Navigating Complexities of Production Scheduling

Production scheduling in the mining and metals industry involves planning when and how different parts of a mine will operate. This comprehensive planning ensures that the right equipment and workers are in the right place at the right time, enabling efficient, safe, and productive mining operations. This process is crucial for optimising resource use, minimising costs, and maximising productivity, especially given the challenges such as fluctuating commodity prices, variable ore grades, and the need for precise coordination across multiple stages of production. By acting as a detailed timetable for all activities, production scheduling helps keep the mine running smoothly and ensures the effective extraction, processing, and delivery of valuable minerals.

Production Scheduling
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Key Elements of Production Scheduling

Resource Allocation

people scheduling


Efficient scheduling of personnel ensures that skilled workers are allocated for all critical tasks. Commit Works CiteOps software is market-leading in integrating personnel rosters, skills, and qualifications, enabling planners to allocate the required workers.

Equipment scheduling


Efficient allocation and regular, timely maintenance of equipment prevents downtime and ensures continuous operation. CiteOps manages an equipment schedule that ensures operations and maintenance teams are aligned regarding equipment availability and the requirements of both departments.

Material Scheduling


Tracking the availability of necessary raw materials and supplies at the right time is crucial to avoid production delays. To support this, CiteOps can be tailored to meet the unique needs of each task, effectively tracking materials and supplies (activity consumables) to provide clear visibility and coordination.

Timeline Coordination

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Short-Term Scheduling

Enables immediate decision-making and prompt response to operational issues through day-to-day planning. CiteOps is market-leading in its short-term scheduling capabilities, from weekly operations planning to daily, shift, and real-time planning & execution. Furthermore, CiteOps offers capabilities to manage activity time usage and dependencies, enhancing the ability to respond to daily operational shifts and immediate production demands.

Long-term planning Scheduling

Long-Term Scheduling

Involves strategic planning that aligns production goals with market demand and resource availability over extended periods. CiteOps can be integrated with upstream, long-term schedules to ensure that operations planning is driven by long-term forecasts. Commit Works CiteVis software reports on weekly, daily, and shift performance, which are crucial for assessing how short-term plans align with longer-term objectives.

Risk Management

Regulatory Complaince in Mining

Compliance Risks

Effective management of regulatory compliance objectives and constraints enhances production planning reliability. CiteOps facilitates the management of production constraints and enabling activities, ensuring alignment with the entire sequence of dependency activities. CiteOps enables visualization of bottlenecks and the critical path through a Gantt scheduler of activity sequences. When production faces delay due to crucial enabling compliance tasks, like designing a new mining area, these issues are clearly visible and actionable.

safety and compliance in mining

Operational Risks

Proactively addressing issues such as equipment failure, labor shortages, and environmental regulations ensures operational continuity. CiteOps models various types of work, including production, maintenance, statutory, and others. CiteOps is the leading Operations Planning software for mining & metals today that can track all resource availability including equipment and personnel. Environmental regulations, such as capacity constraints related to workplace ventilation or diesel particulates can be planned and tracked in CiteOps as well.

Challenges in Production Scheduling

Ore Grade Quality 1

Variability of Ore Grades

Fluctuations in ore quality can significantly impact production efficiency and scheduling. High-grade ores may lead to increased output, while lower-grade ores require more processing time and resources. CiteOps can be used to track the material classification of ore and waste being transferred through the operation so that teams can be prepared for expected material at various stages in the mining process.

Geo Political Factors Citeops

Geopolitical Factors

Political instability in mining regions can disrupt production schedules and activity chains, requiring contingency planning and flexible scheduling. CiteOps production scheduling can model major operational events such as hurricanes, heatwaves, or other geopolitical situations with flexible rates-based and manual scheduling for any activity types including delay time.

Environmental & Regulatory Complaince

Environmental and Regulatory Compliance

Adhering to stringent environmental regulations requires careful planning to minimise ecological impact and avoid legal penalties. All CiteOps mining activities are driven by or constrained by supporting work such as the preparation of workplaces pre-production and rehabilitation of workplaces post-production. All these environmental and regulatory requirements can be modelled into the CiteOps production schedule for accuracy of planning and execution.

Supply Chain Management

Activity Chain Management

Ensuring a seamless activity chain from extraction to processing and delivery is critical. Disruptions in any part of the activity chain can lead to costly delays and inefficiencies. CiteOps and CiteVis are typically used as whole-of-operations software, ensuring that all areas, such as underground, surface, and processing workplaces, are interconnected, thus providing visibility across the entire activity chain.

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Strategies for Effective Production Scheduling


Live Advanced Planning Systems

Implementation of live advanced planning systems can help in creating dynamic schedules that can adapt to changing conditions and provide real-time insights into production status. CiteOps production scheduling is completely live, based on all information available at the operation, and all screen and device types are updated continuously as information comes into the system.


Collaborative Scheduling

Engaging all stakeholders in the scheduling process ensures the alignment of objectives and efficient resource utilisation. CiteOps production scheduling is market-leading because it can be configured to any view/perspective needed across the operation. Views can be Equipment-based, Location-based, Personnel-based, Material-based, or by any attribute available for production activities. CiteOps also automates the scheduling of routine tasks, enhancing the efficiency and reliability of operations.

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Integrated Scheduling

Using integrated scheduling facilitates the anticipation of operations and maintenance equipment needs, allowing for proactive maintenance scheduling and reducing unplanned downtime. CiteOps integrates all operations and maintenance schedules into one unified schedule ensuring that production and maintenance teams can optimise the use and pro-active maintenance of equipment. Additionally, CiteVis leverages all planning and execution data from CiteOps to deliver comprehensive reporting and data analytics, driving better decision-making and continuous improvement.

Final Thoughts

Production scheduling in the mining and metals industry is essential for enhancing productivity, reducing costs, and ensuring sustainable operations. By leveraging advanced technologies and maintaining operational flexibility, companies are well-equipped to navigate industry challenges. As the sector evolves, an increased reliance on digital tools and collaborative frameworks is expected to meet global market demands.

Download our case studies and white papers

Case Study – Volcan’s Chungar Mines
Case Study – Gold Mine Turnaround: Increase in Gold Production
White Paper – Influencing Behaviour Change: Why a Software-driven Planning System Beats Spreadsheets
White Paper – Planned Work Is Safe Work: Eliminating Risks In Mining Operations