Hindustan is one of many mining companies reducing operating costs and improving efficiency by accurately measuring material loads. Australian Mining writes.
The Rajpura Dariba lead-zinc mine in Rajasthan, India, is running at an all-time high after last year recording its largest ever ore production and treatment.
The underground mine, which uses blast hole stoping to produce zinc and lead concentrate, is owned by Hindustan Zinc – the world’s second largest zinc producer. The site has withstood the test of time since operations began in 1983.
The process is seamless nowadays – the ore is crushed underground, hoisted to the surface and then crushed again and milled before undergoing a flotation process to produce the concentrate.
Zinc and lead concentrates produced are then transferred to the company’s smelters.
An issue for many mining companies in the past, however, has been the ability to precisely measure how much material is being transported within the site and then externally – a concern that Hindustan has been able to solve.
The Rajpura Dariba mine has introduced two load volume scanners (LVS) from Loadscan to monitor material with the benefits being widespread.
“Loadscan has been helpful to improve operational performance by managing haul-back to reveal our true shift tally, we can now accurately calculate net volumes delivered for processing,” says Hindustan Zinc vice president and head of corporate communications, Pavan Kaushik.
“Time is also saved by minimising paperwork, there’s no manual data entry, driver records or after-shift record sorting.”
The first scanner is situated underground to measure ore where it’s crushed and before it is taken to the surface by lift.
The second is in the form of a block-mounted portable unit, which is positioned at their portal in order to measure trucks as they come to the surface.
It has not only boosted productivity at the mine site, but Hindustan is also seeing the scanner pay dividends through increased profits.
“Production gains have also been achieved for Hindustan due to increased trucking factors; we’ve achieved lower cost per tonne of material hauled, optimising truck loading and improving productivity,” Kaushik says.
The scanning processing begins through an initial empty scan of Hindustan’s trucks, which provides baseline tray shape data into the LVS system.
Each truck is assigned a radio frequency identification tag (RFID), allowing them to be automatically identified in-motion while driving under the scan head.
This will all occur on the trucks normal route, where they are automatically scanned, and the payload volume measurements recorded.
The Loadscan load-profiling system provides real-time data, including live 3D imaging, of every load so that fill factors and correct loading is monitored.
It also provides a precise picture of the quantity of material that is being extracted or hauled, while scanning trucks on their return routes allows mines to monitor and manage wasteful carry-back.
Hindustan has been able to reap the benefits of Loadscan’s technology, with some of its competitors using weigh bridges and on-board scales, which often require ongoing calibration and routine maintenance.
By working from volume rather than weight, Hindustan is able to obtain a more accurate measure of their materials.
Essentially, the LVS quite literally ‘sees’ the load, whereas volume measurement converted from the weight generated from a weighing system is often affected by environmental factors such as moisture and varying material densities.
While it was previously difficult for companies to be absolutely certain of the quantity purchased in regard to bulk materials, Loadscan’s scanners have proven to be exact to plus or minus one per cent.
Hindustan’s introduction of the Loadscan technology is indicative of the wider use of autonomous payload scanning systems in the mining community.
The introduction of the first off-the-grid solar powered LVS is proving to be a success for Teranga Gold Corporation in Senegal, Africa.
It has allowed Teranga to measure the quantity of gold bearing ore carted by trucks from other mine sites in the area to the processing facility.
The solar system generates power during the day and charges a battery pack that powers the scanner throughout the night.
Global demand for such technological advancement is steadily increasing, with the mining, bark and mulch, civil construction, sand/gravel pits and quarrying industries leading the charge.
Mining operations, in particular, are seeing a 15 per cent increase in their trucking factors, while mulch producers have, similarly, reported increased business given they can now guarantee supply volumes.
Loadscan is also seeing a spike in global demand for its products, which are now operating in multiple countries around the world.
This article also appears in the July edition of Australian Mining.