In a big mechanized open cast mine the role of advance and day to day planning can not be overemphasized. For safety and efficiency in such mines, the previous sub-systems like man, machine, materials and methods should interact in such a manner that a harmonious and congenial industrial climate is produced and the system components function properly. Big mechanized open cast mines are capital intensive and can be operated only by big “public” or “private” sectors where advance planning should start at corporate level. The corporate planning has the following main features:-
(i) Specifying objectives and goals
(ii) Selection of policies (including safety policy), programme and procedure by which the objectives can be achieved
(iii) Determination of types and amount of resource required, how they are to be generated and allocated to the activities
(iv) Design and organization of the decision making procedure to carry out the plan
(v) Design of procedure for monitoring the plan on a continuous basis
Once the objectives are specified, strategies are selected and resources planned in advance, the design and organization of day to day work becomes easy without any conflict or confusion. In big mines having high stripping ratio due to deep seated deposit of minerals, the advance planning required for safe and efficient development programme starts from determination of potential viable mineral deposit by a successful exploration programme and is followed by two other phases like “pre development programme” and “mine development planning”. In the first phase of “exploration evaluation”, it is necessary to make a preliminary feasibility steady based on the exploration data available to determine if the deposit has economic potential to justify heavy expenditure. The second phase is “pre-development programme” which will include bulk sampling programme, determination of rock-mass characteristics, fragmentation property, ground water condition etc. These information are critical in planning and designing safe operation methodology. The third phase is mine development planning for placing the deposit into production. During this period access to the deposit is available for examination and collection of ‘reliable” information to be used to finalize the mining concept, plan and lay out the permanent mine geometry with various HEMM and other equipments, drainage system, power requirement, communication network etc. as an integral part of complete development plan and final feasibility report is produced. Once the advance planning is made scrupulously, the day to day planning follows to carry out the plans in day to day work. In this work again, safety needs to be integrated in all operational functions like dust suppression, safe blasting practice, slope failure monitoring, safe movement of trackless wheeled machinery like dumper, tipper etc., maintenance of machinery (both routine and preventive). Though the blue print of the work charted out by advance planning, in mining operation where many unpredictable parameters exist it may not be always possible to follow the blue print meticulously. Therefore, there should be scope of flexibility in the planning process so that the plan may be modified to suit the changing needs. But at the same time, the planning may be made “precise” in certain areas like maintenance schedule of machinery, instrumentation and monitoring process, communication network etc. In this way, planning has to be flexible in certain areas and precise in others.
In conclusion, it needs mention that the human factors always play a key role in safe and efficient operation. Therefore, maximum stress should be laid in selection, training and placement of personnel and manning parameters in advance and day to day planning to ensure safety and efficiency in mining operation. We should not forget that man should not only be skilled but also be positively motivated with proper attitude towards work.