Major shutdown

Client: Poly-metallic producer
Location: South Australia
Duration: one year, seven months


Our client had established a dedicated shutdown team to provide shutdown support to multiple mine areas. They managed as many as 10 shutdowns annually, ranging from 300 to 700 people per shutdown. This resulted at times in simultaneous management of multiple shutdowns at different stages of readiness. Processes were based on industry standards but were disconnected, with no tailoring to site-specific needs. This led to variable execution and missed duration and scope targets. Furthermore, with multiple shutdowns at various stages of readiness, the business struggled to gain visibility of progress in the lead-up to each shut. Other challenges, such as low continuity in shutdown teams and varied approaches per area, only magnified gaps. The team knew that improved shutdown systems and procedures, progress tracking, and team capability, would enable greater shutdown performance with advanced control and stability.


Our brief was to work with the site team to develop a robust, unified shutdown management framework for surface maintenance areas; guide trials of the framework, with our client’s shutdown personnel working in tandem with Minset during implementation; and provide knowledge transfer to workgroups to ensure the sustainability of new systems and procedures. The project was phased over 18 months, creating an important undercurrent of continual improvement and PDCA (plan, do, check, act) cycles.

Work was divided into two major phases. The first focused on developing the new shutdown framework: creating a tailored, end-to-end process; standardising systems; and setting a foundation for future improvement. Site stakeholder engagement was critical to identifying the best of existing practices as the starting point. The second phase was implementation, transitioning site teams to the new shutdown procedures. This included controlled testing and refining of system elements during live shutdowns, and upskilling shutdown personnel, leveraging our team’s expertise. We staged implementation to optimise monitoring and evaluation. The first two major shutdowns on the new procedure focused on delivering and evaluating new elements. The next two focused on demonstrating improved performance, such as reducing task durations and resource requirements without negative impact on key shutdown performance measures.



  • Delivered knowledge transfer sessions with more than 40 shutdown and maintenance personnel on working within the framework
  • Facilitated members of the shutdown team in quick change over (QCO) methods to further reduce task durations
  • Provided in-field supervisor coaching during shutdown execution on better managing teams and work progress in line with the framework


  • Set a sustainable framework – 12 months after project completion, the site team’s continued use, supported by QCO techniques, enabled a further 20% reduction in shutdown duration (a +$20 million saving)
  • Implemented a shutdown readiness and execution information centre


  • Reduced the duration of smelter tap hole insert replacements by 25% (24 hours saved)
  • Reduced conveyor belt changes by 46% (45 hours saved)