Reducing costs on bulk material handling projects

Schmidt, Marthinus Johannes
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The objective of this study is to provide a framework for reducing bulk materials handling project costs in a systematic way by considering key cost drivers and potential saving opportunities without compromising the functionality of systems. The impact that these possible savings may have on the overall project viability and cost is explored by predominantly focussing on coal projects. Typical project specifications are considered in order to understand to what extent they influence project costs. The need to align project specifications with the business vision and requirements is argued while recognising how the upfront project scope definition remains key towards avoiding unnecessary capital expenditure. A case is made to justify strict project specifications for long term projects. High level selection guidelines are provided on costly storage and land transportation systems. The merits of utilising used plants, systems and equipment are investigated. Case studies are presented to caution against unintended consequences of underinvestment. The financial impact of engineering decisions is a central theme throughout. A high level framework showing how different aspects of bulk materials handling costs are interrelated is provided to enable project teams to maintain a balanced view throughout project studies and implementation.
A research report submitted to the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, University of the Witwatersrand, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Engineering, Johannesburg October 2017
Schmidt, Marthinus Johannes, (2017) Reducing costs on bulk material handling projects, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg,