Neglect maintenance at your own risk

Mining processes and operations are incredibly intensive and risk prone.

To reduce the potential for errors and delays, mining companies pour billions of dollars into maintenance every year, spending between 30 and 50 per cent of their total operational costs on equipment upkeep and repairs.

While maintenance has taken the brunt of cost-cutting in recent years, BIS Oxford Economics predicts activity will increase by nearly 60 per cent in real terms over the next few years, offering crucial opportunities for contractors.

Specialising in mobile and fixed plant equipment, Mader is an Australian contracting company with a strong reputation in the mining maintenance sector.

Speaking to National Mining Chronicle, Mader International General Manager Russell Wells said the company deployed over 1100 dynamic professionals across the major mining regions of Australia, Africa, Asia and the Americas. He said Mader’s team of specialists provided tailor-made and effective solutions for mobile and fixed plant maintenance issues by using practice-based methodologies, quality workmanship and strong leadership.

“Scheduled maintenance is a critical area in mining,” he said.

“Well-serviced machinery guarantees less breakdowns and reduces disruptions to overall workflow.

“Consistent and increased machine availability not only allows mine operators to move more material but also to maintain and even optimise operations to meet production targets.”

Whether you require short or long-term preventative maintenance, planned critical repairs and support can be a source of competitive advantage by increasing efficiency, reliability and availability of equipment.

Mr Wells said mining companies operating in Australia were extremely focused on planning and keeping abreast of maintenance issues.

“In some other parts of the world, this isn’t a high priority,” he said.

Although the equipment is very similar, Mr Wells said access to skilled labour could be difficult.

“This is particularly common in third-world countries where mining operations may not have the same level of infrastructure and resources available on Australian minesites,” he said.

“Most of Mader’s operations in these regions will involve educating and training local national workforces to ensure an improvement in safety targets, not just machine availability.”

With more than 20 years’ experience in the mining equipment industry, Mader Mobile Plant Shutdowns Manager Mathew Rigby manages the company’s North West region operations in Western Australia.

Mr Rigby told National Mining Chronicle there were various risks to deferring or failing to service equipment regularly.

“Preventative maintenance is critical to steady and consistent operations,” he said.

“The risk associated with disregarded maintenance can turn into unplanned breakdowns.

“This in turn leads to production downtime, increased maintenance costs and potentially creates operational and safety hazards.”

According to Mr Rigby, the accepted process for maintenance is identification, planning, mobilisation/preparation, execution, demobilisation/finalisation and review.

“Reviewing is an important step to ensure learnings are realised and actioned for future events,” he said. “For successful execution of any planned maintenance event, it is essential planning for the event is regarded as a high priority.

“Without successful planning, execution of the event can be inefficient and unsafe through missing or incorrect materials, poor work ow planning, inadequate procedures or incorrect capacity levels.”

Mr Rigby said reducing budgets for planned maintenance would have an adverse effect and create reactional and increased costs due to unplanned outages.

“The flow-on effect and cost through these unplanned outages can be hard to quantify, as the operational impact extends through the entire value stream,” he said.

Ready to move without delay

Executing small to large-scale operations regularly, Mader was awarded the Mining Contractor of the Year Award at the Future of Mining Conference 2019.

The award recognises drilling, mining or construction contractors that secure the highest number of new contracts during the qualifying period.

Other shortlisted companies for this category were:

Barminco

Coal Augering Services 

SMS Mining Services 

Cougar Drilling

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Neglect maintenance at your own risk

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