Day and night, haul trucks travel back and forth across our six steelmaking coal sites, hauling waste rock to the dumps and raw coal to the processing plant. This movement is a significant portion of our site costs — approximately 40%. Finding ways to make our trucks work faster and more efficiently, without sacrificing safety, is an opportunity not only to save costs, but also to reduce emissions and improve our overall sustainability performance.
In response to this challenge, we developed four specific ways to improve haul truck productivity:
- Reducing fixed time — the amount of time that a haul truck spends waiting to be loaded, being loaded and dumping its contents
- Increasing operating hours by reducing as much unproductive time as possible, e.g., fuelling trucks during lunch or at shift change
- Improving payload — switching to lightweight haul truck boxes allows us to move an additional 15 tonnes of material with each load. Lighter truck boxes also result in reduced fuel consumption on the return trip from the dump and the potential to load additional material on every trip
- Grouping trucks together based on speed so our newer, faster trucks aren’t being held up by older, slower ones
These changes may seem small, but they add up to big results. For example, we reduced the amount of time that a haul truck waited to be loaded by one minute during 2013, thereby saving 40,000 truck hours and 450,000 litres of diesel. The diesel savings also reduced our CO2 emissions by 1,200 tonnes and contributed 16 TJ towards our energy reduction target. Simply increasing truck productivity by 5% and sustaining it for one year can save an estimated 50,000 truck hours, reducing costs by $24 million and improving our efficient use of resources.