Hecla Casa Berardi Increase their Productivity with MET

Saving 30 minutes per shift thanks to fewer delays.
Drop in overspeeds by 10%, and a 50% drop in transmission abuse.
Saving 7.8% overall in maintenance costs for every hauled tonne.
The mine was able to go about 2% over its budgeted quantities for the year.
LHD availability has increased 8%.

Hecla Mining’s Casa Berardi is a gold mine and mill located in western Québec, some 95 kilometres north of La Serre. In 2018, the mine produced 130,647 ounces of gold and it has been in operation since 1989 and currently employs about 580 people.

The Challenge

Casa Berardi wanted to improve their productivity by reducing maintenance costs. To do that, the mine needed to cut down wear and tear on their equipment and they also needed to be able to monitor machines to catch equipment problems before they became major failures.

Common Roadblocks

Most underground mines interested in digitizing their mines don’t start from a clean slate, and often grow with acquisitions. However, they frequently encounter stumbling blocks on their road to success which include:

  • Non-standardized data: Multiple equipment manufacturers for mobile equipment, coupled with data that isn’t standardized makes it tough to pull everything together.
  • Lack of data at the face:It’s hard to get an accurate picture of what’s going on in the mine, if you don’t have live date from the mine’s faces—including those under development.
  • Incomplete analysis: Maybe you do have all the data you need, you’re just unsure what to do with it. Analytical systems can help you take all that data you have and turn it into

“In 2017, we started the telemetry project with Newtrax. We installed a solution on 24 vehicles, on trucks, on LHDs, in order to collect data remotely on our vehicles in operation.”

Jérémie Frenette – Senior Electrical Supervisor – Project Manager

“When we started, we put a lot of emphasis on the behaviour of our operators and one of the types of data we were looking for was transmission abuse. And we started seeing some operators did not know why they were causing these alarms. So they were trained and changed their ways of operating the machines and it brought great results.”

Sonny Melancon – Control Room Operator

Choosing Newtrax

Brake tests are an important step in keeping operators safe. Performing them daily insures a machine’s brakes are in proper operating condition. And preventing overspeeds is critical to preventing serious damage to transmissions. With Newtrax sensors, Hecla was able to monitor these in real time, so they were able to see when tests were being performed correctly.

Newtrax was also able to install a sensor suite that gave mechanical technicians the ability to more easily identify problems when a machine is brought in. It also makes it easier to monitor equipment to avoid problems before they develop into something more serious.

Outcome

Operations

Implementing the Mobile Equipment Telemetry (MET) project with Newtrax enabled the team at Hecla Casa Berardi to make improvements throughout its operations, including equipment availability, costs, maintenance, and safety.

From the moment they were able to track and follow equipment, they experienced fewer delays immediately, gaining approximately an hour a day of operations. Casa Berardi also experienced a significant decrease of 10% in overspeeds on the transmission with abuses of this kind showing up immediately. Over four months, they decreased transmission abuse by 50%, significantly reducing costs.

Management

From a managerial perspective, the Newtrax system has enabled the team to make decisions. If an operator does not perform a break test, the control room technicians can alert the supervisors in real-time.

If we look at the Newtrax system and its impact on maintenance; intervention can now occur before a machine is down. What they have after nine months is savings of 7.8% in maintenance costs per tonne of material hauled. Year over year, Casa Berardi was able to go 4% above their budgeted quantities for the mine, attributing half of the increase to the Newtrax MET system. Comparing the equivalent period of 9 months year to year they also noticed their LHDs have increased in availability of 8%.