The throughput of a mine's processing facilities is affected in complex ways by the reliability and availability of its components. Only a fully-coupled dynamic simulation can capture the interplay between the performance of the individual components, such as hoppers, feeders, conveyors and crushers, with the internal and external stockpiles for the ore and concentrate. If one component has to be shut down for repairs, the ripple effects can soon cascade through the entire facility.
In addition to the basic design's capacity, the maintenance program also plays a key role in the performance of this type of facility. A maintenance program that optimizes the availability of critical components, without wasting resources, can have an important effect on the overall throughput and financial performance of a mine.
A GoldSim model was constructed to simulate the performance of a mine's crusher system. Each of the main components was represented using reliability elements, with their specific failure modes defined as Weibull distributions. Operating rules for the different components were represented in the model, and a number of Monte Carlo realizations were carried out to study the dynamics of the system. In each realization failures of the components were randomly simulated, along with repairs, and the overall impacts on the throughout of the crusher complex were simulated. Once a simulation model was developed, GoldSim's optimization capability was used to maximize the financial effectiveness of the maintenance program.