Klipspruit Colliery

MinLog deploys a single solution with a broad impact at BHP Billiton’s Klipspruit colliery

COMMODITY: Thermal Coal export and power station
OPERATION: Open Cut Strip Mining
TYPE OF ENVIRONMENT: A strip mine deploying dragline in combination with a truck and loader operation
SOLUTIONS DEPLOYED: BECSA Fleet Management and Mining Execution System, comprising of MineSuite MIS and MineSuite FMS configured for mining with limited beneficiation plant interface.

Background

BECSA’s Klipspruit Colliery is located approximately 100kms west of Johannesburg in South Africa’s Mpumalanga Province.

The mine uses a strip method of mining employing a dragline, dozers and drill rigs for exposure related activities and wheel loaders and dump trucks for the load and haul of coal from the face to the tipping locations.

Requirement

Given the ’greenfields‘ opportunity, Klipspruit’s mine management set out to ensure an operational cost-competitive operation with state-of-the-art equipment performance management and product tracking systems. To this effect the mine required the introduction of various process level systems such as machine guidance, fleet management and SCADA systems to manage production equipment and fixed plant; as well as a Management Information System (MIS) on the operational level that would provide a single information base spanning processes, disciplines and systems.

Challenges

From a FMS perspective the challenge was to achieve robust data transfer in an environment with limited communications coverage resulting from high walls associated with the strip mining method, furthermore to provide for the ability to sustain ’normal‘ functionality in areas not covered by the communications backbone.

With BHP Billiton seeking to deploy best of breed solutions, MinLog’s challenge from a MineSuite MIS perspective was to provide Klipspruit with a single MIS environment across the process level systems to interface with the following systems:

  • Process level database interfaces with systems such as Aquila, Pegasus, CAESE Ultra;
  • SCADA interface via an InSQL database for relevant sections of the beneficiation plant; and as could be expected
  • ERP system interfaces with both the Costing (BW) and Maintenance (PM) modules of SAP;
  • The MineSuite FMS, which in turn provided for an OEM VIMS interface.

Solution

To fulfil the requirements at Klipspruit, MinLog implemented a comprehensive solution that included the following:

The MineSuite FMS that tracks, monitors and controls the load and haul fleet to: manage equipment productivity and material flow; manage equipment state and activity, breakdowns, operational delays as well as production events to improve equipment availability utilization and efficiency; and to provide for operator and crew accountability and accurate real-time KPI measures.

The MineSuite MIS providing for a generic operational management information database for the load and haul fleet, the exposure and ancillary fleets as well as for selective processes of the beneficiation plant. The system also had to meet other criteria, such as providing for in-shift and end-of-period dissemination of information across the mine-wide LAN; data mining and reporting across the boundaries of process, system and discipline; and vertical integration with the process and enterprise layers of the IT hierarchy.

Outcomes

Given the difficulties associated with the operational topology of a strip mining operation the first hurdle to overcome was transmitting information between the field computer equipment and the central control room. This was achieved this by means of on-board storage and peer-to-peer communication.

Following the implementation of the MineSuite FMS hardware and the establishment of a reliable communications link as well as ensuring operators’ acceptance of activity and time accounting, our focus moved towards providing Klipspruit with a stable data warehousing environment and we are now working, under SLA, with the mine management to apply the information gained from the system to achieve their specific objectives.

With the solution referred to above comprising the Stage I implementation, MinLog is in the process of attending to Klipspruits’ Stage II requirements, which are providing for the automation of the process level interfaces with Aquila, CASE Ultra, Pegasus, towards an integrated MIS environment providing for all production processes. Stage II includes automating the capture of surveying information, providing the planning systems with actuals and preparing for SAP 1 integration.

Essentially the Stage II initiative will result in all the Klipspruit mining systems being integrated with the MineSuite MIS environment delivering the system standardisation the client is aiming to achieve.

“We have found that MinLog has a solution spanning production processes that is superior to that of any other supplier. It includes a strong element of customisation which we appreciate. They have assisted us effectively in terms of our requirements. Given the difficulties associated with our environment, mostly the fact that the operational environment is in a constant state of flux, it is extremely difficult to ensure the success of our standardisation drive. MinLog with their MineSuite offering is earmarked to partner with us in our continuous process to respond to changes in the business.”

“MinLog always goes the extra mile as required during the implementation of a project, with much of the additional effort being in the background and in a manner not visible to the organization as a whole. We appreciate the energy and effort they put into finding a solution and making this solution work for the business.” – Marius Smit, Execution Information Specialist: BECSA