Copper ore conveyor system by ABB

ABB is to supply one of the world’s most powerful and complex automated conveyor belt systems for the Chuquicamata Copper Mine in Chile. The belt system will operate at highest levels of availability and efficiency, to deliver copper ore from the underground mine directly to the concentrator plant, which is located 13 km from the mine site.

The final conveyor system will be one of the world’s largest, covering both steep gradients and long distances, with conveyor flights using up to 20 MW of power, and 55 MW used in the total system – the amount of energy typically needed to power 41,000 homes. In the final stage the system will transport over 11,000 tons of material per hour, the same amount that would fill around 158 freight wagon trains.

Conveyor+belt_lores

A conveyor belt similar to this will be used at the Chiqui mine

Major capacity expansion

The order won by ABB is for a complete power and automation solution: the project includes gearless drives, motors, instrumentation and power product supply. The equipment will be custom engineered to on-site requirements, in order to optimally power, control, measure and actuate the conveyor system. The belt power and automation will be fully integrated through the flagship ABB control system, 800xA, combined with the ABB Mining Conveyor Control Program, to ensure optimum power quality and control across the entire system.

Chuquicamata is one of the largest open pit copper mines, and the second deepest open-pit mine in the world: it is located 1,650km north of Santiago, Chile. Popularly known as ‘Chuqui’, the mine has been operating since 1910. It is owned and operated by Codelco, the world’s leading copper producer. A new underground mine is being developed at Chuquicamata to access the ore body situated beneath the present open pit mine. The new mine is scheduled to begin operations in 2019, and will significantly expand the output from the area.

“With mineral deposits becoming increasingly complex and more remote, our power and automation solutions can help customers become more efficient and optimize their operations enabling them to increase efficiency with less maintenance costs” said Roger Bailey, Head of the ABB Process Industries business. “We are delighted to support Codelco in their aim to be the leading copper supplier across the world.”

The gearless drive is key

A key feature of the solution to be provided by ABB is the gearless conveyor drive system. This is a state of the art solution that will meet the extremely high load requirements and the necessary power availability at the site: this would not have been achievable with a conventional drive solution.

This gearless conveyor drive system eliminates the gearbox from the motor, thus significantly reducing the number of main wear parts, resulting in less maintenance and ensuring a longer lifespan of the system. Another advantage is a considerable reduction in the drive system footprint and the amount of instrumentation required.

Advertisements

GE to sell Sharewell MWD systems worldwide

GE Oil & Gas and Sharewell Energy Services, a Houston-based supplier of directional drilling solutions for the oil and gas industry, have signed an agreement that gives GE exclusive worldwide rights to sell Sharewell’s proprietary electromagnetic telemetry (EM) technology. The agreement was announced at the GE Oil & Gas Annual Meeting in Florence, which draws industry leaders from around the world.

GE will sell Sharewell’s Electro-Trac EM Measurement While Drilling (MWD) technology as part of GE’s MWD portfolio, enabling customers to expand their businesses into areas where EM MWD is applicable and to improve operating efficiencies by offering telemetry rates six times greater than conventional mud pulse based MWD systems.

“The new partnership moves Sharewell’s advanced EM MWD telemetry technology to the next level by combining GE’s global support network and best-in-class downhole sensing technology to offer customers a more complete solution in key global markets,” said James Junker, general manager of GE’s Downhole Technology business. “The agreement allows GE to offer an industry-leading compatible product to the large installed GE customer base and to attract new customers to GE MWD systems.”

The Electro-Trac EM system includes a rugged downhole assembly consisting of a gap-sub antenna package, an electronic assembly and a battery package. The system contains no moving parts, enhancing operations. The surface system includes a power amplifier for two-way communication with the EM tool. The technology is particularly suited for drilling applications where mud-pulse technology is problematic, such as underbalanced drilling.

Basic research for the development of the data fusion technology was done under a cooperative grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, as part of the “Deep Trek” initiative. The goal of that program was to develop technologies that lower the cost and improve the efficiency of drilling and completing deep wells. Sharewell’s data fusion system has completed nearly 700 commercial wells to depths of more than 15,300 feet.

Iron ore mining without trucks

ABB has won orders totaling $140 million from Vale S.A. to supply automation and electrical equipment for the world’s largest iron ore project investment, which comprises in the development of a mine and a processing plant located in Brazil. 

Located in the Amazon region in northern Brazil, the Carajás Serra Sul S11D project, comprising the mine and processing plant, represents an $8 billion total investment. The project is expected to be delivered in the second half of 2016 and Vale is expecting the issuance of the project’s implementation license in the first half of 2013.

The project will use shiftable conveyor belts instead of off-highway trucks to transport the iron ore from the mine to the processing plant. This is the first time a “truckless” solution will be used on a large scale at an iron ore mine. Truckless systems significantly reduce operating costs and produce lower carbon emissions. If the S11D mine were to be operated using trucks, it would need around 100 off-highway trucks and consume 77% more diesel per year.

For comparison, Vale’s Northern system, located in Carajás, produced 110 million tons in 2011; S11D will have an estimated nominal capacity of 90 million tons per year after the ramp up phase is concluded.

Increased development of mineral resources and mining technologies across the globe represent a key global mega-trend that is an important focus area for ABB’s long-term growth. This project profits from ABB’s deep understanding of advanced solutions for the mining industry.

“This unprecedented project will use the latest ABB automation technologies to truly create the mine of the future, a benchmark in terms of productivity, safety and sustainability,” said Veli-Matti Reinikkala, head of ABB’s Process Automation division. “The project will allow Vale to increase production by approximately 90 million tons, while substantially reducing emissions and improving operational efficiency and process safety.”

ABB will provide the automation and electrification to transport the ore into the processing plant, and will completely automate all plant processes. The order includes a centralized 800xA control system for processing operations, so that personnel can be located away from the site, for improved safety and continued production. ABB’s solution also enables the automatic recovery and piling of iron ore by controlling and positioning equipment through satellite signal and via GPS, and by using 3D scanning for field screening.

ABB will also provide electrical infrastructure for the new processing plant, related energy distribution equipment for reliable and consistent power supply, and engineering and installation services. The delivery includes medium and low voltage motors for use with frequency converters, the primary power transmission stations, duplication of the telecom system for the railroad and 37 secondary substations in self-contained E-Houses (electrical houses).

Links to more information on this project:

http://www.vale.com/en-us/o-que-fazemos/destaques/Documents/Final-Book-S11D-ENGLISH.pdf

http://www.vale.com/en-us/o-que-fazemos/destaques/Pages/vale-obtem-licenca-ambiental-para-o-projeto-S11D.aspx