Identifying Critical Wear in Ageing Infrastructure

CIM MEMO 2011
Dino Philopoulos, Bruce Peberdy,
Abstract Mining facilities are typically built adjacent a
supply of raw materials, and include equipment to
process the raw materials. Structures are built
to support and access the equipment and to protect
the process and equipment from the weather.

In many facilities, the structural framing and the
operational infrastructure were designed for an
economical service life that has now been
exceeded. The current operating companies are now
faced with the economic dilemma of whether to
build new facilities or to extend the service life
of existing facilities through maintenance.
Improved mining operations, increased demand,
increased commodity prices and rising costs of
construction, among other reasons, has resulted in
organizations wanting to increase the service life
of existing facilities to the maximum extent
possible.

The life expectancy of a structure typically
depends on the condition of its critical elements.
In many minining industries, the raw materials,
the process, and weather effects, either
singularily or in combination result in
deterioration of the structural members. As the
deterioration progresses and the underlying
materials become exposed, the rate of
deterioration increases rapidly. At this stage
past performance is no longer an indication of
future performance. Regular inspection and
preventative maintenance procedures are key to
preventing facilities from becoming unsuitable for
their intended purpose.

The purpose of this presentation is to provide an
overview of the various structure-related issues
that need to be considered when implementing an
infrastructure maintenance and reliability
program. Critical elements and wear points, as
well as characteristic visual signs are outlined
for various types of structures and materials such
as steel, timber, and concrete.
Keywords: Reliability, Inspection, SERVICE LIFE, Timber, Maintenance, Corrosion, Steel, Wood
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