Evaluating the Impact of Lean Methodologies in Copper Mining Development Projects

Gustavo Castillo1, Luis F. Alarcón2 & Vicente A. Gonzalez3

1MSc Student, Department of Construction Engineering and Management, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Av. Vicuña Mackenna 4860, Edificio San Agustín 3er Piso, Macul, Santiago, Chile, Phone +56 2 2354 4244, gdcastil@uc.cl
2Director and Professor, Department of Construction Engineering and Management, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Av. Vicuña Mackenna 4860, Edificio San Agustín 3er Piso, Macul, Santiago, Chile, Phone +56 2 2354 4244, lalrcon@ing.puc.cl
3PhD, Lecturer, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of Auckland, 20 Symonds Street, Private Bag 92019, Victoria Street West, Auckland 1142, New Zealand. Phone +64 9 373 7599 ext 84106 v.gonzalez@auckland.ac.nz

Abstract

The development of mines is an important stage previous to the mine exploitation, which plays a key role in the mining industry, and represents a large portion of total costs. To date, the mining industry has not appropriately adapted its processes and business models to the industry´s ever increasing production environment. In this regard, lean production emerges as a management philosophy, which creates competitive advantages and provides important savings opportunities for companies and organizations. However, there are important limitations in the practical implementation of lean production. This work explores how to bridge the gap between the theoretical use of lean production and its practical, effective application in a Chilean mining project. This paper analyzes the impact of the implementation of lean construction/production methodologies in underground mining development projects. In all of the case studies reviewed, the implementation of lean methodologies generated performance improvements in projects. The main findings suggest that the incorporation of lean methodologies is an option, which companies should consider, given the current and future challenges in the mining business. Future research will show the economic impact of adopting lean construction/production in mining companies.

Keywords

lean construction, lean production, mining, construction, implementation, development

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Reference

Castillo, G. , Alarcón, L.F. & Gonzalez, V.A. 2014, 'Evaluating the Impact of Lean Methodologies in Copper Mining Development Projects' In:, Kalsaas, B.T., Koskela, L. & Saurin, T.A., 22nd Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Oslo, Norway, 25-27 Jun 2014. pp 593-604

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