. Onboard equipment allows the operator to estimate real time progress and adjust the drill to the planned optimal position with precision to one tenth of a degree. Actual drilling data is stored and then used to optimise further local blast plans.Automation is being introduced in a phased, step by step approach. In 2017, a second stage of high precision accuracy guidance was being used at KBU on 10 large shovels, two smaller shovels, four wheel loaders, five wheeled dozers, and three drill rigs; and at Verninskoye on four large shovels, 10 trucks, five wheel loaders, four wheeled dozers and five drill rigs. This year, pilot tests are underway at KBU Olimpiada with Australia’s RCT’s ControlMaster® Smart Technology for remotely controlled operation from an ROC of one shovel, five trucks, one drill rig and three crawler dozers, but with the ultimate aim of achieving full automation of part of the fleet. Polyus says it has achieved a 13% increase in efficiency with the introduction of the remotely operated fleet. Safety is still paramount with GPS trackers for personnel in the mine as well as radar zones and cameras on equipment.last_img read more