MMG and Barminco are trialling an automated LHD at the Dugald River mine, in Queensland, Australia, as both miner and contractor look to further boost production at the zinc-lead operation.
While still early days, Barminco (part of the Perenti Group) has a fully autonomous Sandvik LH621i LHD running at the mine, having introduced the loader to increase output.
Sandvik says the AutoMine®-ready LH621i is an intelligent 21 t loader designed for rapid mine development and large scale underground mine production.
“With superior hydraulic power for fast bucket filling and drivetrain power for high ramp speed, the Sandvik LH621i is designed to quickly clear tunnel headings for rapid advance rates,” the OEM added.
MMG’s Dugald River produced 35,505 t of zinc concentrate and 4,277 t of lead concentrate during the March quarter of 2020. While both numbers were lower than the same period of 2019 and the December quarter that preceded it due to lower grades, mining and milling volumes of 462,570 t and 443,378 t, respectively, were both in line with plan.
In this same results release, MMG said of the Dugald River operations: “After an aggressive and successful ramp up during 2019, work in 2020 will continue to focus on opening up new operating areas, to ensure a steady feed of ore to the mill.
“The optimisation of recoveries will be a major area of focus in the processing plant. This work will be key in ensuring Dugald River remains on track to deliver annual mine capacity of 2 Mt and targeted zinc-equivalent production in excess of 200,000 t per annum, by 2022.”
The mine, which achieved commercial production in May 2018, is expected to produce 170,000-180,000 t/y of zinc concentrate in 2020.