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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Fast-track approach to mining construction projects Bissiri, Yassiah

Abstract

Traditional mining engineering procedure can essentially be decomposed into three separate stages at the engineering level; the design phase; the construction phase; and finally the production and processing phase. The important characteristic of this procedure lies in the sequential manner in which each phase is implemented during a project life cycle. In comparison, fast-tracking involves the overlap of design and construction, the overlap of construction and production, and finally the reduction of the execution time of each phase. The fast-track technique may be tempting to many project managers as it provides a theoretical mechanism for an overall reduction in project duration and probably costs. However, the implementation of the technique itself may be very difficult. For example the fact that some portion of design of overall design is executed simultaneously with construction may put a lot of pressure of the design team in terms of time and accuracy of drawings in order to minimize late changes. The fast-track technique has already been implemented in some civil construction projects with some stories of failure and success. In the mining however, although the fast-track technique is known, very few companies have applied it in the past. The application of the technique is delicate and requires a better understanding of the parameters that are involved in fast-tracking a project in order to control or at least predict their impact in the success of the project. This thesis introduces an approach to fast-tracking mining projects. The traditional and the fast-track approach are presented to highlight their similarities and differences. An economic model, based on the traditional definition of the net present value, is built for each approach. Then an upper bound cost of construction function for the fast-track approach is derived from the two models. This upper bound cost function is then used to conduct a sensitivity analysis with respect to the parameters involved in fast-tracking a mining project. The sensitivity analysis provides us with a better understanding of the premium a company is willing to invest in order to fast-track a project. Throughout the analysis of the function, several business strategies known to be used in the mining industry were justified. The factors that may affect the application of the fast-track technique are also discussed in this thesis. These factors are identified, analysed and then inserted into the models in order to minimize the risk of failure. A resources allocation model is developed for fast-tracked project. The model is divided into two parts; a deterministic linear programming part that assumes that all the parameters are deterministic and a stochastic linear programming part that takes into account the probabilistic nature of the variables involve in fast-tracking a mining project. Finally, the two models are applied to a real mining project and the results are presented in graphs and tables. The objective of the case study was to demonstrated that

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