System thinking for quality management and continuous improvement in mining

Abstract Geological and technical problems are
often considered the most important ones
affecting new mining projects. Typical problems and likely causes are reviewed based on current Quality Management and Continuous Improvement (QMCI) perspectives, giving particular attention to the work of W.E. Deming. As the “system approach” is an essential part of these policies, its characteristics are described with particular attention given to cultural-
behavioural, organizational and systembased
constraints described by J. Gharajedaghi.
Given that poor communication and interaction among geologists, mineral processors and mining engineers/operators can seriously affect the adequacy of tests, project planning and execution, and mine profitability, these interrelated processes within the mining systems are analyzed and modelled. The impacts on models and simulations of ignoring typical data, information and knowledge uncertainties are
addressed. Adapting W.E. Deming’s Fourteen
Points, System of Profound Knowledge and
insistence on leadership, and the analysis of
mining system constraints, will allow the effective QMCI approach required to reduce geological and technical risks. Whenever we achieve this goal, we will be in a better position to overcome environment-, market-, finance- and community-related problems, achieve higher company and industry profitability as well as more sustained development.


Les problèmes géologiques et techniques
sont souvent considérés les plus importants
parmi ceux qui affectent les nouveaux projets
miniers. Des problèmes typiques et leur causes sont étudiés dans la perspective de gestion de la qualité et d’amélioration continue (GQAC), en relation avec les travaux de W.E. Deming. Comme l’approche système est au centre de ces méthodes, ses caractéristiques sont décrites en donnant une attention particulière aux contraintes de types culturel-comportemental, organisationnel, et systémique décrites par J. Gharajedaghi. Compte-tenu que les lacunes dans les communications et les interactions entre géologues, minéralurgistes, et ingénieurs/opérateurs miniers peuvent affecter sérieusement la validité des essais, de la planification et de l’exécution des projets ainsi que la rentabilité des exploitations, ces processus connexes font l’objet d’analyse et de modélisation. Les impacts sur les modèles et les simulations de l’incertitude des données, informations et connaissances sont soulignés. En adaptant au système minier les Quatorze Obligations et le Système de connaissance approfondie de W.E. Deming ainsi que l’analyse des trois types de
contraintes, nous pourrons développer une
approche GQAC permettant de réduire les
risques géologiques et techniques des projets miniers et des exploitations. Ceci nous pemettra de mieux faire face aux problèmes reliés à l’environnement, aux marchés, au financement et aux conditions sociales, d’améliorer la rentabilité des exploitations minières et de l’industrie, tout en contribuant de façon accrue au développement durable.
Keywords: Quality management and continuous
improvement (QMCI), Industry problems,
Mining system constraints, Risk, Geology.
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Publication: CIM Bulletin
Author(s): D. Berkley
Keywords: Cogeneration, Remote location, Feasibility, Reliability, Energy supply, Turbines.
Issue: 1068
Volume: 96
Year: 2003
Summary: The development of low-cost, rapid multielement analytical techniques has generated large geochemical databases in many exploration programs. When a sampling program consists of several thousand samples, the resulting data matrix is enormous and effective interpretation using all of the elements individually becomes burdensome. However, the application of multivariate statistical techniques can extract geochemical patterns related to the underlying geology, weathering, alteration and...
Publication: CIM Bulletin
Author(s): E.C. Grunsky, B.W. Smee
Keywords: Geology, Mineralization, Geochemical
data, Multivariate methods, Digital
topography, Mineral exploration.
Issue: 1068
Volume: 96
Year: 2003
Summary: The Red Dog mine has increased mill
throughput most years since start-up. Although flotation equipment has been added over the last 10 years, the Red Dog metallurgical performance has been restricted by a lack of adequate flotation capacity. Two reduced tonnage trials conducted in 1997 as well as numerous SAG relines have consistently indicated the potential to significantly increase both zinc concentrate recovery and grade with additional flotation capacity. Later in 1999, a new circuit was...
Publication: CIM Bulletin
Author(s): B. Lacouture, G. Hope
Keywords: Flotation, Modelling, Plant design, Circuit configuration.
Issue: 1068
Volume: 96
Year: 2003
Summary: A cornerstone of any successful mining
project is an understanding of the mineral
assemblage and metal distribution comprising the deposit. Knowledge of the precise mineral/metal zoning enables an operation to utilize different mining and processing methods optimized for different parts of the deposit. The Lac des Iles mine, located in northwestern Ontario, is one operation that depends on a good understanding of these issues. Current
resources for the Roby Zone total 94.1 Mt
grading 1.66 g/t...
Publication: CIM Bulletin
Author(s): M.J. Michaud, M.J. Lavigne
Keywords: Ore types, Lac des Iles, Mineralization,
Resource estimation, Mining, Metallurgy,
Issue: 1068
Volume: 96
Year: 2003
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