Tag Archives: LH621

RCT brings automation to MATSA underground operations in Spain

RCT says it has finalised a major automation project at MATSA’s Aguas Teñidas and Magdalena mines in the Huelva province of Spain.

The project involved installing ControlMaster® Guidance Automation on four CAT R2900G underground LHDs and one Automation Centre Surface Control Station at MATSA’s Aguas Teñidas copper-lead-zinc mine.

MATSA is a jointly-owned company by Mubadala Investment Co and Trafigura. It owns and operates three mines in the Huelva, including Aguas Teñidas, Magdalena and Sotiel, on top of a 4.4 Mt/y copper and polymetallic processing plant.

RCT’s automation centre at Aguas Teñidas is fitted out with RCT’s Multiple Machine Control feature enabling a single operator to remotely control multiple machines at the same time via the mine’s digital communications network.

RCT also commissioned two Sandvik LH621 underground LHDs with ControlMaster Guidance Automation at the nearby Magdalena copper mine. These Sandvik LHDs can operate on a digital network via RCT’s Area Access Cabinets which act as an extension of the automation centre and interfaces between the work areas and the machines.

This instalment builds on a previous project to mount ControlMaster Teleremote and Guidance Automation solutions on three of the site’s CAT R2900G LHDs, which operated on an analogue network via two surface control stations, according to RCT.

Guidance Automation allows machines to tram between two predetermined points on a mine site with the push of a button by operators who also receive real-time information including machine speed, rpm, direction, pitch and roll, RCT said.

“The automation centre consists of an ergonomically designed operators chair facing up from screens, which feed real-time information from sensors and machine-mounted cameras to the operator,” the company added. Teleremote, meanwhile, enables the operator to remotely manage the machine from a control station in real time.

A MATSA spokesperson said: “This system not only allows us to operate in hazardous conditions safely from the surface, but also increases productivity by permitting us to operate during shift change and smoke clearing. We also have the capability to simultaneously operate more than one piece of equipment with the same teleremote operator.”

RCT Account Manager, Shane Smith, said the Guidance Automation products would provide solid benefits for MATSA. “ControlMaster Guidance Automation has a proven track record of improving operator safety in a traditionally hazardous working environment by removing them from the mine face,” he said.

“The faster tramming speeds will also help to boost site productivity on site and limit unplanned machine downtime due to repairs from machinery accidents while the new automation centre will reduce operator fatigue due to improved comfort and ease-of-access on the mine’s surface.”

Sandvik to automate and digitalise Codelco’s Chuquicamata underground mine

Sandvik says it will automate and digitalise Codelco’s underground copper operation at Chuquicamata, in Chile, creating one of the “most efficient and advanced underground mines in the world”.

Sandvik’s AutoMine® and OptiMine® solutions will allow Codelco to operate its new fleet of Sandvik LH621 loaders in fully autonomous mode, the mining equipment maker said.

Codelco is converting Chuquicamata from an open pit to underground mine as part of a 10-year strategic project to prolong its existing operations. It is due to start up in 2019.

Sandvik said: “The open system integrates manual operations and autonomous equipment into one powerful solution with AutoMine and OptiMine, enabling full transparency and real-time control over the parallel production and mine development activities.”

Andrés Avendaño, Operations Manager, Chuquicamata Underground, said: “Using our mines to full effect is part of our focus on sustainability and a key driver for our business. Automation and optimisation are critical to getting the most from our mines and keeping our people safe while we do it.”

Sandvik and Codelco started their automation journeys together with the first-ever AutoMine loading system installation at Codelco’s El Teniente copper mine, in 2004, Sandvik said.

Riku Pulli, Vice President, Automation, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, said: “Codelco has been an important partner for us from the beginning. It’s fantastic to continue the partnership as our visions are well aligned. We look forward to working with Codelco to deliver even smarter, safer, more productive mining through digitalisation.”

Codelco is the number one copper producer in the world and is owned by the Chile government. It controls about 19% of the world’s copper reserves and is also the second producer of molybdenum worldwide, with 24,000 t produced in 2018.

Sandvik’s digital solutions, including AutoMine, OptiMine and “My Sandvik” are working in hundreds of mines around the world.

The AutoMine product family allows customers to scale up automation at their own pace, covering all aspects of automation, from remote and autonomous operation of a single piece of equipment to multi-machine control and full-fleet automation using automatic mission and traffic control capabilities. AutoMine installations have logged more than 2.5 million hours with zero lost time injuries, according to the company.

OptiMine, meanwhile, is a suite of digital tools for analysing and optimising mining production and processes. It integrates all relevant data into one source, delivering both real-time and predictive insights to improve operations, Sandvik said. OptiMine is open and scalable, giving customers the flexibility to build at their own speed and incorporate other equipment, systems and networks.