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How Regular Assessments Can Optimize The Profits of Your Underground Mining Investments.

The underground mining industry faces new challenges in 2018 and beyond. With a global rise in mineral consumption, the industry must take a cost-driven approach to doing business.

Improving the efficiency of extraction is essential for the industry.

It's not easy to control expenses when mining underground. Despite technological advances, uncertainty is ever-present.

Regular operational assessments optimize mining profits. They do more than increase a company's profits, though. These assessments protect the livelihood of thousands of hard-working miners and their communities.

Here's why getting regular assessments are important for your business.

Accurate Financial Models

Every aspect of an underground mining venture needs to be accounted for to ensure success. Depending on the stage of the mine planning cycle, decision sought, or long-term mine plan, you'll need various experts evaluating data.

Companies need to account for every aspect of an underground mining venture to ensure success. Depending on the stage of the mine planning cycle, decision sought, or long-term mine plan, you'll need various experts evaluating data.

Our experts have experience developing mine plans. They look at the depth of the ore deposit, stripping ratio, grade, and selling price and use this information to come up with a feasibility study.

This information helps select machinery and gives insight into yearly, monthly, and daily planning. You then have the data needed for a financial model that you can depend on.

Limit Uncertainty

Financial models need accurate income and cost estimates.

There are always uncertainties in underground mining that affects income and costs. How do you know that you're extracting the ore body in the most cost-efficient manner? Are you extracting from the targeted body, or are you leaving ore behind and extracting low-grade minerals?

Operation assessments answer these questions. They allow for corrections before minor problems become severe issues. Our experts analyze inputs into financial models to optimize the mining process.

To be effective, an analysis needs to happen during the exploration phase and re-evaluated during each step in the process. This strategy eliminates high-risk areas and increases profit throughout the project.

The alternative is to go in blind and lose money.

Safety

Underground mining is hard, dangerous work.

The most important asset any mining company has is its people. Even the most advanced equipment can't replace the wisdom of an experienced miner. Keeping your people safe requires planning and the proper analysis of data.

Regular operational assessments keep your people working. Before excavation begins, you need to identify trouble spots to limit a miner's exposure to health risks.

In later stages, assessments check the progress of the excavation and look for problems that were unforeseen earlier. Early recognition saves lives.

A proactive plan also saves money. Injured workers that file claims against mining companies cost more than lost wages. Legal cases require expensive lawyers. Supervisors have to spend time in court, taking them away from their work sites.

Injured workers aren't able to be at the dig site. New miners will have to brought in and trained. Productivity will decline until the injured worker gets back on his or her feet.

All these scenarios mean more money spent and less profit, throwing off financial projections. Investors become jittery if sites become health hazards.

Improved Equipment Longevity

Some large excavations require millions of dollars in equipment. Wear and tear add thousands of dollars to expenses, lowering everyone's profits. Repairs also waste time. If investors expect their money within a certain amount of time, this presents problems.

Supervisors that feel pressured to rush parts of the excavation make mistakes. Whether it's mining an un-targeted body or increased equipment maintenance, it costs money and throws off projections.

Regular assessments help mining companies determine the best equipment for the job. They also help supervisors estimate the correct amount of money for maintenance. Budgets remain on track and investors stay happy.

Increased Productivity

Over the past decade, there's been a decrease in the productivity of underground mining sites. The over-regulation of the industry is partly to blame. There are also problems that come down to basic economics. As the world's population increases, demand for minerals goes up, putting more pressure on miners.

This reality forces mining companies to make difficult decisions. Do they double down on existing mines, excavating lower quality mineral deposits to meet demand? Is it workable to look for untapped higher quality sites?

Both solutions have problems. Looking for new sites is expensive. There's no guarantee you'll find the next mine before your company's resources dry up. On the other hand, mining subpar materials in a competitive market could lead customers to look to other miners.

The best decisions are often made by impartial analysis. Using an outside firm to look at every aspect of an operation allows decision makers to get ideas they might not have thought of before.

Streamlined Administration

One way to ensure proper decision making occurs is improving the administrative process of a company. Government regulation adds enough red tape to underground mining. There's no reason company's should add to their own misery.

Almost every company we encounter has unnecessary steps in the administrative process. These extra steps waste time and money.

A companies corporate structure also impacts employee health and motivation. Employees that feel valued by their company work harder. If they find themselves having to jump through hoops to have their voices heard, they feel unwanted.

Professional operational assessments improve employee's quality of life while saving money. Is your company getting the most out of healthcare plans? Is scheduling causing a drop in productivity or unnecessary overtime?

It's hard to manage the inner workings of a company while also scouting new locations and exploring the viability of current mines. Professional help is your best option to increase profit margins.

Let Us Help Your Underground Mining Operation

Marshall Miller & Associates has the knowledge, experience, and commitment to excellence you need. Why trust your company's well-being to a consulting firm that doesn't understand the industry?

If you want to know more about the services we can provide you, feel free to contact us. Let us help you maximize your investments.

About the Author

Marshall Miller & Associates performs a wide range of geological, environmental, hydrogeological and mining engineering services. MM&A’s seasoned staff of engineering personnel delivers design solutions for a variety of projects and industry-specific applications.