Mineral Resource Management (MRM)

Getting the most out of a mine, in pure business terms, over its life and at any given moment is top of mind for most Mine GMs, Mining CxOs and Operational Managers. Mineral Resource Management (MRM) is the highly successful and predictable approach to eliminating variability in Mining Operations. It has delivered dramatic EBIT, Throughput and “Life of Mine” improvements, often without significant capital expenditure.

Can you tame variability without major CAPEX ?

Other than safety, there are essentially two topics that keep a mining GM awake at night. How to maximise “Return on Reserve (RoR)” and how to contain the variability in output that plagues any mining operation.

These challenges are compounded by economic uncertainty and the prevailing industry context where mineral deposits are getting harder to exploit, closure costs are increasing and there is broad inability to effectively manage RoR. These interlinked topics underpin the short and long term incentives of operational managers and form the very foundation of the performance of a mining business.

Operating sites have endured waves of Business Improvement and while some of these have delivered benefits, they have typically focused on spot solutions and procedural improvements rather than concentrating on how ore can be mined, processed and sold optimally in a sustainable manner. Most improvement approaches fail to consider, in an integrated manner, the nature of the ore and the ore body, the flow of materials and specifics of the related processes.

Our MRM practice focuses on the “Return on Reserve” over traditional “Cost or Capacity based” perspectives. MRM optimisation focuses on:

  • minimising RoR attrition and dilution in the Mining Value Chain; and
  • synchronising the flow of materials using Theory of Constraints (TOC) principles to identify the capacity constraint resource (CCR).

MRM applies RoR attributes and TOC flow principles to the mining value chain in an integrated manner, addressing physical and non-physical characteristics to minimise variability. Importantly, by “focusing on optimal EBIT with what we have – from the deposit to saleable product(s)” MRM is able to deliver major improvements without significant capital expenditure.

It is true optimisation, focusing on sustainable EBIT for the operation, with the five key areas of RoR attrition addressed. These are:

  • Loss in valuable minerals/product during handling of the ore at various activities in the value chain, from the blasting/cutting of the insitu ore to the product stockpiles
  • Loss in product due to in-effective plant processing (liberation and separation) which lead to low product recoveries/yields
  • Product dilution with waste or inferior chemical elements which will degrade the valuable metal/mineral content of the product and decrease the sales values: i.e. higher vs. lower product concentrate grades and the associated product sales price difference between the two options
  • Not developing premier product price options associated with stable and predictable product grades in context with customer specifications (if available) due to poor product quality control
  • Not exploiting niche product markets (if available) due to poor product quality control

Manganese Mine

Over 3 fold increase in Product Payability

Chrome Mine

Up to 700% increase in ROM tonnes

Iron Ore

25% - 50% improvements in Yield, ROM, Product, LOM, Over 100% EBIT improvement

Global Steel producer

Variation in product quality reduced by 50%. Enabled closure of one blast furnace

Coal mine

Improved ROI from 7% to 43% and decreased cost per ton from R246/ton to R173/ton

Gold Mine

35% ROM production improvement