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The Whittle 10 Step process

Whittle Integrated Strategic Planning - The Enterprise Optimisation model

The 10 Steps of Whittle Integrated Strategic Planning - all simultaneously optimised

1. PIT/UNDERGROUND

Based on a “Net Value” view of the orebody and what waste stripping or development is required. Consider what should be in or out of the mine design to maximise value. This depends on the mining method and geo-technical constraints, as well as the metallurgical and economic parameters.

2. PHASES

Optimising the pushback design to provide early access to high-value material and defer waste/development costs.

3. MINE SCHEDULE

The sequence and rate of mine production, delaying waste/ development and prioritising value without compromising the future of the operation.

4. CUT-OFF

Based on “Net Value per Bottleneck Unit” not “grades”. Raising the cut-off above break-even on a dynamic basis can substantially increase economic value, if the plant or downstream is the primary constraint in the system (as per Ken Lane’s theory).

5. STOCKPILES

Deferring rather than wasting lower value material. This mechanism prioritises value, provides operational flexibility and creates commercial options.

6. BLEND

Controlling the range of certain characteristics for the plant feed or the product is a function of time and place. What are the operational or commercial penalties and rewards for hard vs soft blending limits?

7. PROCESSING

Dynamic processing parameters. Varying plant throughput will have a significant impact on recoveries and processing costs. It is a complex trade-off between additional immediate cash flow, extra mining/ processing costs and lost metal impacting future cashflow.

8. PRODUCT MIX AND SPECIFICATION

Dynamic Product Strategy. A range of products could be produced with a significant impact on recovery, transportation costs and product commercial terms.

9. LOGISTICS

Adjusting capacity to pursue margin rather than cost minimisation. More costly logistics, used under the right circumstances, can produce increased overall value.

10. CAPITAL

Capital decisions should not be made in isolation. Capital optimisation provides the right amount of headroom around the primary bottleneck in the system. With dozens of interrelated capital decisions, the matrix to explore can be substantial and the financial benefits significant.

The Whittle 10 Step process

All 10 Steps of the Whittle Integrated Strategic Planning process are interrelated, and therefore should be considered simultaneously. With this approach, the mathematical permutations become exponential. However, Prober E technology can resolve and improve even the most complex Enterprise Optimisation models.

Using the same data, the same constraints and with the same objectives Whittle Integrated Strategic Planning = a better optimisation.

The information required for all 10 Steps usually exists within a mining project or operation. Often, the data resides in separate specialised systems (geo-statistics, geo-technical, mining operation systems, metallurgical simulation systems, logistics simulations, commercial models and financial models). The Enterprise Optimisation model encompasses all of these subjects in a single integrated model, with an optimisation engine (Prober E). This has the power to determine the right combination of all the variables to maximise the economic value created by the complete system.

“The Prober E Enterprise Optimisation model is tailored for each site. It determines how much capital is worth spending on each constraint, simultaneously rebalancing the pit, phase, schedule, cut-off, stockpile, blending, processing, product mix and logistics to suit the specifics of each mining project or operation.”