Philex Mining Invests in Operator Safety and Efficiency
Load-haul-dump (LHD) operators at Padcal mine in Benguet province, The Philippines, will soon benefit from owner, Philex Mining’s recent investment in a CYBERMINE Training System. This will combine an advanced, high-fidelity training simulator with E-learning to enhance the safety and efficiency levels in the mine’s load and haul operations. Padcal is nearly 60 years old and was the first block cave mining operation in the Far East.
The copper and gold mine selected ThoroughTec Simulation’s CYBERMINE Training System from a number of other potential vendors to bring next generation training to their Sandvik LH514 fleet. The E-learning system is an introductory level tool developed to walk novice recruits through a particular machine’s basic controls and operation, as well as the mine environment, site operating procedures and safety checks. Padcal’s LHD operators will then be trained on the high-fidelity simulator, a highly realistic replication of the actual machine.
“We have a very close relationship with the surrounding community which we often invest in,” says Manuel Agcaoili, SVP at Philex and resident manager of Padcal operations. “These CYBERMINE systems will help uplift the skill level in the community. The Philex ComRel (Community Relations) team developed the Philex Miners Programme with a progressive and future oriented outlook for the local community.” The programme included a new training centre for skills development in the Benguet area, which included an investment in operator training featuring E-learning and full mission simulator technology.
“We also look forward to these new training systems helping us improve and maintain the high level of safety and efficiency demanded here at Padcal and Philex Mining as a whole,” says Agcaoili. “It goes without saying that the safer and more efficient our LHD operators are, the better.” One of Philex Mining’s corporate objectives is to increase production and enhance efficiency at Padcal.
“We are very proud to have been selected by Philex as this signals the first simulator training programme for mining operators in The Philippines,” says Larin Allison, Regional Vice President of Asia Pacific at ThoroughTec.
“This signals the first simulator training programme for mining operators in The Philippines”
“Incorporating CYBERMINE into their training programme will not only help Padcal increase safety levels. These training systems have been proven in helping to decrease operating costs, which in the current mining climate, is vital,” says Allison. LHDs are the workhorses of most underground mines and their operators need to know how to operate them safely and efficiently. The CYBERMINE system is extremely useful for evaluating how the operator reacts in an emergency. “It’s obviously difficult to simulate a fire on the actual equipment, so the simulator is a very useful tool in simulating a fire and assessing how the operator reacts to it and uses the fire suppression system,” says Allison.
As an example, in terms of efficiency, the simulator will help the operators avoid spinning their front wheels as they drive the bucket into the muck pile, which obviously decreases tyre life. CYBERMINE tracks when wheel slippage occurs and the status of all the machine’s sub systems. From there, the instructor can deduce how to correct this behaviour, ensuring the operator is in the correct gear and lifting the bucket at the correct time. Mastering this technique puts less strain on the equipment and lowers the number of passes required to fill the bucket.
“Because the LHDs will be used for fewer training tasks, the associated running costs of training will also come down significantly. Damage and wear-and-tear decreases as operators are able to familiarise themselves with the controls and iron out their mistakes on the simulator instead of the real equipment. This means less unscheduled maintenance and lower maintenance and training costs,” notes Allison. These training systems will also be customised to include Padcal’s own operating procedures.
“We have a great working relationship with Sandvik, which helps us take the CYBERMINE simulator system to the next level in terms of realism and accuracy,” says Allison. “ThoroughTec has simulated well over 50 LHDs for mines, training schools and universities around the world.”