How important is asset management to today’s mining companies?

Article By: Steve Koro, Mining Practice Lead, Ausenco Rylson

The current economic climate of soft commodity prices and increasing costs means that the mining companies that will see their operations sur­vive this current downturn, are the ones that have spent the time and capital to optimise the performance of their current assets so that their plant and equipment will reliably deliver the business plan consistently for the life of the operations.

Over the long term, it is the companies that look past tomorrow, and consider the whole of life of their asset’s performance, and the total cost of ownership, who will weather the storm.

 

Asset Management Diagram

Asset Management

The Institute of Asset Management (IAM) defines Asset Management as a significantly greater scope than just the maintenance or care of physical assets. Good asset management considers and optimises the conflicting priorities of asset utilisation and asset care, of short-term performance opportunities and long-term sustainability, and between capital investments and subsequent operat­ing costs, risks and performance.

“Life cycle” asset management is also more than simply the consideration of capi­tal costs and operating costs over pre-deter­mined asset “life” assumptions. Truly opti­mised, whole life asset management includes risk exposures and performance attributes, and considers the asset’s economic life as the result of an optimisation process.”

If proper asset manage­ment systems and processes have been implemented to deliver the business plan and reliable plant and equipment, then in conjunction with mine planning forecasts, there is no reason why the planned main­tenance activities cannot be followed reli­giously as the implementation of a good asset management plan includes continual improvement and updating.

When is the best time to do this? When times are bad and the pressure is on? Of course not, or so you might think to be logical. But when do most companies start to do something? When there is a downturn.

“Smart” companies optimise their operations when times are good; when they can afford to make the changes required, and thus reap the benefits of increased revenue and profit when com­modity prices are up. They are then positioned to be operating at their optimum when the cycle turns down.

Along with ISO55000 (the international asset management standard), there are a number of tools available for use to assist with the implementation of an asset management system; one such program being a fully integrated enterprise grade asset management software tool called Rylson8.

Rylson8 is a Total Asset Management Solution designed for companies seeking to maximise return on investment and improve cost to revenue ratios. Rylson8 brings together Ausenco Rylson’s proven methodologies to assist companies in maximising the life of their assets and ultimately increase their profitability.

Rylson8 has the potential to improve return on investment through:

  • Optimal asset utilisation and productivity
  • Improved revenue to cost ratios
  • Improved reliability and therefore repeatability of performance
  • Optimised inventory costs
  • Predictable equipment life
  • More accurate prediction of OPEX & Sustaining Capital budgets over the life of the asset
  • Understanding the Total Cost of Ownership.

A Holistic View

Ausenco Rylson’s lifecycle optimisation methodology provides a holistic view of an asset, from inception to decommission. Lifecycle plans are customised for each situation so that sustainable cost savings are seen across the asset lifecycle, rather than a “quick win” savings that ultimately increases future liabilities. Taking advantage of in-house mineral processing expertise, we develop an in-depth understanding of each situation before creating the optimum solution.

By providing training, mentoring and technical support, the developed methodologies are fully embedded for the long term.

For more information, contact your nearest Ausenco-Rylson office or connect with Steve Koro on LinkedIn.