In a history that extends back over 90 years, Hudbay has developed a notable record for using innovation, teamwork and hard-earned mining insight to get the most out of its properties.
In 2019, the Company extended its record of achievement when it ramped up to producing 4,500 tonnes of ore per day at the Lalor mine in northern Manitoba.
The increase to 4,500 tonnes per day, up from a previous average of 3,600–3,700 tonnes per day, is not due to any single change or enhancement. Rather, it is attributable to a number of thoughtfully applied improvements to procedures and processes across all of the mine’s activities, including mine design changes, contract strategies, asset integrity and work management programs.
Lalor also adopted a new system for refueling its scoop that delivered noteworthy results. Rather than keeping fuel at central bays that scoops had to visit whenever they needed fuel, the mine invested in a fuel truck that can go directly to the scoops on an as-needed basis, eliminating wasted travel time and increasing effective mucking hours. A number of continuous improvement Kaizen events were held at Lalor in 2019 and were key to getting employee input into the successful production ramp-up.
A rethought approach to fueling gave scoop drivers 90 more minutes per shift at the ore face.
This simple improvement allowed drivers and their scoops to spend an additional hour and a half at the ore face, which, based on a 12-hour shift, is a significant increase of productive time spent actively mining. This, and other such improvements, speaks to a culture of continuous improvement, and in many cases, the changes were suggested by the miners at Lalor.
Making the Most of Our Mills
In addition to changes at the mine site, in 2019 Hudbay undertook a series of incremental process and equipment enhancements to further increase throughput at our Stall mill. The New Britannia mill, which Hudbay acquired in 2015, was another important area of focus in 2019. Engineering and other technical work was done on a new copper flotation circuit, along with other upgrades to the plant, which will enable New Britannia to contribute to significantly enhanced recoveries from the Lalor gold and copper-gold zones when the mill goes into operation in late 2021.