Mining can be complex and challenging. Continuous improvement programs enhance production, lower costs, reduce waste, increase safety, and save time.

We’ll hear about several continuous improvement mining programs from South Africa (Platinum), Kyrgyz Republic (Gold), and Columbia (Coal).

Then we’ll explore DMAIC and Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) in an extensive case study from the Ervei Khuder Iron Mine in Mongolia.

South Africa – Platinum Mine

This video from Caterpillar Mining showcases the continuous improvement program at the Mogalakwena open-pit platinum mine in South Africa.

The program was designed to increase shovel availability and reduce maintenance and repair costs.

One focus was increasing the 9-hour mean time between failures for bucket and hydraulic hose failures.

Learn about their continuous improvement journey from the video here.

Kyrgyz Republic – Gold Mine

In another video from Caterpillar Mining, we learn of the continuous improvement program at the Kumtor Gold Mine located in the Kyrgyz Republic. It is the largest gold mine in Central Asia.

Continuous improvement programs at Kumtor helped the mine exceed its goals keeping machine availability high, moving more tons of ore, producing more ounces of gold while achieving lower operating costs.

You can view the Kumtor Mine video here.

Columbia – Coal Mine

Cerrejon is a surface coal mine located in Columbia and is one of the world’s largest. With six operating pits, thousands of employees and a large equipment fleet continuous improvement helps the mine control operating costs and increase productivity. 

In another video from Caterpillar Mining, we learn how the mine’s participation in an electric drive truck 

electric drive truck trial eventually lowered operating costs. 

You can watch Cerrejon’s short video here.

Mongolia – Iron Mine

The Ervei Khuder Iron Mine annually mines 556,000 tons of iron ore. In this case study DMAIC and DFSS are applied. DMAIC for optimizing current production and DFSS to design a new mining and iron production factory.

The case study uses simulation. Details are provided for all the DMAIC phases and the DFSS application.

The approach chosen for DFSS was DMADV (Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, Verify).

You can access the case study paper here.