Tag Archives: Codelco

Finning captures large Cat equipment order from Codelco’s Andina, Chuquicamata mines

Caterpillar’s relationship with Codelco in Chile continues to strengthen with the OEM, through its Finning dealer, set to deliver mining support equipment and underground loaders to two of the copper miners’ operations.

The orders, revealed in Finning’s June quarter 2021 results, contributed to a building equipment backlog in mining and construction registered during the three-month period in South America.

New equipment sales were up 48% year-on-year in the June quarter in South America and up 14% from the March quarter of this year, driven by improved market activity, mostly in construction, Finning noted.

Finning’s backlog in South America included the Codelco orders.

First was a recently awarded order for Caterpillar support equipment from Codelco’s Andina mine, valued at C$40 million ($32 million), for delivery in the first half of 2022. In addition, the company plans to provide 27 Caterpillar R3000H underground loaders to Codelco’s Chuquicamata mine, with 10 of these machines included in its June quarter backlog.

The 20 t class R3000H was launched in 2012 and remains Cat’s largest model. It replaced the R2900 XTRA, providing added value for hard rock mine operators with a significant increase in truck loading capacity, being able to three pass load 60 t class trucks, and having enhanced digging and breakout performance, faster speeds on grade, a strengthened front frame, and an available Ventilation Reduction Package. Since then there have been a number of deployments of the LHD but there are only a few underground mines in the world with a potential requirement for large numbers of loaders of this class at one operation. One of these is Codelco’s new Chuquicamata Underground blockcave copper mine. This is one of the largest single large LHD orders ever made and will help the mine achieve its intended production rate of 140,000 t/d which is a rate on a par with sister operation and the world’s largest existing underground copper mine, El Teniente. Chuqui Underground includes four levels of production; a 7.5 km main access tunnel, five clean air injection ramps and two air extraction shafts. It will produce 366,000 t of fine copper and more than 18,000 t of fine molybdenum per year & extending Chuqui’s minelife to 2060.

Overall, Finning registered June quarter revenue of C$1.8 billion and net revenue of C$1.7 billion, up 30% and 28%, respectively, from a year earlier when COVID-19-related reductions in market activity hit.

All regions delivered a strong quarter, demonstrating operating leverage in a recovering market, Finning noted. June quarter EBIT as a percentage of net revenue was 9.3% in Canada, 9.8% in South America and 5.3% in the UK & Ireland, representing a step-up in profitability levels for all regions, the company said.

The company’s consolidated equipment backlog at June 30, 2021, increased to C$1.4 billion, from C$1.2 billion at March 31, 2021, with order intake in Canada and South America outpacing deliveries in the quarter, Finning said.

“We are pleased with our strong execution and results in the second (June) quarter,” Scott Thomson, President and CEO of Finning International, said. “With a reduced cost base and more efficient operations and supply chain, we are confident in our improved earnings capacity, which puts us firmly on track to achieve the mid-cycle targets we set out during our Investor Day in June.”

 

Komatsu teams with Rio, BHP, Codelco and Boliden on zero-emission mining solutions

Working together to rapidly innovate in support of carbon reduction targets, Komatsu has teamed up with several of its customers to form the Komatsu Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Alliance.

The founding members of the alliance are Rio Tinto, BHP, Codelco and Boliden.

Through the alliance framework, Komatsu’s GHG partners will work directly with Komatsu to actively collaborate on product planning, development, testing and deployment of the next generation of zero-emission mining equipment and infrastructure, the OEM said. The alliance’s initial target is advancing Komatsu’s power-agnostic truck concept for a haulage vehicle that can run on a variety of power sources including diesel-electric, electric, trolley (wired), battery power and even hydrogen fuel cells.

“We are honoured that our customers, several of the largest mining companies in the world, have agreed to participate in the Komatsu GHG Alliance and work in partnership with us to develop sustainable solutions for mining,” Masayuki Moriyama, President of Komatsu’s Mining Business Division, said. “We look forward to close collaboration with these industry leaders to accelerate development and deployment of the next level of equipment designed to reduce greenhouse gases from mining operations and ultimately achieve the goal of zero-emission mining.”

The formation of the alliance brings together mining leaders willing to share time, resources and information to deliver zero-emissions equipment solutions, Komatsu said. The company intends to expand the alliance to additional mining companies to enhance industry-wide collaboration on solutions to decarbonisation.

In a separate release, Rio Tinto said it will conduct a pre-production trial of the new equipment at a site and has the option to purchase some of the first trucks from Komatsu once they are commercially viable.

