Last month Appin produced a record 21,400t in a single day (previous record September 1988 of 20,011t). It bettered the 1993 best week record of 88,386t by producing 378,424t in the week ended May 12. May was also the mine’s best month ever, beating the previous May 1993 figure of 287,588t with a new record of 378,424t.
Appin is in the process of being upgraded and the effects of the upgrade are evident in the results, said mine manager Bob Gordon.
“During the recovery phase in BHP we assessed all areas of the business and using that data have modified the way we do things to make the business cost effective. This included changes to manning and staff, organisational structure and reporting in process stream structures. This also pushed cost responsibilities down in the work force. It expanded everyone’s awareness of costs/budgets and attention to detail. Continual improvement was a corner stone of the process and involvement at all levels,” Gordon said.
One of the programs implemented as the business climate improved was the 20,000 tonne day, aimed at expanding coal production via delay analysis and route cause analysis to overcome problems.
This program also highlighted areas of potential which where then investigated within BHP Minerals Operating Excellence program. Some examples of successes include the back bleed pipe in goaf and the Bulgo borehole system. Gas extraction from sandstone above the seam is sent to the power plant so it does not enter the ventilation system.
“This has lessened the impact of CH4 at Appin with normal CH4 drainage and fan and ventilation upgrade that has been finished now for several years. This is complemented with the intake air from the Tower’s holing,” Gordon said.
The mine has moved from area 2 to area 4 and the installation of a new belt system is giving best practice result in availability.
Gordon said other contributing factors have been management support for the mine’s potential and workplace harmony following sign-off of the operators CA.
“The above coupled with team work, monthly performance review, pre determined KPIs, delay and route cause analysis and an ATTITUDE OF CAN DO, have under pinned the result,” Gordon said.