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Case Study:  SimWell's Simulation Model Helps Mining Company Increase Throughput by Investing in the Right Equipment

Summary of the process

A mining company is working on improving its throughput. Their process is to mine from the ground, load onto trucks, and send the ore to a crusher, which then goes through different equipment to increase the ore grade until it's loaded onto trains. The company is expecting an increase in its throughput of almost double. Mining machinery is very expensive and must therefore be bought with the trust that it will effectively increase the throughput and meet the objective. SimWell built a model to help the client gain confidence in increasing its production by adding the right equipment at the right place.




Background & Problem Description

The transportation process from the mine to the train is highly variable in terms of the capacity of the equipment. The ore grade mined also has an impact on what the trucks will do and how they will feed equipment. In addition, the process throughput fluctuates a lot when a piece of equipment is undergoing maintenance. The high variability and, high risks of these operations are increasingly complex to calculate statically and, in this case, spreadsheets are of no help. Therefore, the company has decided to use simulation to enable trust in their decision to proceed with massive investments in machinery that will support the doubling of the throughput of their operations.

Solution Description

SimWell has developed a simulation model that replicates all the operations of the mining company, from extracting ore from the ground all the way up to the train. The process of loading the trucks with excavators, managing sterile ore, feeding the crusher, moving ore, and increasing ore grade until it gets loaded has been modeled to replicate their reality. The simulation model is using the real-life mining plan as an input as well as hundreds of other parameters to create different scenarios. The user can change the capacity and rate of any equipment in the model to grasp the effect of improving one piece of equipment in the whole process of the mine. Planned and unplanned maintenance has been replicated as a statistical distribution extrapolated from their historical data, mimicking a real day in the mine. All parameters can be modified by the user in an Excel spreadsheet and can then run the simulation model. The results are exported to a PowerBI dashboard to compare different scenarios easily.

Results & Outcome

The flexibility of this model creates a wonderful sandbox for the customer. They have been able to gain trust in making the right decision for the next piece of equipment to buy to fulfill their vision of doubling the throughput. In addition, they can run different scenarios and have a priority list of which investment will have the biggest impact on their throughput. They're able to have a clear vision of the next tactical and strategic investment and share it with stakeholders.