Implementation of Roadway Development Strategy

Underground » Roadway Development

Published: October 99Project Number: C6037

Get ReportAuthor: Michael Kelly | CSIRO Exploration & Mining

Improvements in roadway development rates remain one of the most important issues in underground coal mining in Australia. Through a series of industry meetings and workshops in 1996-97, it was determined that applying a systems approach to current practice could both dramatically improve rates and better indicate required new technology.

This project aimed to implement a systems approach to roadway development at several Australian longwall mines with special emphasis on information flow, improving uptime rates, systems, reasons for downtime and improved application of project management. Although only one out of three mines completed the site work, the project has demonstrated the application of a systems approach to roadway development in a practical mine situation. As well as showing the benefits of a systems approach, it has also clearly demonstrated the hurdles that need to be overcome for its successful application.

It has confirmed the imperative for the effective integration of people issues with the introduction of new technology. Effective implementation of new technology depends upon having systems under control.

It has illustrated the benefit of simple gantt and heirarchial models when looking for process bottlenecks and key improvement requirements.

It has highlighted the importance of proper information systems and analysis as the foundation for all improvement initiation.

Corporate commitment at all levels has emerged as a prerequisite for successful implementation. Acceptance of that fact that implementation may require changes in information systems, management structure, succession planning and also realisation of the time and commitment involved from the mine are fundamental issues.

It has illustrated the differences in effective power of a traditional organisation and an ‘empowered’ workforce that have sufficient process knowledge and capacity to positively influence change.

Finally, it has demonstrated the benefits of a systems approach to roadway development both in short term (six months) and with greater potential in medium term time frames, especially when the impact from panel and mine cycle changes are realised. It has been heartening to observe many organisations beginning to ‘walk the talk’ and make a systems approach their corporate benchmark for roadway development improvement.


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