The Underground Development Cycle

What is the Underground Development Cycle?


tunnel-957963Why is it important and how can PLODtrack help?

The Two Phases of Underground Mining

There are two principal phases of underground mining: development mining and production mining. Development mining is composed of excavation almost entirely in waste rock in order to gain access to the ore body. There are five steps in development mining: removing previously blasted material (muck out round), drilling the rock face, loading explosives, blasting explosives, and supporting excavation.

The Development Cycle

The development cycle is just as important cycle to track. Whilst there is no valuable ore being extracted during the development cycle managing capital expenditure and increasing productivity are key objectives into getting to the ore quicker and more cost effectively.  And once in production, as other development continues, costs and productivity will also be tracked separately between the two cycles therefore tracking of KPI’s is continued in both.

Tracking & Managing Costs

Whether you are an owner-operator, or have a contractor in place for developing the underground mine, it is critical to have the ability to track and manage the costs associated with development activities against KPI’s and targets within a contract to ensure timelines are maintained. By accurately managing and understanding the activities that create the decline from the portal, through to the ore body, miners are able to improve the quality of their forecasts as well as keep contractors accountable for any variations that impact time to access the production ore.

How PLODtrack Can Help

PLODtrack is able to capture both production and development data, all the while maintaining an accurate repository of ALL mine data. PLODtrack’s unique ability to manage the mining cycle, right from inception, allows miners to track the utilisation of a particular location in a development phase. This allows users to quickly and efficiently identify when a location is ready to be mucked, drilled, loaded with explosives, blasted and then supported.  The quicker you get to the ore, the quicker the return on the asset, a feat that PLODtrack faciliates, enabling development miners to become producing miners in a much shorter time-frame.

big machinery in a dark mine

By starting from scratch with a PLODtrack solution, miners will have a complete picture and understanding of their mining activities, from development through to production, as well as having little to no initial historical data to speak of, will provide for a straight forward implementation. Benchmarking of equipment will provide additional insight into discovering operational efficiencies, not only in a production environment, but also when developing the access to the mineable ore.

Once you have reached the ore, changing the location’s attributes to indicate this location is ready for production work enables operations management to track their production progress whilst continuing to manage other development targets. Maintaining a consistency of data structure throughout the life of the mine will also further ensure that the data that is used to drive operational and financial reporting can be trusted.

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