Reducing Haul Truck Fuel Consumption in Open Pit Mines by Strategic Changes to the Haulage Cycle
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The goals of minimizing emissions and lowering operating costs by monitoring and controlling fuel efficiency have been a growing concern in the mining and construction industries. The largest single contributor of energy consumption in an open pit mining operation is haul trucks. At Goldstrike Mine, haul trucks accounted for approximately 67% of fuel used in 2010. By examining haul trucks in their operating environment, strategic changes in critical parts of the truck cycles can result in fuel savings. This project was a subproject of the Mine Traffic Optimization (MTO) project and is funded by MITACS and Barrick Gold Corporation. One objective of the MTO project was to examine how mine traffic affects fuel efficiency. Certain components of the haulage profile result in inefficient use of fuel, which results in increased operating costs and a larger environmental footprint. Monitoring the trucks in real time allows for the examination of various ways to modify truck’s behaviours in order to improve fuel efficiency. One critical component of the haulage cycle is intersections. An analysis was performed to gain a better understanding of efficient intersection layouts and travel speeds. Cycle time analysis was conducted to ensure that alterations to the haulage cycle would result in minimal impact to the overall productivity of the mine. Modifications to operating practices and simple coding changes to the dispatching program suggest possibilities for potential fuel savings, reduced mechanical degradation, and improved operation efficiency.