ABB recently won a $24 million order to supply a complete ore hoisting solution for Xstrata Zinc’s George Fisher mine (GFM) located near Mount Isa in northwest Queensland, Australia. The ground-mounted friction hoist will carry ore from a depth of 1,135 m and help increase GFM’s production by 30% per year by 2013. Xstrata Zinc’s resources in and near Mount Isa, including GFM, comprise the world’s largest known zinc resource base, with an estimated 600 Mt of ore and 36 Mt of contained zinc metal.
In addition to increasing production capacity at the mine, ABB’s integrated hoist solution will operate at the highest levels of reliability and safety.
“ABB won the order for this expansion project because of our strong track record, commitment to serving the mining industry and unique position as a sole-supplier of complete mine hoist systems,” said Veli-Matti Reinikkala, head of ABB’s Process Automation division. “Our leading-edge technologies, combined with our global and local industry expertise, ensure the efficiency, reliability and safety of these critical mining operations from day one.”
ABB will design, supply and commission all the electrical and mechanical equipment for a new ground-mounted mine ore hoist system. At speeds of 16 m/s, the hoist will raise 600 t/h of ore per hour from a depth of 1,135 m. ABB’s state-of-the-art ACS 6000 medium voltage drive system, which controls torque and speed to enable energy-efficient ore haulage, will power a 9,000 kW synchronous motor to run the hoist. The hoist design will minimise impact on the surrounding power network.
ABB will also design and supply the bottom dump ore skips with inspection platforms, the rope deflection sheaves and a skip dumping system. ABB’s System 800xA AC800M industrial controller will manage and control the entire mine hoisting system, from the loading conveyors to the surface ore dump station.
Reliable performance of the hoist is critical to the safety and financial success of the mine operation. ABB’s proven maintenance, lifecycle support services and expertise in delivering more than 600 new mine hoist systems worldwide, were important factors in securing this contract. Delivery is scheduled to be completed in the second half of 2013.
Xstrata’s A$274 million expansion of GFM will increase zinc production to 4.5 Mt/y. The project involves sinking the second hoisting shaft, using large diameter raise boring technology, to service the northern area of the mine.
It also includes the installation of an underground crushing and ore-handling facility and upgrades to power and ventilation facilities. The expansion project had been encouraged by a 126% increase in zinc reserves from 33 Mt when Xstrata acquired the operation in 2003 to 76 Mt in 2010. While the increased production rate will reduce the mine life by five years to 21 years, the orebody remains open at depth to the north of the mine.”
Headquartered in Madrid, Spain, Xstrata Zinc is one of the world’s largest producers of zinc and one of the commodity business units within the major global diversified mining group Xstrata. Xstrata’s zinc and lead operations and exploration projects are located in Australia, Canada, Germany, Peru, Spain and the UK.