Alumbrera underground copper-gold mine to benefit from Rail-Veyor haulage

The Alumbrera copper-gold mine in Argentina will soon be going underground and, with this, will come the installation of an electric Rail-Veyor haulage system, Goldcorp has confirmed.

Open-pit operations are due to cease at the end of this month, but during the most recent June quarter, the project partners (Glencore – 50%, Goldcorp – 37.5%, Yamana Gold – 12.5%) agreed on an underground extension of the mine.

The underground operation is set to start up in late-2019 and will be mined using the sub-level caving methodology, Goldcorp said earlier this week in its June quarter results.

The company added that an electric Rail-Veyor haulage system will be used to transport material to the “existing infrastructure, with the processing plant expected to process 20,000 tonnes per day over an expected 10-year mine life”.

The project is expected to be fully funded through Alumbrera’s operating cash flows.

Glencore is no stranger to Rail-Veyor technology having introduced South Africa’s first surface mine installation at the Eland platinum operation some years ago. Last year, Northam Platinum acquired Eland.

Rail-Veyor is an electrically powered series of two-wheeled interconnected mini rail cars that can operate 24/7 and travel along a light rail track at speeds up to 8 metres per second. The remote controlled Rail-Veyor technology is comprised of simple components that allow continuous material haulage without diesel emissions and with significantly less capital and maintenance costs than other options.