Tag Archives: R1700

Dargues gold mine on the road to production: DRA Global

DRA Global says it is in the final stages of the implementation of the engineering procurement and construction (EPC) of the gold concentrate plant for Diversified Minerals’ Dargues gold project, in New South Wales, Australia.

The engineering company was awarded the EPC contract back in January 2019 after detailed design for the project commenced in March 2018. At this point, first ore was expected to be processed in early 2020.

As of March 2020, the plant construction and wet commissioning has been completed, DRA said. Hot commissioning is planned to take place soon and expected to be completed in early April. After this, the DRA team will hand over the 330,000 t/y plant to the client’s operations team, it said.

Dargues, owned by Diversified Minerals, an associated company of PYBAR Mining Services, was previously expected to have a 355,000 t/y capacity gold processing facility comprising crushing, milling, flotation and filtration circuits to produce a sulphide concentrate for export. This could see Dargues produce an average of 50,000 oz/y of gold in the first six years of production.

The mine, which will be operated by PYBAR, is also set to incorporate tele-remote loading. In December, Diversified Minerals took delivery of a second new Cat R1700 underground LHD following commissioning of the first loader during August.

The new machines are equipped with Caterpillar’s next generation Command for Underground technology, giving them automation capabilities that will allow them to be driven via tele-remote from the surface from early-2020. This will realise significant productivity, efficiency and safety gains, according to PYBAR.

Members of the Austmine Board were recently invited to a tour of the Dargues gold mine (pictured).

Caterpillar, Barloworld to talk up mining equipment and power solutions at Indaba

Caterpillar and its southern Africa dealer, Barloworld Equipment, are set to present a broad range of machines, technology and support services at next week’s Mining Indaba, in Cape Town, South Africa.

The Caterpillar exhibit at Indaba, running from February 3-6, will feature digital displays of electric power generation systems, surface and underground mining equipment, and Cat MineStar™ technology capabilities – ranging from vehicle safety systems, such as operator fatigue monitoring, to production systems using teleremote, semi-autonomous and autonomous machine operation.

Caterpillar has recently introduced several new underground hard-rock mining vehicles in Africa. The new R1700 underground LHD brings the latest technology for semi-autonomous and fully autonomous operation to the region. The loader also delivers more than 30% greater fuel efficiency, 65% more lift and tilt force, and 15 t capacity – 20% more than its predecessor, yet in the same dimensional envelope, according to Cat.

Using MineStar Command for underground, the new R1700 (pictured) can be operated from a remote location to keep miners away from potential hazards, Cat says. “The system also boosts utilisation by allowing immediate entry after blasting and by reducing shift change time to nearly zero.”

In addition to the R1700, Caterpillar has introduced several LHDs and underground trucks equipped with EU Stage V engines and emission controls. “Reducing emissions helps miners improve the underground working environment,” it said. On top of this, and with the goal of zero underground emissions in mind, Caterpillar is continuing to develop the battery-powered R1700 XE.

Erik Elsmark, Region Manager for the Caterpillar Underground Mining Division, said: “Caterpillar and Cat dealers are supporting the whole African continent and all types of underground mining applications – big and small mines and all minerals.

“In the past several months we have delivered machines covering our full product range, demonstrating that we are well positioned to meet our customers’ needs.

“Starting with our AD22 underground articulated truck to our R2900 LHD, our equipment delivers exactly the size class and power needed for the application. With distribution centres in Southern Africa and Middle East and our dealer network in all countries of the African continent, we are able to achieve world-class service.”

The extensive line of Cat surface mining machines and technologies will also be a talking point at the event.

Caterpillar has recently expanded its line of electric drive mining trucks in the past year to include the 794 AC, 796 AC and 798 AC. Recently, a South Africa mining operation took delivery of several 794 AC trucks (pictured above), which have 291 t capacity, the company said. “This model has already proven its high productivity and superior speed on grade in a wide variety of applications,” Cat remarked.

In the Cat drill line, the latest model is the MD6200 rotary blasthole drill, designed as a production drill with the flexibility to do pre-split drilling – all in a package that Caterpillar says is its most transportable rotary drill yet. The MD6200 is designed to perform rotary or DTH drilling in single-pass or multi-pass modes and can drill holes of 127 to 200 mm in diameter, according to Cat.

