FAM, a member of the BEUMER Group, is helping Anglo American keep copper ore moving continuously at the Quellaveco mine in Peru, with a closed-loop ship loading system.
One of the world’s largest and best-known deposits with estimated reserves of 1,100 Mt of copper ore, Quellaveco is located near the port city of Ilo – just under 37 km northeast of Moquegua in southern Peru.
Jointly developed by Anglo American and Mitsubishi Corporation, the goal is to mine 1.1 Mt/y of copper. The mine hit commercial production in September last year.
To ship this amount of raw material to target countries, Peru is investing heavily in the country’s infrastructure – for example, in a new port terminal located just under 20 km south of the city of Ilo, BEUMER Group says. The terminal is operated by the energy company, ENGIE. In search of a suitable partner to supply the ship loading system, the project managers selected FAM Minerals & Mining GmbH, a Germany-based manufacturer of conveyor systems. Since the summer of 2022, FAM has been wholly owned by the BEUMER Group, headquartered in Beckum, Germany.
The Quellaveco open-pit mine relies on a high level of automation to protect workers and minimise dust pollution. The copper ore is transported via a conveyor belt to the truck loading station. Sensors signal when a truck arrives for transport. The gate opens automatically and closes again behind the truck. An extraction system is activated to prevent dust from escaping during loading. Once the raw material has been loaded and hermetically sealed on the truck, the gate opens again. Now the truck continues to a tyre wash facility. “The facility is automatically activated via sensors – until the tyres are 100% clean,” Martín Cabrera, Port Project Manager at Anglo American, said.
No dust formation is to be expected when the copper ore is received, stored and shipped. To be on the safe side, however, the plant operator has installed systems that can capture the particles. “These efficient systems work similarly to large vacuum cleaners,” Karen Huaraca, Anglo American’s Environmental Officer, explains. “They filter the dust and then release the clean air into the environment.”
All the information collected by the sensors is sent to the operations centre in real time, enabling the plant to be controlled automatically. This facility is about 90 km from Quellaveco.
The trucks transport the raw materials to the port. There, the copper ore is stored in a warehouse, which has a capacity of more than 80,000 t. A conveyor system conveys the material from the mainland and transfers it to the new SL1320.51/30 ship loader. The loader has a swivelling superstructure. At the end of the boom is the loading device with a belt conveyor. The material slides down a telescopic tube into the cargo hold. This means there are no major environmental emissions during loading. The telescopic tube can be swivelled hydraulically to reach every corner of the cargo hold. The ship loader has a conveying capacity of around 1,320 t/h.
FAM successfully commissioned the system at the end of 2022. The supplier also handled the installation of all the mechanical components, as well as the electrical and control engineering, project planning, production, transportation and consulting.
FAM Project Leader, Alexander Kammerer, said: “This project was challenging in many ways. We had to deal with both high seismic loads and COVID-19 pandemic delays. But thanks to the support of our colleagues from FAM América Latina Maquinarias Limitada in Chile, we succeeded in implementing the project within the given parameters.”