KALGOORLIE (miningweekly.com) – Gold miner Anglogold Ashanti’s Full Asset Potential programme has identified a number of opportunities to increase productivity at the Sunrise Dam operation, in Australia.
Senior VP for Australia Michael Erickson told delegates at the Diggers and Dealers conference that the company launched the programme in February to address operational performance gaps and ensure that its assets were operating as close as possible to their full potential.
“This program is based on an established methodology and is site-owned and site-led with support from a cross-functional team of internal specialists, and process specialists, headed up by our chief technical officer, Marcelo Godoy.
“The Full Asset Potential program focuses on step-change improvements and covers all aspects of a site’s full potential from mine planning and strategy to productivity to fixed costs and external spend. It involves a detailed analysis of each asset, and a comparison of cost and performance to benchmarks using a broad range of tools and advanced analytics,” said Erickson.
He noted that the goal of the program was to understand how productive and efficient each site could potentially be and to chart a path to get there.
“The full assessment of each site will take approximately three months and will result in the identification of key areas of performance improvement to be implemented over the following 18 to 24 months. Sunrise Dam was the pilot site, followed by the Siguiri operation, in Guinea, and by Cuiaba, in Brazil.
Erickson noted that opportunities identified at Sunrise Dam focused mainly on the areas of underground production and metallurgical recovery, as well as mine life extension.
“There is more work to do before we can provide information on the mine life extension opportunities, but in the underground mine, development was identified as a key bottleneck, and a path to step-change underground output over the next two years has been identified.
“We’re achieving immediate positive outcomes from initiatives to drive the intensity of development in priority headings . . . Quick wins, including the change to firing only once every 24 hours, the use of wireless dets which reduces the amount of slot development required, and conversion of the underground workshop for jumbo servicing, have all been successful in mitigating some of the production losses due to Covid absenteeism and skills shortages,” said Erickson.
He noted that advanced analytics had been used to identify optimal set points for reagent addition in the processing plant and a pilot was underway utilising a leaching efficiency predictive model and optimiser.
“Early results are positive with a pathway to improved recovery by up to 1%, which requires very limited capital. Longer term, there’s an opportunity to lift recovery by a further 2% to 3% through a change in the configuration of the leach circuit, along with advanced instrumentation,” he added.
The Full Asset Potential process has now started at Tropicana.