Agnico Eagle is reflecting on a series of gains it has made on the asset management front, just over three years after beginning a project focused on maximising the value of its assets, ensuring peak performance and building resiliency while managing risk.
This journey started at its Arctic gold mining operations in Nunavut.
Facing logistical hurdles such as reliance on marine sealift and air cargo, coupled with the lack of a robust clean energy infrastructure, a new asset management program was introduced in 2020. This program focused on its Meliadine mine and Meadowbank complex, aiming to develop a collaborative framework based on the global standard: ISO 55000 for Asset Management.
In 2022, Agnico Eagle’s Asset Management team focused on effective communication and implementing new tactics across various departments. The goal was to blend the concepts of ISO 55000 standards with the unique challenges it faces, while enhancing value of its assets.
Rick Derkach, from the Asset Management team, highlights this journey, saying: “We wanted to add value to our mining operations by aligning with Agnico Eagle’s values and business strategies, aligning organisational objectives to tactical plans for maintenance and reliability. We carefully collaborated, creating detailed plans to support the new practices. Our intention was to make sure that these new practices would remain effective by standardising activities, ensuring resiliency year-after-year for any operations within Agnico Eagle.”
The collaborative effort involved over 15 internal departments and more than 40 individuals, forming partnerships with equipment manufacturers and suppliers. The Asset Management team notes: “Our impact extended across the equipment to safety, environmental considerations and a sustainable business plan. Through improved efficiency and innovation, we focused on optimising assets, reducing costs of ownership, and enhancing engagement with all our internal and external partners.”
Focusing on managing assets throughout their life cycle, Agnico Eagle made informed decisions on new investments, maintenance, refurbishment and retirement. This approach resulted in multi-million-dollar cost avoidance and the introduction of new processes for fleet renewal and new equipment purchases, emphasising cost, risk and performance management, while establishing equipment standards that can be reused across its divisions.
To support inventory control challenges, the team developed maintenance activity-related Bill of Material plans to support high value, long-lead time components. This increased accuracy of part requirements supported the Supply Chain, Inventory Management teams to better assess and align parts required for its asset maintenance activities.
One critical challenge addressed was the timely transportation of materials to Arctic operations within a defined operating window, due to sea-ice breakup. Through strategic planning, the Asset Management team implemented an 18-plus month forecasting tool for major and minor component changes, supporting parts orders.
Agnico Eagle also controlled and standardised its data usage, creating applications to improve data integrity for business analytics. This enhanced transparency and facilitated better decision-making.
The scope of the Asset Management team’s project reached across various services within the Nunavut division, collaborating with procurement, finance, operations, IT and operational technology, data management, training, regulatory compliance, risk management, and strategic planning. This resulted in substantial cost savings and avoidance events, the company said. The team’s strategies and tactics helped create a portfolio of tools for Agnico Eagle to deploy – tools that establish operational behaviours and program foundations that ultimately promote best practices in managing physical assets globally.
The team promoted a workplace culture centred around asset management, fostering collaboration and accountability. Noted by many partners in this journey from Nunavut, and across the organisation, the results increased inter-departmental relationships and synergies, creating an enhanced cultural environment of autonomy, mastery and purpose which greatly supported the nuances of asset management.
The hard work of the Nunavut Division and the supporting Service Groups, teamed with Asset Management, earned Agnico Eagle two awards in 2023. Nationally, within Canada, from PEMAC – Asset Management Association of Canada, and internationally from IAM – The Institute of Asset Management, United Kingdom, in the category of “Asset Management Excellence – Team Achievement Award for 2023”.
The company concluded: “These awards underscore the collaborative effort and extensive engagement of Agnico Eagle’s most important asset, our employees, who have played a crucial role in developing essential programs to help us build a high quality, easy to understand business, generating long-term value, and creating a great place to work, while contributing positively to our communities and the future of Agnico Eagle.”