The competition for the 2018 Reliability Program of the Year was fierce, and, while there was only one winner, there were no losers. Each of the competitors presented very different reliability programs along with varying amounts of supporting data, but Detour Gold’s mining operation emerged victorious.
Donald Prevost, reliability specialist at Detour Gold devoted the past six years to the development and implementation of the reliability program and strategies at Detour Gold, one of the largest gold mines in Canada. This long-life, large-scale open-pit mine is located in Ontario and is operated 24/7/365.
There were many reliability challenges. "Detour Gold has only one operational asset to meet market expectations and had a corporate vision to attain and sustain 92% uptime while processing 55,000 tons of ore a day,” said Prevost. "It also needed to increase throughput, but there was no reliability management structure in place to follow, nor was reliability fully understood. Departmental silos also existed between operations, maintenance and reliability."
As part of the reliability strategy, Detour Gold performed a failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) and identified critical assets to understand the consequence of failure. "We worked to determine the most appropriate method of failure/defect identification and to develop the most effective programs to enable reliability with the least amount of resources in the most efficient way," said Prevost. "We also tracked progress and leveraged it to promote buy-in from stakeholders for continuous improvements."
Team approach needed
With the Detour Gold reliability program, it was clear that reliability cannot be achieved alone; it requires a team. Its reliability team grew from just one reliability engineer in 2013, Prevost, to a dozen reliability personnel with specific expertise such as reliability, vibration, lubrication and conveyors.
"This team approach and the use of specialists led to the development of a lubrication standard to drive the program," said Prevost. "Key principles in the program consist of the right lubricant in the right place in the right amount at the right time. Keeping the lubricant clean, dry and cool was also important."
A vibration analysis program was also implemented. "Analysis is performed using AMS Suite Machinery Health Manager software," said Prevost. "The AMS 6500 online program has evolved into a more efficient system of bringing awareness not only to the reliability team, but also to the operations team. The 6500 integrated with our PI historian, and automated alarms were established that can notify both teams through email alerts."
The reliability of the 2.4 miles of 14 conveyor systems is also vital to the operation as they bring ore into the plant. "Conveyor techs are continuously looking at ways to improve the reliability of the systems," says Prevost.
The overall performance for both grinding lines, which is basically the whole plant, has seen an overall increase in throughput of 30%, which has been recognized with a sustained increase in overall plant availability of 87.6%, noted Prevost. "Most of our objectives are being met," he said. "Our performance summary of primary crushing shows we are at 77%, and our target is 80%, but we forecast that, by the end of the year, we will meet our target. Looking at total availability in 2017-2018, we are 22% above our availability target."
Detour Gold demonstrated results in a short time, considering where it started and where it had to go, but picking a winner was a tough decision for the judges. Bayer, one of the other three finalists, had a long successful journey. And Sadara, the third finalist, was literally in its infancy with little data, but an excellent model for industry nonetheless.