MINER MAG Q2 2022 MOBILE - Page 15

Operator Scorecard Goes Underground at Henderson

Josh Gresham works with the gray metal – not the red one – but he knows a good idea when he sees one . And as any North American mine operations manager will tell you , the Haul Truck Operator Scorecard ( HTOS ) has been a very good idea .

The same HTOS that has unlocked new potential to further develop and improve the skills of haul truck operators at Freeport-McMoRan ’ s North America copper mines served as motivation and model for a fledgling Underground Operators Scorecard ( UGOS ) created by Gresham , Mine Superintendent at Climax Molybdenum ’ s Henderson Mine .

In true agile form , Gresham made an initial sprint out of developing an early prototype for a scorecard based on

operators self-reporting answers to some basic questions at the end of each shift . He began inputting the responses into a simple Excel file in October , and voilà , the first iteration of UGOS had taken flight .

Josh Gresham , Mine Superintendent-Henderson , conceived and developed the Underground Operator Scorecard .


Though HTOS served as motivation and model , it couldn ’ t be more different from UGOS , because loading ore underground is a totally different animal than hauling from an open pit .

“ We live in a different environment with different equipment , but we ’ re both moving rock from Point A to Point B ,” Gresham said . “ I figured it was a good opportunity to do something here , even though we don ’ t have any real instrumentation to monitor as you do with haul trucks .”

Underground loaders operate in the tight , dark confines of underground production tunnels where Wi-Fi doesn ’ t connect . Loader operators are constantly driving into and backing out from the piles of rock gathered at 20 or so different draw points , delivering the ore from each draw point to an ore pass , where it falls into a hopper at the haulage level below . There is very little instrumentation and zero remote monitoring .

“ The interesting thing is that each one of them is working very much alone ,” Gresham said .

“ A supervisor keeps an eye on everybody , but they ’ re in their own area with their own draw points , delivering to their ore

pass . They ’ re doing their own thing .”

Ultimately , the simplest , most accurate way to start gauging operator acumen is to measure seat time – how many hours of a 12-hour shift an operator spends on the loader .

“ It ’ s tight . It ’ s dark . So the focus is on how quickly they are getting to the work area , how long they are staying out and how many buckets they loaded during the shift ,” Gresham said . “ We ’ re learning what we can about our efficiency and how well of a job we ’ re doing making the most of the time we have in a 12-hour shift .”

A loader operator drops his bucket of recently blasted rock into an ore pass at the Henderson mine .


Upon rolling out the scorecard , Gresham expected some pushback , particularly from experienced operators who might think their work skills and habits were being questioned . But operators have roundly embraced the scorecard and reliably fill out the brief surveys at the end of each shift .

“ We have a lot of new people operating equipment , so the quicker we can get everybody up to speed and improve their skills , the better things are for everybody ,” Gresham . “ The operators have welcomed this process , and though it ’ s something I spend quite a bit of time inputting by hand , I ’ m hoping to automate and refine the scorecard as we go .”

Even in its early , simple form , Gresham ’ s scorecard already has helped develop good habits among new operators , said Tim King , Senior Supervisor-Production at Henderson .

“ More than half our operators have less than a year of experience , so the scorecards have been a valuable selfimprovement tool for people to be able to see the areas they ’ re proficient in and those they want to focus on ,” King said . “ They also help our trainers tailor their training to an operator ’ s specific needs .”

The trainers even can use the scorecards to score themselves , because trends in the scorecards of new operators can illuminate strengths and gaps in training .

“ The scorecard is an excellent means of tracking our own successes as trainers on skill-based training ,” said Jeremy Acker , Technical Instructor / Facilitator-Henderson . “ The time we spend with an operator usually translates well on the scorecard , in both increasing tons and decreasing equipment down time .”