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Hudbay Minerals Boosting productivity and efficiency with new technology

The Canadian 777 zinc-copper mine in Flin Flon, Manitoba, was on the wane. After 15 years in production, the underground operation was expected to close in 2022 unless Hudbay Minerals discovered more ore. In order to keep the doors open as long as possible, the Toronto-based company was trying to find efficiencies to enhance the viability of the operation.

To address this challenge, Hudbay launched a three-month pilot project to determine whether Mobilaris Mining Intelligence (MMI) could make a difference. And it did. After proven great results in the 777 mine, Mobilaris solutions have also been installed in the Lalor Mine, their gold-zinc mine about 210 kilometers east. 

 

Mobilaris products implemented so far: Mobilaris Situational Awareness, Mobilaris Operators Client and Mobilaris Onboard.

Increasing efficiency with Mobilaris Situational Awareness

Hudbay customer story

One way to boost efficiency is to increase the mucking intensity, or the number of hours spent moving ore, while reducing variability in the number of buckets mucked per stope per shift. During 2018, some shifts underperformed from the perspective of the number of buckets mucked to target while others exceeded an average of 56 buckets per stope.

 

Using Mobilaris Situational Awareness to track equipment has increased the mucking rate by 7% since equipment can be located instantly at the start of a shift, instead of the previous average of one hour spent looking for a misplaced machine. Also, priorities can now be adjusted during the shift to better match the company’s targets.

 

“At the 777 mine the first thing we did was to implement Mobilaris Situational Awareness, which helped to improve both our interactive management of the shift and also the process improvement initiatives. This gave our miners a way to find equipment in the mine which reduced their frustration and showed them that the technology we implemented actually helped them in their work”, says Mike Jankowski, Manager of Technology Development.

Closing the loop between planning and reality with Mobilaris Operator Client

By implementing Mobilaris Operators Client, Hudbay has been able to apply Short Interval Control (SIC), a means of keeping a shift process – in this case mucking – on target by reducing variation.

 

Typically, in underground mining, managers must wait until the end of a shift to assess the difference between their target production and the actual tons of ore mucked.

 

Any losses during the shift cannot be recovered. With Mobilaris Operator Client, the operator will always have an updated list of planned work tasks dispatched. Progress and issues are reported by the operator digitally in real-time, reducing the need for radio contact and making the information visible to the control room. A benefit of Mobilaris Operator Client is that it signals if mucking intensity is underperforming during the shift so adjustments can be made right away. For example, if one stope is ahead of the target and another is behind, it is easy to reassign the mucking fleet to keep both stopes on target.

"With Mobilaris digital solutions we have experienced an increased value-added time during the lineup meetings. Instead of focusing on logistics, our lineup meetings now focus on strategic, targets and the cross-functional critical path for the mine"

Mike Jankowski , Manager of Technology Development, Hudbay Minerals Inc, Canada

Reducing truck stops and traffic congestion with Mobilaris Onboard

When analyzing barriers to higher production, Hudbay pinpointed truck stops and traffic congestion as significant issues to solve. To optimize the underground traffic flow and keep trucks moving, Mobilaris Onboard has been implemented. Mounted on a tablet in the vehicle, it provides traffic awareness and warns operators when other vehicles are approaching, giving the operators time to respond and park aside to give trucks moving up the ramp priority. This has significantly reduced the number of truck stops in the mine. 

 

Another benefit of implementing Mobilaris Onboard has been to improve health and safety among the workers in the mine. By seeing what is in front of you, even through walls, the risk of incidents involving trucks, machines, and vehicles can be reduced.

Significant productivity improvements

By implementing solutions from Mobilaris Mining Intelligence, Hudbay Minerals has experienced some significant productivity gains, just by creating awareness and getting rid of non-value-added time. Below are the results that have been measured so far:

  • 20 minutes increased mucking per shift/stope
  • 7% increased mucking rate
  • 350 extra hoisted tonnes/shift, continuous improvements

"When implementing digital solutions from Mobilaris in the Lalor Mine, we gained 350 more hoisted tones per shift, and the number has continued to increase. In fact, we’ve exceeded Lalor’s long-term goal of reaching 450 tones per day. And we’re not stopping there"

Mike Jankowski , Manager of Technology Development, Hudbay Minerals Inc, Canada
Since November 2021, Mobilaris Mining and Civil engineering (MCE) operates under the trademark Epiroc.

Erfolgsgeschichte Mobilaris Canada