Alf Barrios, Rio Tinto’s Chief Commercial Officer, said: “Rio Tinto and Komatsu have a shared history of partnership on innovation going back to when we built the world’s largest Komatsu autonomous haulage fleet in 2008.

“Our support of a trial, and the option to buy some of the first trucks from Komatsu, underscores our shared commitment to actively collaborate on product planning, development, testing and deployment of the next generation of zero-emission mining equipment and infrastructure as we look to decarbonise our business.”

As a company, Komatsu, meanwhile, says it is committed to minimising environmental impact through its business, targeting a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions from use of its products and production of its equipment by 2030 (compared with 2010 levels) and a challenge target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

Komatsu has worked to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for customers through product development for decades in many areas including electric diesel dump trucks, electric power shovels, regenerative energy storage capabilities and fuel saver programs, it said.

The company’s initial concept for a haulage vehicle that can run on a variety of power sources, part of the power-agnostic development, is set to make its official debut at MINExpo 2021 on September 13-15 in Las Vegas, USA.

Monadelphous Group banks engineering work with BHP, Rio and Codelco

Monadelphous Group Ltd has secured several new construction and maintenance contracts in the resources sector totalling around A$215 million ($163 million).

Included within this slate of new work is a contract for smelter campaign maintenance works at the BHP owned Olympic Dam copper mine in South Australia. Monadelphous said work will commence immediately and is expected to be completed in December 2021.

Monadelphous has also been awarded a two-year extension to its existing maintenance services contract at Olympic Dam. The contract scope includes civil, structural, mechanical, building maintenance and electrical services, as well as the addition of underground rail maintenance services.

In the iron ore sector in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, Monadelphous has been awarded several contracts, including several sustaining capital contracts under its panel agreements with BHP and Rio Tinto; and a contract with Rio for the provision of construction and support services associated with the Gudai-Darri iron ore project, with work expected to be completed by the end of 2021.

In Chile, the company’s maintenance and construction services business, Buildtek, has secured a number of new contracts, including a three-year contract with Codelco for the operations and maintenance of water infrastructure at the Chuquicamata underground mine in Calama. Buildtek has been providing these services on this site since 2018.

In addition, the engineering company has secured two new contracts with Codelco for maintenance activities associated with the concentrator plant at El Teniente mine in Rancagua; and a contract with BHP Minera Escondida for the construction of modularised pump stations and associated infrastructure of the Escondida copper mine in Coloso.

Finally, Monadelphous, in collaboration with global heavy lifting services company Fagioli, has secured a contract with NMT International (Australia) to deliver specialist heavy lifting and haulage services at the Iron Bridge magnetite project, a joint venture between Fortescue Metals Group subsidiary FMG Magnetite Pty Ltd and Formosa Steel IB. The strategic collaboration with Fagioli enables Monadelphous’ specialist Heavy Lift business to increase capacity and broaden capability for the Australian resources and energy markets, it said.

Sandvik to automate new LHD fleet at Codelco’s El Teniente copper mine

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions says it will deliver its AutoMine® Fleet system to automate a new fleet of Sandvik LHDs running at Codelco’s Pacifico Superior and Pilar Norte GTI operations, part of the El Teniente underground mine in Chile.

This partnership, Sandvik says, supports Codelco’s vision to create one of the most sophisticated mines in the world.

AutoMine Fleet is a highly advanced automation system for a fleet of Sandvik underground loaders and trucks sharing the same automated production area. It provides automatic mission control and automatic traffic management for the equipment fleet, while system operators remotely supervise the process.

The system will enable Codelco to operate its new fleet of Sandvik LH517i 17 t and Sandvik LH621i 21 t loaders autonomously at the El Teniente mine, one of the world’s largest underground copper mines. The project implementation started in December and is expected to be completed by mid-2021.

Codelco’s objective is to dramatically increase the productivity, safety and efficiency of its operations with AutoMine, and this project is a continuation of Codelco’s 10-year strategic program to prolong the life of its existing mines, Sandvik says.

The two companies started their automation journey together at El Teniente with the first-ever AutoMine Loading system installation in 2004. The AutoMine system is already in operation at Diablo Regimiento and Panel 2, the other two blocks of the El Teniente mine.

Juan Mariscal, Senior Business Manager, Codelco, said: “Being able to use mining automation technology that is well proven, as well as working with a supplier that understands our needs and is capable of adapting to our operating philosophy, are key drivers for Codelco’s operations. That is why we have chosen our long-term partner Sandvik to go on this journey with us. Above all, Sandvik’s enhanced local presence and expertise will ensure successful implementation of these projects and strong support.”