Cat MineStar Command now includes systems for autonomous operation of mining trucks, semi-autonomous operation of dozers, and semi-autonomous as well as autonomous rotary drills. These systems enhance safety, boost production and lower cost per tonne, Cat says.

Mine power experts will also be on call at the show, with the representatives keen to talk about the ability for Cat generators to deliver reliable, continuous power, temporary power, or a combined heat and power solution. “The Cat team customises and installs systems for every phase of mining,” it said.

Caterpillar says it offers the industry’s widest range of diesel, gas and dual fuel generator sets; automatic transfer switches, and switchgear for seamless integration. Additionally, it offers microgrids, fully-integrated power systems that utilise solar panels, energy storage and monitoring and control systems in conjunction with any configuration of Cat gen sets.

PYBAR takes Command of Dargues automation with new Cat R1700 LHDs

PYBAR has taken a step closer to advanced underground automation at the Dargues gold mine in New South Wales, Australia, with the arrival of a second new Cat® R1700 underground LHD at the Diversified Minerals-owned site.

The new loader visited the PYBAR head office in Orange, en-route to the mine site, where it was met by executives and senior management from PYBAR and WesTrac.

The first of two new R1700s purchased for Dargues from WesTrac was commissioned at the mine during August and the company, in November, announced that the underground loaders were undergoing staged testing that will see them move towards improved automation in early 2020.

Dargues is owned by Diversified Minerals, an associated company of PYBAR Mining Services. The mine is expected to have a 355,000 t/y capacity gold processing facility comprising crushing, milling, flotation and filtration circuits and produce a sulphide concentrate for export. This could see Dargues produce an average of 50,000 oz/y of gold in the first six years of production.

The new machines are equipped with Caterpillar’s next generation Command for underground technology, giving them automation capabilities that will allow them to be driven via tele-remote from the surface from early-2020. This will realise significant productivity, efficiency and safety gains, according to PYBAR.

Command is part of the Cat Minestar™ integrated suite of offerings designed specifically for mining, PYBAR said.

PYBAR Chief Technology Officer, Andrew Rouse, said: “With the second loader now on site we will complete the tele-remoting set up in time for stoping early next year.

“Our intention is to be able to tele-remote from the surface from the outset when both loaders go into full operation. It’s a milestone all three teams (Caterpillar, PYBAR and WesTrac) have been working towards and will deliver.”

The new loaders were purchased after trials at the Vivien gold mine in Western Australia during 2017, PYBAR said. These trials delivered impressive results, including quicker bucket loading, faster cycle times, greater payloads and less fuel burn, according to PYBAR.

PYBAR said: “These benefits were further highlighted when the Cat R1700 was tested against the R1700G at Vivien (owned by Ramelius Resources) in June 2018, prompting PYBAR to place the order for the new loaders.”

Rouse added: “We were extremely impressed with performance of the new loader during testing. With the knowledge gained from the activity at Vivien, we were able to carry out a rigorous analysis around the loader combinations required for the Dargues operation with the R1700 proving to be the most cost effective.”

Since the first new loader has been put into operation, PYBAR has been preparing for advanced automation through the use of the traction control and Autodig features on the new machines, it said. The feedback has been very positive with full buckets consistently being achieved, the company added.

“The Command technology enables remote operation from the surface or underground, providing productivity and efficiency gains, improved safety of personnel, more accurate tunnel navigation, and reduced machine damage,” PYBAR said.

Caterpillar’s Commercial Manager for Underground Technology, Randy Schoepke, said PYBAR has long seen the value of being on the “leading edge of technology” as a contractor and an owner miner.

“The new Cat R1700 loader will be a huge complement to their technology portfolio leveraging the most advanced features in the industry,” he said.

“The R1700 features of traction control, live payload, Autodig, and ride control will not only provide operator comfort and productivity but also be leveraged by Caterpillar’s latest generation of Command for Underground, Caterpillar’s remote and autonomous control system.”

Schoepke concluded: “When there is a requirement to remove the operator from the underground environment, the technology allows safety and utilisation to be taken to the next level. We look forward to our continued work with PYBAR on this project.”

WesTrac General Manager of Mining Sales, Jody Scott, said this development was the culmination of more than two years work with PYBAR to “identify and test the technology that will have the most impact and benefits for them and their clients”.

