One of the key elements that set mining apart from most industries is the level of capital intensity. Mining requires high levels of capital investment at both mine construction and operation stages. As the world economic climate continues to show patterns of uncertainty the manner in which capital is deployed comes into question. Isibonelo Colliery an open cast operation of Anglo American Thermal Coal has asked the question of how capital should be deployed until the end of its life of mine.
Isibonelo Colliery like most mining operations has an ageing ore body and therefore mineral extraction is becoming more and more difficult. The amount of overburden (sand) needed to be moved in order to gain access to the coal has more than doubled in the past four years and continues to increase. The colliery has therefore brought in a new process that of pre-strip removal by truck and shovel to assist the primary equipment already working on overburden removal (dragline).
This document serves to show how the colliery should purchase one of its key production equipment, the Hitachi haul trucks without a lot of historical data on haul truck and shovel utilisation. Simulation modelling is the most appropriate technique to use for this study due to its ability to accurately forecast based on actual data. The model should determine the number of trucks needed to meet contractual sales until the end of the life of mine. It would take also into account variability associated with open cast mining such as weather, hauling distance, equipment availability and utilisation as well as the changing geology. The application software chosen was Simio Simulation Software which is perfect for this kind of use.
The results of this simulation showed that three haul trucks are required to be procured to ensure that 3 000 000 bank cubic metres of pre-strip is removed annually in order for the colliery to fulfil its contractual requirements. This goes to show the value that can be attained when simulation modelling is applied with a full understanding of the problem.
Thesis (B Eng. (Industrial and Systems Engineering))--University of Pretoria, 2012.