Codelco is the number one copper producer in the world and is owned by the state of Chile. It controls about 19% of the world’s copper reserves and is also the second-biggest producer of molybdenum worldwide.

Riku Pulli, President, Rock Drills and Technologies Division, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, said: “We are proud to continue supporting Codelco on its automation and digitalisation journey at El Teniente mine, making its operations smarter, safer, more productive and sustainable through digitalisation.”

Codelco to extend life of Salvador Division with Rajo Inca copper project

The Codelco board has approved the development of the $1.383 billion Rajo Inca structural project, part of its Salvador Division in Chile’s Atacama.

The figure is 33% less than the investment contemplated by Codelco in 2014 thanks to the use and optimisation of existing infrastructure within the division, especially in the mine areas and the tailings deposit. Ongoing maintenance of the concentrator and hydrometallurgical plants has also helped bring down this figure.

The savings were also achieved through the planned reuse of mining equipment. When it enters operations, Rajo Inca will require 25-30 300-ton capacity trucks, hydraulic shovels and large tonnage front end loaders. Most of this equipment will come from other Codelco divisions, the company says.

The structural project includes a 22-month pre-stripping period and a seven-month ramp up of the concentrator plant. Commissioning will begin in the second half of 2022, with production reaching a annualised rate of 90,000 t/y of copper in the first half of 2023.

After the favourable Environmental Qualification Resolution obtained in February 2020 and the approval of the funds by the board of directors, the structural project will mean a rebirth for Salvador, as it will become a more modern, “technologised”, sustainable and productive operation, the company said. Its development will add 47 more years of life to this camp.

The Salvador Division has operated since 1959 with underground mining and three small open pits. With the latest investment, production will increase by 50% from 60,000 t/y to 95,000 t/y of fine copper.

Autonomous loading, hauling set to sparkle at Codelco’s Diamante

One of the three underground projects to make up the El Teniente New Mine Level development, in Chile, is set to use state-of-the-art autonomous technologies, Codelco’s Javier Cornejo told attendees at Massmin 2020 today.

In a presentation titled, ‘Design of drawpoint spacing at Diamante Project – El Teniente Mine’, Cornejo confirmed that the company planned to use 13 yd³ (9.9 m³) LHDs and 60 t haul trucks in autonomous mode at the copper project, with only assisted loading required on the LHDs.

The project, which will use conventional panel caving with hydraulic fracturing, is due to have a production capacity of 35,000 t/d, with each autonomous loader extracting 152 t/h to ore passes and each haul truck transporting 208 t/h to 420 t/h ore bins. From here, the ore will head to the processing plant via 830 t/h autonomous rail haulage.

Diamante’s development will involve 40 km of horizontal development in total, along with 2 km of vertical development. It also contemplates a new access tunnel to El Teniente. In more detail, Diamante will include the main undercut at level 2060, production level (LHD transport from 102 drawpoints to ore passes – in total 1.4 Mm³) at 2038, ventilation level at 2020, truck haulage level at 2000 (trucks to ore bins), feeding the main existing mine rail haulage FFCC T8 system at 1980 level via two crosscuts.

It is one of three underground projects that make up the El Teniente New Mine Level project. Diamante and the other two – Andesita and Andes Norte – will help access the deepest levels of the mine and extend operations by 50 years, according to Codelco.

In the company’s most recent September quarter report, Codelco said the El Teniente New Mine Level project was 62.6% advanced. Due to COVID-19, the project was halted on July 4, with work restarting on Andesita and Diamante in August.

Codelco’s Board of Directors recently approved $730 million and $513 million investments in Diamante and Andesita, respectively.

ABB, TAKRAF complete commissioning of Chuquicamata conveyor system

ABB, working with TAKRAF, has completed commissioning and testing of the world’s highest-powered gearless conveyor drive system at the Codelco-owned Chuquicamata copper mine in Chile.

ABB has provided engineering design, gearless conveyor drives (GCD), electrical equipment for power supply, energy distribution and automation of a new underground and overland conveyor system at one of the world’s largest copper mines.

Chuquicamata is currently transitioning from open-pit to underground mining, with the conveyor system, commissioned in just four months, part of a new underground project that is expected to extend operations for the next 40 years.

Project management and engineering for the full electrical, control and instrumentation scope was led by ABB in Germany, with long spells on site in northern Chile to work side-by-side with TAKRAF to equip the site’s new underground operation with a large conveying system that overcomes an altitude difference of 1,200 m and covers a distance of almost 13 km, ABB said.