He added: “Extensive testing has enabled us to fully evaluate the challenges posed by the harsh underground environments in which the machines are required to operate. It has also allowed us to set up the machines to get the most out of their automation and tele-remote capabilities.”

PYBAR to trial autonomous loading at Dargues underground gold mine

PYBAR Mining Services says it is applying new technology to several automation projects it is currently working on, including Diversified Minerals’ Dargues underground gold asset and the Heron Resources-owned Woodlawn zinc-copper operation, both of which are in New South Wales, Australia.

Chief Technology Officer, Andrew Rouse, says the company’s approach has always been to get the basics right using traditional means and then adding technology to enhance its capabilities. “This guiding principle is being applied to several current automation projects,” he said.

New Cat R1700 underground loaders being deployed at the Dargues gold mine are undergoing staged testing that will result in them moving towards improved automation in early 2020, according to PYBAR.

Dargues is owned by Diversified Minerals, an associated company of PYBAR Mining Services. The mine is expected to have a 355,000 t/y capacity gold processing facility comprising crushing, milling, flotation and filtration circuits and produce a sulphide concentrate for export. Dargues is expected to produce an average of 50,000 oz/y of gold in the first six years of production.

Testing of the LHDs has featured the use of Cat’s next generation MXZ technology, which includes traction control and Autodig, where the machine digs the load instead of the operator, PYBAR said. “Both technologies have made an impact with full buckets consistently being achieved,” the company added.

The next step in the process will involve setting up tele-remote operation from the surface in time for stoping in early 2020, according to the contractor.

PYBAR was part of the team at Ramelius Resources’ Vivien gold mine in Western Australia where the first global underground trial of the Cat R1700 loader took place in October 2017. This followed a global launch of the machine at MINExpo 2016.

Another project has seen PYBAR collaborate with Emesent to test automated drones at the Dargues and Woodlawn operations.

LiDAR and SLAM (Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping) technology is used to track the drones underground and keep them away from obstacles, according to PYBAR, with the trials having delivered some favourable outcomes; among them the swift processing of information gathered by the drones.

“The technology has great potential and PYBAR is investigating how best it can be applied to our business,” it said.

Cat’s R1700 LHD the first to get battery-electric treatment

Following the development of a proof-of-concept battery-electric LHD in 2017, Caterpillar has confirmed at the Bauma fair that its first environmentally-friendly commercial machine will be a version of the recently released R1700 loader, the R1700 XE. The company hasn’t yet given a release date but has said the 15 t LHD will be the first in its line of battery-electric equipment. Robert Droogleever, Cat’s General Manager, Underground, said the company was targeting deep mines in Canada with the battery-electric R1700, but he also saw demand for the machine coming from countries such as Peru and Australia. The testing on the proof-of-concept R1300 took place at a Glencore underground mine in Sudbury, Canada, with the machine running in trials alongside the diesel equivalent.

Cat believes that battery-powered LHDs have the potential to significantly impact the economics of underground-mining and the viability of opening new mines. Benefits can include reducing ventilation infrastructure requirements and costs; generating less heat and dust that must be removed with additional air conditioning; and lowering the overall operating costs of the mine. “For a battery electric driven LHD to realise these types of benefits, it must balance high production capability with extended run times between battery charges. To this end, Caterpillar has chosen to make the new R1700 its first battery electric platform while using fast, onboard charging to facilitate high production levels. The new Cat® R1700 XE will be well positioned and engineered to accomplish these critical design parameters.”

The Cat R1700 was introduced in 2018 as a ground up redesign providing customers with game-changing productivity improvements. These improvements primarily come from its efficient new electro-hydraulic system, which saves fuel and provides a 65% increase in lift force – leading to significantly improved digging performance in the pile. “The R1700 XE combines these new features with a Caterpillar-developed lithium-ion battery operating and charging system. “The company’s exclusive MEC-500 fast charging system allows rapid, on-board battery charging with little to no impact to existing electrical infrastructure. Our charging system eliminates both battery handling during recharging (with its potential safety hazards) and the necessity to maintain change-out battery inventories.”

