Nov 2, 2020

Minera Chinalco reduces downtime by 12 hours during SAG mill liner change

The company Minera Chinalco Peru S.A, placed its trust in Metso Outotec to carry out the change of liners in its SAG1 mill. The change out was successfully carried out 14 percent faster, in 84 hours rather than the 96 hours planned and with no accidents reported. This was an impressive accomplishment in terms of reducing downtime especially within the context of the current Covid-19 pandemic.

Minera Chinalco Peru S.A. has been operating in Peru since 2007. It was created to build, develop and operate the Toromocho copper megaproject, and is one of the most important companies in China Copper and the largest foreign company wholly owned by Chinalco. It is located in the District of Morococha and Yauli in Peru and has been working with Metso Outotec for 9 years.

A difficult mission in a complicated healthcare context

Chinalco set out to improve the effectiveness of its mills by avoiding unnecessary downtime and thus making its operations more profitable. Chinalco turned to Metso Outotec, to design a strategic plan based on the needs of the mining company and to carry out the actual change out of the mill’s metal linings.

The plan initially anticipated a total of 96 hours of work to complete the liner change out. The actual change out ended up taking only 84 hours, resulting in a savings of 12 hours of production time.  This result was of great benefit to Chinalco, as the client was able to devote more attention to other tasks, such as focusing its attention on the control of safety and quality standards in activities peripheral to the mill.

Regarding safety, the challenges were accentuated by the global health crisis brought on by Covid-19. There were new operational challenges linked to the necessary health protection measures incorporated by Minera Chinalco to protect its employees and avoid the spread of the virus. In addition to incorporating the new safety processes, Metso Outotec was determined to deliver on its promise to not only meet the deadlines established by the client, but to do so with zero accidents. Despite the challenging timelines, the results were extremely positive with no accidents taking place during the fast-paced liner change. Chinalco recognized the work done by Metso Outotec and for the second consecutive year, named Metso Outotec as the provider with the best performance in terms of safety, related to the service of changing liners for the SAG1 mill.

Teaming up for results

Another highlight is that, during the performance of the operation, Metso Outotec needed to work together with another strategic partner of Chinalco that was carrying out another critical path activity in the same mill. Metso Outotec had to synchronize the work plans with the objective of not generating additional delays or safety risks for any of the employees involved with the shutdown. For the client, this teamwork between Metso Outotec and its other partner was extremely beneficial, as it was able to carry out two critical activities in parallel for the same mill. This resulted in reduced downtime and the good teamwork between its two strategic partners helped both to comply with its high standards.

Finally, Metso Outotec demonstrated the professional capacity of its local team with its ability to complement its work with that of another strategic partner. This facilitated the achievement of Chinalco’s objectives regarding the avoidance of downtime and of always placing the health and safety of all employees as its top priority.

Looking for continuous improvement

One key consideration for both Chinalco and Metso Outotec is that both groups are always looking for ways to improve change out times.  The strong shutdown performance for the SAG mill was also built on earlier efforts. In 2018, a SMED (Single Minute Exchange of Dies or time and motion analysis) was conducted in order to identify tasks that were causing delays, in order to address them. The 2018 SMED study managed to identify several improvement areas. Learn more about SMED from this blog post: Combining optimization methods to improve crusher uptime.

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