The three principle 11,000 t/h conveyors feature GCDs equipped with large ABB AC synchronous motors with a rated power of 5 MW each, resulting in a motor shaft torque of about 900 kNm. With every line in constant use, high availability and low maintenance are essential. Designed with a minimum of transfer stations, just one was required underground, saving significant project cost, ABB said.

Based on continuous conveying technology, the infrastructure is completely truck-less, eliminating the need for 120 large haul trucks. This results in saving around 130 million litres/y of gasoline consumption, bringing the carbon emissions from 340,000 t/y down to 100,000 t/y. It is also the first transportation system in the world to employ premium steel cable belt technology, ST10000, for use on uphill tunnel conveyors, according to ABB.

ABB high power motors in position

“This mega project achieves a number of firsts, from the system’s installed drive power to the application of the ST10000 conveyor belt,” Marc Hollinger, TAKRAF Project Manager, said. “With this project, we firmly establish TAKRAF as one of the world’s only providers capable of delivering a mega project of this nature incorporating advanced technologies that push the boundaries of what has been done before. This is a complex project of the highest magnitude demanding global cooperation between internal and external parties.”

Ulf Richter, Global Product Manager for Belt Conveyor Systems at ABB, said: “This is a new milestone in underground applications for continuous mining. It is the highest drive power ever installed on a conveyor and uses a wide range of features for data acquisition, equipment assessment and process optimisation.

“In piloting this gearless drive application with TAKRAF, we have overcome tremendous technical and logistical challenges due to underground situations, elevation change and capacity requirements.”

ABB liquid-cooled MV voltage-source frequency converters, together with large synchronous motors, deliver a decrease in active and reactive power consumption at the operation. This is highly energy efficient, and without additional network filters, it says.

ABB’s Mining Conveyor Control Program ensures smooth belt operation and safe synchronisation between high power motors and high power hydraulic brakes, necessary for secure operation of steep uphill conveyors. The drive systems also work without mechanic backstops, ABB said.

A novel embedding concept, developed jointly by TAKRAF and ABB, enables straightforward installation and alignment of the GCD motors, saving installation time and longer deployment of maintenance teams. This was considered a major benefit compared with existing GCDs in cantilevered construction, ABB said. The concept also meant motors were 100% factory assembled and tested. They can also be mechanically disconnected from the drive pulley quickly so operations can continue if drive failure occurs. The total installed drive power for the entire system, including multiple feeder conveyors, totals 58 MW, of which there are 11 x 5 MW gearless synchronous motors.

ABB has also installed ABB Ability™ Ventilation Optimizer at Chuquicamata reducing carbon emissions and providing clean air to workers in line with the strict health, safety and environment requirements.

Tailings, waste management automation solutions up next for RCT in South America

Having made a name for itself in South America innovating on projects for Codelco, Antofagasta Minerals, Anglo American, BHP, and many others, RCT says it is now delivering solutions for miners in the region in tailings and waste management situations.

The Australia-based company is working with various customers in the region to safeguard their operations in this field with the ControlMaster® range of automation and control solutions, it said.

RCT’s experience in South America dates back two decades.

It all began with the company’s foundation solution, Muirhead® protection systems. These were requested by a client wanting to get more longevity from their bulldozers and loaders which were machine re-builds, according to the company.

Since this initial project, the company has helped deliver fit-for-purpose solutions, encompassing all its brands, to big name clients.

“The South American mining region, in general, is well-known for its copper and gold mines, all of which are located in areas exposed to extreme weather conditions (the heat and the cold) in addition to some being positioned in high altitude locations, making for some precarious working conditions for miners,” RCT said.

“Therefore, RCT’s premier automation and control solutions – ControlMaster have and continue to be in demand in both surface and underground mining operations in the region. While RCT’s Line-of-Sight and Teleremote options dominate the surface mining market, the full automation range is in strong demand for underground mining operations.”

This journey for these solutions began in the early 2000s after RCT completed an audit for ControlMaster Line-of-Sight controllers at BHP’s Escondida mine, in Chile. The company wanted a proven solution to safeguard bulldozer operators manning the run of mine pad feeders and crushers. RCT was able to retrofit the mobile machines with the technology that removed the operators from the cab of the machine and allowed them to operate it from a safe location – ultimately solving the issue for the client, the company said.

By 2008, RCT collaborated with Hexagon Mining to engineer and deliver a bespoke solution to Codelco’s Andina mine that allowed the miner to operate safer and for longer in the lead up to the winter shut down, reducing the number of days they had to stop work. This R&D project saw the delivery of a ControlMaster Teleremote solution, paired with a Muirhead Speed Limiter and combined with Hexagon Mining’s MineOps Geofencing systems installed on a Komatsu WD600 wheel dozer.

