Setting up and running a mining operation can be very expensive. Conveyor belts, trucks, loaders, scrapers, motor graders, draglines, labour… costs add up.
Start-up costs for an open-pit mine that processes up to 5,000 tonnes of ore a day can be more than $20 million USD.
Capital costs will include material processing equipment, either a crusher or unique MMD Sizer, which is an integral part of a mine’s setup. Then there are peripheral items such as concrete and/or Reinforced Earth (RE) walls and building roads, which can run into millions of dollars.
Another consideration is the movement of material being mined. Transport costs – especially when employing a large fleet of trucks – can accrue quickly, so the closer plant can be to the extraction site the better.
Then there is the ongoing expense of labour. Labour costs can be rampant in a mine and most facets of operation or equipment are people-reliant.
Finally, there are the environmental costs, with the rehabilitation of a mining site once it has reached the end of its life. Federal and state laws regarding restoration are specific and must be adhered to by mining companies. This can cost tens of millions of dollars.
A solution to keeping costs down is the use of MMD’s Semi-Mobile Sizer Station. This has the same functionality as a permanent plant, but without some of the associated setup costs.
As the name suggests, mobility is the key factor. As the mine site develops, the Station can be relocated to different areas to minimise haulage distances and reduce evolving infrastructure costs.
For a start, there is no need for an RE wall. These walls can cost anywhere from hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions, depending on the size of the operation. A Semi-Mobile Sizer Station can use a fabricated truck bridge or a natural in-ground hopper, which is considerably more cost-effective.
Labour costs are also mitigated when using MMD’s equipment. This is because each Station can be fully automated so no staff member is needed onsite. 24/7 wireless monitoring alerts staff to any issues remotely, so maintenance crews can be sent in to deal with problems when they arise instead of being permanently onsite on the off-chance that an issue occurs.
There are also other considerations. If a Semi-Mobile Sizer is moved closer to the extraction site, trucks carrying material don’t have to travel so far between the pit and Sizer unit. This means less fuel is consumed, as well as less wear and tear, which in turn leads to maintenance costs decreasing. In a traditional setup as haulage distances increase, more and more trucks are required to maintain production levels over the haul route.
Finally, when decommissioning, all mines have to be rehabilitated. A Semi-Mobile Sizer Station leaves a smaller environmental footprint than permanent plant. There are no concrete walls or slabs to dismantle and dispose of, or RE walls to handle. Cost savings can easily run into seven figures, depending on the size of the mine.
Whilst mining is an expensive business, returns can be rewarding. When it comes to processing plant and their associated costs, returns can be improved if you choose a MMD Semi-Mobile plant solution for the life of mine.
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