Welcome back to our Mine Digitization and Automation series, where we share proven strategies to fuel your digital transformation. As we covered in Part 1: Why Fleet Managers should track Equipment Utilization, a good digital transformation plan encompasses many layers and a plethora of sustainable mining practices. In our series, we will continue to show you a variety of operational metrics to consider in your action plan.
Digitization is fueled by benchmarks and metrics, to empower you to measure the success of your processes and operations. Data gives insight into blind spots that are masking unrealized value. Science-backed decisions enable digitization and address your KPIs head-on.
Continuing to focus on metrics that fleet managers should track, here’s the lineup of our 7-part series:
- Equipment Utilization
- Fuel efficiency
- Maintenance costs
- Operator performance
- Safety metrics, such as accidents and incidents
- Production metrics, such as tonnage and ore quality
- Routing and dispatching efficiency
Last time, we covered Equipment Utilization and today, we’re going to unveil how proper fuel management can deliver one of the most significant cost savings at your mining operations. Consumables, specifically diesel fuel, remain one of the biggest capital burners for both open pit and underground mines. While the industry is actively embracing the shift to electrification and scrambling to build electric mining vehicles, battery metals are in short supply, thus fuel remains a hard reality for most mines over the next couple of decades.
The benefits of proper fuel management cover all aspects of your operations, maximizing your ability to meet ESG and decarbonization goals. Many mines find that fuel holds strong as the first or 2nd highest OpEx on site and that a proper fuel management system will reduce fuel costs by 20% or more, saving millions of dollars annually on consumables. Here are some specific silos in which you will see improvement when you source a robust fuel-tracking system for your mobile fleet:
- Scheduled tank gauging eliminates manual dipping events
- Tracking consumables vendor inventory and deliveries ensures you get what you pay for
- Fuel costs can be properly allocated to the correct department for budgeting
- Customized reports help streamline taxation and environmental accountability
- Controlled access reduces theft with digitized inventory management
- Reporting ensures access to carbon tax claims and fuel rebates
- Eliminates stockouts at fuel facilities, especially helpful in remote locations
- Proper measurement and benchmarking reduces frequency and time required for refuelling
- Real-time field data validates business improvement initiatives and optimizes fleet purchasing
- Costly equipment repairs are reduced due to proactive monitoring of lubricants and fuel levels
Risk management and governance
- Automated reporting bolsters compliance in areas such as workplace health and safety, and dangerous goods handling
- Real-time data ensures accurate record keeping for legislative requirements
In summary, information is power, and the right mining software and fuel efficiency technologies can drive sustainable mining practices. A good fuel tracking system will prove to decrease fuel theft, reduce idling, and optimize fleet efficiency. When sourcing a good fuel management system or mining app, we recommend asking the following questions to ensure it’s a good fit for your operations:
Does the fuel management system have live GPS tracking?
Tracking your fleet in real-time should also provide the ability to analyze fuel consumption rates, idle rates, and no-go-zones, ultimately preventing prevent theft.
Does the fuel efficiency technology offer a simple, retrofit installation?
Lots of mines run a mixed fleet, and older equipment is always present. Regardless of make/year/model, 30-minute install, including calibration and configuration, is a good time estimate per vehicle. Steer clear of more complicated, arduous technologies or mining software applications that won’t cover your full fleet.
Are real-time alerts available?
Diesel theft is common, and having a system that detects unusual drops in fuel levels, especially when outside the mine site, is critical, and only attainable if real-time alerts are available.
Can you monitor driver performance and KPIs?
The ability to watch driver incidents, such as excessive acceleration, high RPMs, and over-braking, can provide opportunity for corrective training. Over time, a properly trained team of operators can significantly reduce fuel costs, as well as maintenance due to lowered rates of vehicle wear and tear.
Learn more about our fuel monitoring and fuel management system here.