The development of an improved labour planning model for mines
Meyer, Lambertus Daniel
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The mining industry is the largest source of foreign income for South Africa. It is also the main source of employment in the country, for example Anglo Platinum employs approximately 40 000 employees and contractors. As a result labour cost in South African mines makes up nearly 50% of total mine costs. The focus of this study was to investigate the current underground labour planning models used in the platinum mining industry and to design a mine labour planning model to optimize the labour - Anglo Platinum specific. This would minimise all of the mining-related risks in a direct or indirect manner. Financial modelling showed an annual improvement of R38 million for Rustenburg Platinum Mines. If this new approach could be extended to the rest of Anglo Platinum, a saving of R151 million could be realised by increasing revenue and a decreasing labour cost. The optimum labour output level of underground mines was determined from a mining, services and engineering perspective and the GAP (or production output potential compared to the current output levels) was established. One of the main objectives was the determination of the existing labour supply GAP, and thus the requirements to fill this GAP. For this purpose, specific checklists were designed to capture all the relevant information. Site personnel were involved throughout the entire process to ensure ownership of the new model. This buy-in was achieved through planning workshops, interactive presentations and discussions. Between the different operations the GAP ranged between an oversupply of labour by 5%, and a 5% undersupply below the optimum potential. The improved frequency of daily blasts validated the correct amount and mix of the labour force. Reef deposits are not replaceable and it is in the interest of all stakeholders to extract every portion in the most efficient manner. Mines require vast amounts of capital and with risks, like fluctuating metal prices, exchange rates, rising costs, labour unrest and geological uncertainties, it is important to have optimum labour planning model and labour management systems in place. The new model has been successfully implemented in RPM with the benefits described above.
- Engineering