The quarry is often an undervalued and overlooked aspect of cement manufacture. However, the quarry is where it all begins as the quality of the cement starts here. With the right long-term plan in place, a number of steps can be taken to enhance quarrying efficiency, optimise operations and reduce costs. By John Kline & Charles Kline, Kline Consulting LLC, USA.
Before starting any quarry optimisation, it is best to understand exactly the current state of the operation under review. Does the quarry have up-to-date core drills that provide all information required to properly design and carry out a long-term quarry plan?
Many plants have outgrown their quarry information and are now flying more on autopilot. Completing core drilling studies is expensive and often management does not want to invest additional capital to complete new quarry studies. However, this can be a short-sighted view, considering what is at stake. If quarries cannot follow a detailed mining plan, it is most likely because there is insufficient data in the quarry modelling software. Of course a quarry model may not exist, in which case years of reserves may be left behind as extraction is not optimised.