Image: Baffinland project: pit-to-port dynamic simulation

Minerals & Metals1 min read

Baffinland project: pit-to-port dynamic simulation

Baffin Island, Canada
Baffinland Iron Mines (Baffinland)
2023 – Ongoing

Baffinland is increasing their iron ore production on Baffin Island from 6 Mt/y to 22 Mt/y. Given the project’s remote arctic location, they sought to understand the dynamics of their seasonal supply chain to estimate practical throughput capacity, identify bottlenecks, minimize costs, and enhance confidence in the ensuing design.

As part of the feasibility study, Ausenco was retained to model Baffinland’s entire supply chain, from the crushing and screening plant at Mary River to the international discharge ports.

Our dynamic simulation model included the following features:

  • Mine equipment: crushers, screens, reclaimers, conveyors, train load-out station
  • A 150-km railway with sidings
  • Port equipment: dumper, conveyors, stacker/reclaimers and shiploader
  • Train fleet
  • Multiple mine/port stockpiles
  • Two vessel fleets
  • Planned/unplanned maintenance distributions on all major equipment

Our discrete-event, dynamic simulation model was built using our in-house TLS software, including all major supply chain interactions, operational data, subject matter expert input, and the latest design information. Each of our model runs simulated five full operating years.

Through this model, we analyzed the impact of queuing, congestion, inventory, fleets, and seasonality on the system's ability to achieve the target throughput. Our team utilized the model to test optimization initiatives to inform capital investments and identify potential risk areas for the client.

Challenges and our solutions

Baffinland’s supply chain is complex and multi-faceted due to its different modes of transportation, seasonality, and distance (from the mines to six international discharge port zones). Ausenco’s expertise and tools allowed us to simulate interactions between all these systems.