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Can good partnerships lower contractors’ cycle times?

Close co-operation between the contract mining service provider and the customer cannot be over-emphasised. This is especially true when implementing load-haul mining contracts at surface operations, irrespective of the commodity being moved. This begins with the client providing relevant and accurate data enabling the service provider to make the right calculations. It, however, goes much further than this and when both parties are focused on improving cycle times, the project efficiency can be significantly improved with associated cost savings.

It is important, however, to consider that contract mining service providers, will not be able to achieved the required cycle times if the client causes any delays. But, on the other hand, it only takes small improvements to shorten cycle times and reduce the cost per tonne. This, in itself, should be sufficient motivation for a constructive partnership between the service provider and the client.

There are basic principles of material handling and earthmoving that influence cycle times, and these include ensuring ideal conditions both on-site and off-site. On-site, the loading should be level and stable underfoot, and the haul roads must be well-maintained quality surfaces with as few stops as possible. In some instances, it is advisable that the maintenance of the haul roads becomes part of the service provider’s responsibility to ensure the quality thereof.

The load-off area must be easy to access as this has a direct contribution to a quick turnaround time.

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