Large rope shovel overhauls at Lomas Bayas, Bulga and Jwaneng

Large electric mining shovels represent major multi-year investments for mining operations and as such their maintenance planning, particularly in relation to major overhauls, plays a crucial role over the lifetime of these machines. Three major mining operations have recently given updates in relation to repairs and service of these prime loading tools – namely Glencore’s Lomas Bayas copper mine in Chile, its Bulga coal mine in NSW, Australia and Debswana’s Jwaneng diamond mine in Botswana. This work comes with major challenges given the size of the machines, such as the lifting expertise involved in accessing the major components safely.

Starting with Lomas Bayas, in a record time of 38 days, the mine maintenance department at Glencore’s Lomas Bayas copper mine in Chile recently completed major repairs of Shovel 202, a P&H (Komatsu) 4100XPB, aligning with strategic planning, technological innovation, efficiency and continuous improvement. This crucial asset has 23 years of operation and more than 140,000 hours of activity. Thanks to the synergy between areas, teamwork and operational excellence, this overhaul was carried out in a minimum of time, maintaining the highest standards of safety and operation.

Wilson Melgarejo Gálvez, Mine Maintenance Planner and project leader, highlighted that “there was a remarkable deployment of our own technical staff and that of four external companies. We used state-of-the-art technology in synchronous lifting, lifting and machining, which significantly reduced human exposure to risks.” The mining company said the success is a testament to its commitment and ability to overcome challenges and stay ahead in the industry.

Barloworld Equipment Botswana’s operation at Debswana’s Jwaneng diamond mine is currently undergoing a 50,000-hour Midlife Planned Component Replacement (PCR) for the Bucyrus (Caterpillar) 495HR electric rope shovel, which is number 212. This involves replacing the swing machinery and center pintle according to OEM specifications. The machine will be completely stripped and de-decked for access. This is the second project of its kind in Africa, with the first done on electric rope shovel 210 in 2022. The project is expected to run from May to September 2024.

Finally, a major overhaul of a Komatsu 4100XPC AC P&H electric rope shovel was recently carried out at Glencore’s Bulga coal operation. With 60,000 hours in the books, across its 10-year life, the method of overhauling the 1,536 t machine is unique as the entire machine is pulled away from the car body. The team installed a rail system, lifted the machine, and moved the upper structure (hose and revolving frame) away from the car body and undercarriage. This method makes it easier to disassemble and assemble the undercarriage and reduces delays on the upper structure work. About 30,000 working hours went into the shutdown with the rebuild giving the machine another 10 years of operating life.