An investigation into the factors that affect the overall performance of In-Pit Crushing and Conveying systems

John Bramley Hill

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis (University Course)


In-pit crushing and conveying (IPCC) systems promise significant advantages over traditional truck and shovel operations, including reduced operating costs, dust and noise emissions and improved safety. Despite these advantages, there is a general industry reluctance to migrate from truck and shovel operations. This reluctance stems from a familiarity with truck and shovel operations, and a concern that the lack of flexibility associated with IPCC will negatively impact on the mining opera- tions. The objective of this report is to establish under what conditions IPCC is appropriate, and to review the actual performance of IPCC systems in practice. It is hoped that this project will assist in furthering the understanding of the drivers of IPCC and how these affect the actual performance of IPCC plants. In addition hopefully Sandvik will be able to further develop strategies to overcome resistance to IPCC due to perceived risks. Finally the project should provide support to the assumptions used to predict the mine performance at feasibility stage. This report is based on a comprehensive literature review, telephonic interviews with operators, past feasibility studies conducted by Sandvik and correspondence with Sandvik‟s Principal Mining Engi- neer, Doug Turnbull. There proved to be a reasonably large amount of published information relating to the performance of IPCC systems, although the actual data was of a high level nature. Interviewing operators was significantly more difficult than expected, and therefore more reliance was placed on published information and information available from within Sandvik. Sufficient information was avail- able to achieve most of the projects objectives, although any additional performance data would be valuable to supplement the project results. The data obtained to suggests that the performance of actual IPCC systems compares well to the predicted performance at feasibility stage. Verifying that the predicted performance is realistic and achievable in practice is important in that it will provide assurance to potential users of IPCC systems that the commonly cited risks (such as reliance on single stream of equipment and lack of flexibility in the mining operation) are manageable. A primary objective of this report was to identify parameters that could influence performance of IPCC systems and to determine their relative importance. In this objective the study was only partially suc- cessful. Parameters that could affect the performance of IPCC were identified, but there was insuffi- cient data to perform any meaningful statistical analysis as to the relative importance of the parame- ters. Reviewing the sensitivity analysis done at feasibility stage by Sandvik does however indicate that IPCC is relatively insensitive to variations in input costs, but highly sensitive to commodity price. The IPCC plants evaluated show no specific bias with regard to mineral mined, deposit characteristics or location although the majority of plants were of the semi-mobile crusher configuration. This implies that IPCC can be successful in a wide range of geographic locations, for a variety of different minerals in different deposit types. This at a qualitative level supports the sensitivity analysis. It also suggests that fully mobile crushing systems have not achieved substantial market penetration despite the po- tential benefits that they can offer.
Translated title of the contributionAn investigation into the factors that affect the overall performance of In-Pit Crushing and Conveying systems
Original languageEnglish
  • Moser, Peter, Supervisor (internal)
Award date28 Oct 2009
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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