In designing the R1700 XE, Caterpillar “is relying on a long history and wealth of experience in designing electrified machines and power generation components and solutions. These include over 350 patents spread across such products as the electric-drive D7E and D6 XE crawler dozers, 988K XE wheel loader, and 794 AC and 795F AC mining trucks. The R1700 XE program also uses components from the Cat Microgrid solution. For underground mining specifically, this electrification experience was backed up by the development of a proof-of-concept machine whereby Caterpillar converted a conventional mechanical Cat LHD into a battery-electric platform. Concurrent to this program was the testing of the new MEC 500 charging system – both of which saw substantial testing at Caterpillar’s Peoria Proving Grounds followed by weeks of operation and testing at a customer mine in Canada.”

Results were impressive, says Cat. “Compared with base-line numbers for a diesel-powered R1300, the battery-powered model exhibited more than a 10-fold decrease in total energy costs; nearly an 8-fold decrease in generated heat; significantly less noise at the operator’s ear; instant torque from the electric motors; reduced dust levels attributed to not having a conventional diesel-related radiator fan; and reduced tyre wear.”

Caterpillar has used the insight gained from its proof-of-concept testing to design the R1700 XE and the MEC 500 charging system as a safe, profitable and productive option for mines going to electric fleets.

 

Caterpillar’s R1700 underground LHD starts to prove its worth

Caterpillar’s recently launched Cat® R1700 Underground Mining Loader has proven its high productivity and efficiency in extended field trials and in-production studies, the company says.

The completely new design R1700 carries a size-class-leading payload of 15 t, 20% more than its predecessor, yet maintains the dimensions of the R1700G.

“A recent head-to-head study and multiple field trials show that the machine surpasses its payload advantage in faster truck loading and more productive load-and-carry operations while delivering 21% less fuel consumption per hour in a recent study,” Cat says.

The R1700 comes with cycle time advantages over its predecessor through fast bucket loading. This has been enabled through high digging forces and a new traction control system that limits tyre slip when the bucket enters the pile.

“The result is fast loading, good bucket fill factors and reduced tyre wear. Excellent machine balance and a new electrohydraulic braking system aid load-and-carry cycles,” Cat says.

Fuel efficiency is improved through on-demand adjustment of the cooling fan and the hydraulic system, as well as the proven efficiency of the Cat C13, six-cylinder engine, according to the company. The engine is turbocharged and air-to-air aftercooled, and it produces 269 kW in standard configuration and 257 kW in EU Stage V compliant form.

The engine is available in three different emissions configurations – Cat Ventilation Reduction, US EPA Tier/EU Stage IIIA, and EU Stage V – tailoring the R1700 to the mine’s ventilation needs. Aftertreatment for the Stage V engine configuration is chassis mounted for convenience and includes a Diesel Emission Fluid tank sized to match the 12-hour capacity of the fuel tank.

The R1700’s productivity is boosted even further with multiple subsystems for fast technology implementation.

“Optional Autodig helps new operators be productive the first day and reduces fatigue for experienced teams. Remote machine health monitoring, payload operating technologies are available via MineStar™ Command for underground,” the company says.

During the load or dump cycle, the harder the operator pushes the controls, the faster the machine responds. The steering system is pilot-controlled to provide a more precise feel for the operator during manoeuvres in tight places.

“Ride control is now fully integrated into the hydraulic system and engages automatically as the machine goes above 5 km/h. Electronically snubbing the cylinders protects them and provides greater operator comfort,” Cat says.

The R1700 has auto retarding which is hydraulically actuated. The system comes on automatically when the operator’s foot is lifted from the throttle, with cycle times improving as operators gain confidence and become more comfortable on downhill grades at faster speeds.

For easier maintenance, the R1700 features several components that have modular designs – they can easily be removed and replaced.

In addition to modular components, all filter and key service points have been grouped into a centralised section on the cold side of the engine. The radiator guard swings open for ground-level access to the radiator, and oil coolers and the batteries are easily accessed just under the centralised service location.

For the entire underground loader line, Caterpillar now offers Bolt On Half Arrow ground engaging tools (GET) for bucket edges. The system is designed for high abrasion applications where weld-on GET experience high wear rates.

“With a proven and reliable retention system, the bolt-on GET offer more wear material than standard weld-on GET, and the bolt-on design enables fast and easy removal and replacement.

“Despite additional wear material, the low-profile front edge eases pile penetration and promotes fast bucket loading,” Cat says.