The conveying system overcomes an altitude difference of 1,200m and covers a distance of almost 13km


ABB, TAKRAF commission conveyor drive system at Chuquicamata mine. (Credit: ABB.)

Swiss-Swedish technology company ABB and TAKRAF have completed the commissioning and testing of a gearless conveyor drive system at the Chuquicamata copper mine in Chile.

Located 1,650km north of Santiago, Chile, the mine is claimed to be one of the largest open pit copper mines and the second deepest open-pit mine in the world.

For power supply, energy distribution and automation of the new underground and overland conveyor system at the mine, ABB has delivered the engineering design, gearless conveyor drives, and electrical equipment.

ABB in Germany has provided the project management and engineering services for the full electrical, control and instrumentation (EC&I) scope, 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.

According to the company, the conveying system overcomes an altitude difference of 1,200m and covers a distance of almost 13km.

With continuous conveying technology, the infrastructure at the mine is truckless

The infrastructure at the mine is now completely truckless, with the installation of conveying technology.

It eliminates the need for 120 large haul trucks and also saves approximately 130 million liters of gasoline consumption annually.

In addition, the technology is expected to reduce the annual carbon emissions from 340,000 tonnes to 100,000 tonnes.

ABB Belt Conveyor Systems global product manager Ulf Richter 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 aquisition, equipment assessment and process optimization.

“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.”

Recently, ABB has as collaborated with the University of Western Australia (UWA) and the Enterprise Transformation Partners (ETP) to digitalise Gold Fields Australia’s Granny Smith mine in Western Australia.