Insight on my life and how I got to where I am
Hi Leonor Feio!
Hello! Welcome to the O-Pitblast Blog, nice to meet you! I’m Leonor and today I would like to tell you a bit about myself and my journey up until I joined the O-Pitblast team.
Throughout my basic education years, I have always had an interest in Science. I find Nature fascinating and the study of it has appealed to me from an early age. With that in mind, I directed my studies in highschool to the Science component and focused on the study of Biology, Geology, Chemistry and Physics. From these, Biology and Geology were my favourite. To be honest, even though I was studying to pursue a career in Science I was not quite sure on what exactly I would like to do until one day I had a field trip to the Faculty of Engineering here in Porto, Portugal. With that one visit, everything kind of clicked for me. I realized that the Mining Engineering career was the right fit for me since it combined some of my personality traits that are required and, in my opinion necessary to be an engineer, and my interest in Geology. Another aspect that drew me into this career was that it requires a lot of time, either outside in open-pit or ‘inside’ in underground. Nonetheless, it is a job that requires you to be out of the office most of the time which I appreciate very much since I like to be in the field and am a very hands on person.
And so I became a Mining Engineer in 2019 with my thesis being about mining consumables. To be more specific, in my Master’s thesis I focused on executing a technical and economical analysis of consumables in the production of industrial rock. So from this point on, I will give you all some insight on what I was working on for my thesis. My dissertation used real production data from a granite quarry found in the north of Portugal to conduct an analysis of said data by using basic statistical indicators and Principal Component Analysis. To do so, 20 years’ worth of data were gathered between February and June 2018: total monthly production and product-specific monthly production as well as unit cost, unit consumption and cost values of five of the most relevant consumables in a quarry’s production cycle: electricity, fuel, explosive, belt and bit. The consumables’ average cost distribution of the quarry used as a case study in this dissertation is shown in figure 1.
Figure 1 - Typical consumables’ average cost distribution in a granite quarry
With this, a conclusion can be drawn that the most expensive consumable in this operation was fuel, closely followed by electricity, explosive, belt and bit. The next step consisted of processing all the data and eliminating anomalous values (zeros) so to diminish its negative effects in the results obtained by the analysis. The analysis of the processed data was performed using Principal Component Analysis (with two essays) with the intent of finding correlations between variables, individuals, and variable-individual correlations. This analysis displayed the selected data in various factorial levels such as the ones shown below in figure 2.
Figure 2 – Variable’s projection in F1 and F2 factorial levels for the first essay
Most of the findings were that the variation of the different indicators (unit cost, unit consumption and cost) depend on market fluctuations (supply and demand of the products provided by the quarry) since electricity and fuel are subject to the effect of economy of scale. An example of this is shown in figure 3 (electricity’s cost variation throughout the selected 20 year span).
Figure 3 – Electricity’s cost variation throughout the selected 20 year span
From the consumables belt and bit reliable conclusions could not be met with enough certainty since its log was not written considering its wear but rather its acquisition when needed.
It can be inferred that the examination of this quarry’s indicators is useful to attain some correlations between months of the year and production values as well as its corresponding unit consumption and cost values taking into account supply and demand. However, some values have no plausible justification which suggests that further, more thorough research can be done in order to have a better grasp of the quarry’s production cycle and its influence on the consumables, with the ultimate aim being to apply this same methodology to other quarries with a similar geological profile and type of end product.
Shortly after finishing my Masters, I joined the O-Pitblast team and have been with them ever since. I am proud to be an O-Pitblaster!
To finish off, I hope you enjoyed me sharing a bit of my story and some knowledge with you as well!
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Stay safe and happy blasting!
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