It was RCT’s project at Codelco’s El Teniente in 2018 that cemented its reputation in the region, the company says.

RCT’s ControlMaster Automation solution helped El Teniente successfully and safely mine ore-rich mud in what, it says, is believed to be a world-first mining method in these conditions. This feat was facilitated by RCT’s specialised department, RCT Custom, which delivered the bespoke solution to minimise the risk involved in mining in these conditions.

This project required RCT to retrofit its ControlMaster solutions that were previously installed on Codelco’s mobile machines operating at its Andina surface mine site before integrating the refurbished equipment, installing them on working production loaders (Sandvik LH517s) into the existing mine network.

“The solution removed the operator from the cab of the loader and allowed them to control the machine from the comfort and safety of an Automation Station located in an underground control room of the mine,” RCT said. “RCT’s solution allowed El Teniente to recover mud ore reserves that were previously deemed too dangerous to access due to the mud flow into these areas. In addition to this, the loaders were able to tram faster, avoid walls and obstacles after being automated, which significantly increased productivity and reduced machined damage and unplanned downtime.”

RCT’s Commercial Executive, Phil Goode, said it was this project that earned RCT a strong technical reputation.

This project was also monumental for the company as it further reiterated the need for RCT to have more of a local presence and compelled the company to open an office in Santiago, Chile, last year. The team, comprised of five multilingual staff, are working hard to support our existing and new clients in the region.

“Having a team working locally helps RCT to better function in Chile and other South American, Spanish speaking countries,” Goode said. “Technically we have always been very good, but the office allows us to understand the business culture and provide that next level of support to our clients.

“Most importantly, it allows us to provide the first rate level of customer service and after sales support we have built a solid reputation on delivering to all of our clients around the world.”

Currently RCT’s solutions are being delivered in tailings and waste management situations with the company working with various customers in the region to safeguard their operations in this field with the ControlMaster range of solutions, RCT said.

Epiroc to supply equipment, services for Codelco’s Chuquicamata underground mine

Epiroc is to deliver underground loaders, face drill rigs, rock bolting rigs and mine trucks to the Chuquicamata underground mine in northern Chile following an order from Codelco.

The large equipment order, which comes on top of the signing of a large contract for services at Codelco’s Andina mine and a large order for equipment used at its El Teniente mine, also includes several years of technical support and training. The order is valued at more than $20 million and was booked in April 2020.

Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer, opened the Chuquicamata underground mine in 2019 as it looked to transition the world’s largest open-pit mine into a technologically advanced underground operation. The transformation will extend the mine life by 40 years, according to Codelco.

Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s President and CEO, said the company was proud to be a key partner of Codelco “as it significantly extends the life of the Chuquicamata mine in the most productive, efficient and safe manner possible”.

Juan Mariscal, Sourcing Category Manager at Codelco, says: “Epiroc was chosen because it complied with all the technical, safety and performance requirements that Codelco demanded for the Chuquicamata Underground Mine project, while being the supplier that provided the best economic proposal for all its equipment as a whole.”

The order includes multiple units of the Scooptram ST1030 and ST18 loader, the Boomer S2 face drilling rig, the Boltec M bolting machine, and the Minetruck MT65 (pictured), the highest payload capacity underground truck in the world.

The machines will be equipped with 6th Sense solutions for automation, connectivity and information management, Epiroc says. The solutions include Epiroc’s Rig Control System, RCS, which makes the equipment ready for automation and remote control, and Epiroc’s Certiq system, which allows for intelligent monitoring of machine performance and productivity in real-time.

Delivery of the equipment will take place later this year.

Codelco to suspend work on Chuqui Underground in response to COVID-19

Codelco says it will temporarily suspend some of its projects as part of its measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

This will affect construction on the Chuquicamata Underground Mine project, which was previously expected to produce 320,000 t/y of fine copper by around 2026; the early works of Rajo Inca, a 70,000 t/y copper concentrate project; and the assembly works of Traspaso Andina, which will see a new transfer system installed at the Andina division.

The decision will strengthen the health security of the divisions since the number of workers on site will be reduced to a minimum, and air and land transfers will be also be scaled back. Codelco said many of its project workers come from different regions of the country, hence the reason to reduce transfers.

The suspension will be carried out gradually, starting March 25, and will last 15 days, Codelco said. In all affected projects, limited staff will be retained to safeguard the security of the facilities and equipment.

Codelco said the measures will have no impact on production of the respective divisions – which continue to operate with increased safeguards – but will see the number of workers circulating decrease.

It added that it will continue to evaluate the implementation of new measures that protect the health of all workers while also maintaining operational continuity.