One of the richest underground copper deposits in the world will soon be accessed with the help of high-capacity gearless driven conveyors from thyssenkrupp. As one of the leading global providers of mining systems, the Industrial Solutions business area has won a contract to supply a material handling system for the new Oyu Tolgoi underground mine in Mongolia. The contract value is in the higher double-digit million euro range. thyssenkrupp will supply a total of nine conveyors with a combined length of 9.5 km as well as seven transfer towers operating at a design tonnage of 7,100 tons per hour. First production from underground is expected in 2020. The Oyu Tolgoi mine complex is a joint venture between the Government of Mongolia and Turquoise Hill Resources, which is majority-owned by Rio Tinto.
From a depth of nearly 1,400 m beneath the Gobi Desert in the south of Mongolia, the new underground material handling system is planned to transport 95,000 t per day of copper ore up to the surface. The main components are four high lift conveyors each equipped with 1.6 m wide steel cord belts and dual 5,500 kW gearless drives from Siemens. Further conveyors will feed the main incline conveyors and tie the new underground system into the existing process facility.
Torsten Gerlach, CEO of the Mining Technologies business unit of thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions: “This order again proves that thyssenkrupp is a strong player in the mining and materials handling industry. We are proud to contribute to this project with our intelligent belt conveyor technology and our strong global project execution capabilities. The system will help the Oyu Tolgoi mine set standards in terms of productivity and safety.”
The Oyu Tolgoi mine began producing copper concentrate from an open pit operation in 2013. The future underground construction activities will transform Oyu Tolgoi into one of the most significant copper mines globally.
The order given to thyssenkrupp includes the engineering, design, and supply of the new material handling system as well as required site support services during the construction and commissioning phases. It will be designed with an emphasis on ease of maintenance. This includes, for example, the ability to quickly replace chute sections as well as idler rolls and belt cleaners. The drive components are massive in terms of size and weight, so great attention will be paid to safely transporting them underground and to ensuring they can be safely exchanged in the future. Overhead bridge cranes are strategically located to not only service the equipment, but also to aid in the erection of the major structures.
The work scope also includes water and air piping for the required dust suppression equipment, fire protection along all of the underground conveyors and electrical infrastructure to control and power the equipment.