Weir Minerals says it has further strengthened its partnership with Tronox following the signing of an exclusive arrangement to take ownership of maintenance, asset management and optimisation of the mine’s key assets.
Weir Minerals’ Total Asset Management Plan is a “unique and innovative” service contract that is revolutionising mining operations, with improved performance and a reduction in unplanned maintenance time, the company says.
Such a plan was successfully implemented at the Tronox mine in Cooljarloo, Western Australia, with Weir Minerals managing 20 assets including slurry pumps on the plant, two floating dredges and a floating concentrator which processes over 3,000 t/h of heavy mineral concentrate.
Tronox produces more than 770,000 t/y of heavy mineral concentrate using a dredging operation and dry mining techniques at Cooljarloo, Tronox says. The dredging operation recovers heavy minerals from the sand and clay using a series of gravity spirals, with the dry mine using earthmoving equipment to extract ore located above the water table, feeding it to a land-based concentrator for separation using a hopper and conveyor system.
Daniel Fleckhammer, Weir Minerals Director, said: “The Weir Minerals team worked closely with Tronox to determine what their goals and vision for their mine were. The team then developed a tailored Total Asset Management Plan which aimed to look after the customer’s assets, improve their wear life and keep the mine running.”
Weir Minerals successfully helped Tronox reduce its maintenance costs by 10% and cut unplanned maintenance by 30%, according to the company. The miner is also now able to transition from a six-month shutdown cycle to an eight-month shutdown cycle, which will save the mine over A$1 million/y ($774,802/y) on maintenance costs. Weir estimates this increased reliability is potentially worth over A$1 million/y in additional productivity.
Dave Netherway, Tronox Maintenance Manager at Cooljarloo, said the Total Asset Management Plan the company has in place with Weir Minerals means it pays “on a cents per tonne” arrangement based on the throughput through the plant.
“Weir have skin in the game with the way we operate,” he said.
Being located on site, the Weir Minerals team is prepared for crucial maintenance and gains vital insights into the customer’s issues.
“By leveraging their worldwide expertise in pump technology, the team proactively evaluate each asset and provide outstanding service to Tronox,” the company says.
A clear set of key performance indicators developed in conjunction with Tronox enable Weir Minerals to increase savings and improve the reliability of assets, it says. Both companies work towards a common goal that is mutually beneficial to all.
Ian Rennie, Tronox Site Director at Cooljarloo, said: “If other companies around the world are looking at this type of agreement, I’d really encourage them to explore it. At Tronox, we’ve only been touching the surface for a year now and we really see some huge benefits already.”