Drill Maintenance Process Improvements: Brunswick Mine

Steven Doyle, Peter Stever, Donna McGraw,
Abstract Brunswick Mine, an underground lead and zinc mine located near Bathurst, New Brunswick, has been in operation since 1964. Due to improved metal prices and advancements in mining technologies, our average stope size was decreasing and our percent of total drilling of up holes was increasing. As drill patterns for up holes produce fewer tonnes per meter drilled; an increase in productivity and availability of the drills was required. Smaller stopes means more stopes need to be mined per year to maintain the same production translating into more moves and more set-ups. Uphold drilling is the most difficult type of drilling to perform with our fleet.

In 2009, a six sigma project was initiated to improve our DTH drill productivity and availability. A reliable drill fleet was critical to our continued success. Drill availability had decreased 7 % over a period of 5 years and maintenance costs increased by 81 % per metre for the same time period. This paper will document the process followed to improve drill maintenance, training, design, and operating practices. Additional benefits from the project included employee ownership of the process and improved driller satisfaction.

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