Underground incentives — their development, application and effect at Brunswick No. 12 mine, Bathurst, New Brunswick

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 88, No. 987, 1995

Robert W. Baker, Brunswick Mining and Smelting Corp. Ltd. Bathurst, New Brunswick

Brunswick Mining and Smelting commenced production at the No. 12 orebody, a lead/zinc/copper/silver deposit, situated some seventeen miles southwest of Bathurst, New Brunswick, in 1964 at 4100 tonnes per day. Today it operates at 10 500 tonnes per day. Brunswick has utilized underground incentives since commencement of operations. Early incentive systems were "off the wall", based on those in effect at other properties, then manipulated to fit, often back calculated from actual performances to arrive at the desired result. If subsequent payouts were considered too high, the rates were simply reduced, often retroactively. A large amount of this was subjective, and depended to a large extent on whoever was handling the bonus, in conjunction with senior mine department staff. In 1971, it was decided that a more scientific approach was needed, particularly with the introduction of the new cut-and-fill mining. After some research, a system based on Work Study was selected. Another major mining company employing such a system loaned one of their experienced employees to train some Brunswick personnel in the art of Work Study and conversion of data to incentive rates, and in 1972, the first such developed incentive rate was introduced. Along the way, borrowing from others where necessary, a set of Brunswick principles and parameters were developed. While refined to some extent, these remain basically the same today. Improvements in methods and equipment have resulted in improved performance and reduced costs. The use of underground incentives has played an important role in this. Although individual bonus earnings have steadily increased, bonus cost per tonne has remained nearly constant — in real dollars, it has regularly decreased. These are two of the main parameters of a successful system.
Mots Clés: Underground mining, Brunswick Mining and Smelting Corp. Ltd., Human resources, Incentives.