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Mining is one of the most capital-intensive industries in the world today. Much of the costs of mining is an investment in heavy equipment which needs to be kept in optimal working condition to maximize productivity as well as ensure mining safety.

Mining is Asset Intensive

Due to the enormous costs of starting and closing a mine, most mining is dominated by large, multinational organizations. Many of these mining organizations also operate multiple mines or exploration projects with each operation having millions of dollars in assets that require detailed asset management.

Two miners with a cart.

Why Use an EAM CMMS System for Mining

Managing mining assets from initial planning through mine closing can be handled using an EAM CMMS system because of the organization, inspection, maintenance and information management tools that an EAM CMMS provides. Seven of the more notable reasons to use an EAM CMMS system are:

7 Reasons Mines need an EAM CMMS

  1. Lifecycle asset management: All assets have a useful lifecycle which starts at the planning phase and continues through the assets retirement or replacement. Each stage of the asset’s lifecycle will have different maintenance needs as well as costs. An EAM CMMS tracks the condition and work history of each asset from their beginning to ensure asset managers are always aware of the condition of assets.
  2. Inspecting heavy equipmentMining operations contain some of the largest and most expensive assets in industry. Inspections of heavy equipment will help identify potential problems that may cause the asset to fail. Asset failure will result in production downtime or may even result in a terrible disaster.
  3. Inspecting tailing impoundments: Most mining operations result in a substantial amount of waste product once the mined material has been removed. Often this waste is stored in tailing ponds (impoundments). Regular inspections using EAM CMMS tools can prevent these impoundments from leaking into the ecosystem or failing.
    “Ore mills generate large amounts of waste, called tailings. For example, 99 tons of waste are generated per ton of copper, with even higher ratios in gold mining. These tailings can be toxic. Tailings, which are usually produced as a slurry, are most commonly dumped into ponds made from naturally existing valleys. These ponds are secured by impoundments (dams or embankment dams). In 2000 it was estimated that 3,500 tailings impoundments existed, and that every year, 2 to 5 major failures and 35 minor failures occurred.”Source: Wikipedia
  4. Inspections of safety equipment: Mining accidents like airline accidents seem to draw a lot of media attention. On top of the tragic loss of life, each accident increases public concern and government oversight. Inspecting safety equipment from ventilation shafts, fans, gas detection devices, emergency gear, elevators and so on is not an option, it is a requirement. An EAMCMMS system can make sure all assets are scheduled for regular inspections as well as scheduling preventive maintenance and repairs.
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  5. Mine closing: Most developed nations require mine closing plans to be developed before production can start. One of the purposes of this is to ensure that mines are closed up properly but also to make sure that assets left behind do not corrupt the ecosystem (ex: tailing ponds). This can be achieved using an inspection checklist for assets that are to be examined and then scheduled for work after a mine closes.
  6. Standard operating procedures: Larger mining organizations may operate several, even dozens, of mining operations at one time. An EAM CMMS software solution enables asset and maintenance managers to review the work history of common equipment and determine best practices for their care. By establishing standard operating procedures across operations, maintenance will be more cost effective, efficient and have better overall controls.
  7. Vendor and document management: One of the fastest ways to lose productivity is to spend precious time in search of vendor contracts or documentation for an asset. EAM CMMS allow vendor contracts and documents such as blueprints, photos, schematics, diagrams etc. to be scanned, uploaded and attached to an asset. Using an EAM document system for this will also enable vendor consolidation as contracts can be viewed by corporate contract administrators for duplication of effort or pricing.

The preceding list represents just the tip of the iceberg for helping mining organizations get a handle on asset and maintenance management. Other benefits include lower maintenance labor and energy costs, reduced theft opportunity and more accurate capital budget projections.