Anglo American and the rest of the mining landscape are confronted with a number of challenges such as the depressed economy and the relatively low selling price of coal. These affect profit margins. Anglo American changed its normal way of doing business by the implementation of the Asset Optimisation Programme. Major efforts focus on the optimisation and sustainability of the corporation’s resources, employees and equipment.
The Continuous Miner (CM) is the most critical component in the underground coal mining process. An underground production section can only produce output if the CM is performing its primary function, namely to cut coal. In 2012, Goedehoop colliery's CMs operated only 35% of the total time available, and the colliery aims to improve it to 40%. The aim of the project is to improve the production time of the CMs at Goedehoop colliery.
The Six Sigma DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve and Control) methodology was used as an approach to structure the project. The aim of the project was addressed by means of critical analysis together with other supplementary tools and techniques.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that had the most significant impact on the production time of the CMs were identified. It was identified that trunk conveyor downtime has a significant impact on the throughput of the process, as well as on the production time of the CMs. Solutions were proposed that will potentially improve and solve major causes of trunk conveyor downtime.
It was estimated that a total of 162.88 hours (per year) on trunk conveyor downtime can possibly be reduced if the proposed solutions had to be implemented. This would result in a potential benefit of R 8 417 107.29 per year for Goedehoop colliery. In view of the initial project aim, this will equate to a potential 1.5% improvement in the production time of the CMs.
Dissertation (B.Eng. (Industrial and Systems Engineering))--University of Pretoria, 2014.