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News Article

Innovation Investments Help Fight Mining Challenges

Wed, 10/21/2015 - 08:27

More than ever, a sustainable minerals industry requires smart capital investments. Even Mexico, with its vast mineral reserves, experiences pressure from investors to reduce operating costs, increase productivity, and improve return on investments. In Mexico, ThyssenKrupp, a global diversified industrial company, employs more than 3,000 people. The company’s plant engineering specialist, ThyssenKrupp Industrial Solutions, is one of the leading suppliers in the minerals and mining industry. Globally, its machinery, equipment and processes are used to mine, process, stockpile, and transport raw materials. Its Resource Technologies business unit specializes in developing and providing expert solutions for increasingly complex challenges such as sustainability, productivity, and maintaining cost efficiencies that the mining and cement industry faces.

SUSTAINABILITY: REDUCING EMISSIONS

Innovations in crushing and conveying solutions are helping mining companies reduce greenhouse gases such as CO2. For example, replacing a mine’s traditional truck haulage fleet with an in-pit or near-pit crushing and conveying system can reduce a mine’s carbon footprint by eliminating up to 150,000 tonnes in CO2 emissions per year. ThyssenKrupp has developed a series of semi-mobile crushing plants used to crush limestone, granite, and all types of mine ores as well as overburden. These systems are designed to handle from a few thousand t/h to over 14,000 t/h. When combined with overland conveying systems, the need for haul trucks is significantly reduced. Similarly, mobile crushing plants – fully mobile crushers which allow open-pit operators to crush coal, ore and waste rock at rates up to 9,000 t/h - are also reducing the need for heavy haul trucks. When combined with an overland conveying system, mobile crushing plants operate right at the mining face with the shovel. The potential cost and environmental savings when using a semi-mobile or fully mobile crushing system in combination with an overland conveying system are substantial.

PRODUCTIVITY: DEALING WITH LOWER ORE GRADES

In today’s mining environment, many mines face more remote mine locations with increased truck haul distances and lower ore grades. So, there is greater demand for more productive and less costly mining methods. ThyssenKrupp Industrial Solutions’ overland conveyors are increasingly found in mines throughout North and South America as a method to help reduce operating costs and provide solutions to ore haulage challenges. They are designed to transport from less than 1,000 t/h to more than 14,000 t/h and operate at a fraction of the cost of haul trucks. With operating availabilities exceeding 98%, overland conveyors are a solution for new mines as well as expanding operations. Overland conveyors help mining operations find efficiencies through the need for fewer operators, fewer maintenance facilities and reduced haul road maintenance costs, while operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, regardless of weather conditions. Reducing ore grades and increased ore hardness at depth require increased grinding circuit capacities. The Polysius Polycom® High Pressure Grinding Roll (HPGR) system increases the throughput capacity of a SAG and ball mill circuit and can provide additional benefits including improved mineral liberation and recovery. Used in cement production, diamond recovery, and iron ore beneficiation, as well as hard rock copper, gold, and molybdenum mines, the Polycom HPGR handles up to 3,000 t/h in current installations. In addition to the challenges faced by remote mine locations, large-scale mining operations which commonly exceed 100,000 t/d traditionally have capacity and productivity levels that approach or exceed available equipment limits. The mining industry is familiar with gearless drive technology as it has been used for many years to power underground mine hoists, as well as SAG and ball mills. ThyssenKrupp Industrial Solutions has incorporated advances in electrical motor and control technology to supply gearless drives from 3.8MW up to 6MW per drive for overland conveyors increasing energy efficiency, and reducing maintenance and inventory support costs.

SERVICE: FINDING QUALIFIED SUPPORT

Across Mexico, mines experience challenges in maintaining qualified staff to handle the ongoing maintenance requirements for the leading-edge equipment used in today’s mining processes. With locations in Mexico, Canada, the US, Peru, Chile, Brazil, and Argentina, the ThyssenKrupp Industrial Solutions service teams bring the experience, knowledge, and latest information to help keep equipment running productively throughout the Americas. The company maintains a large, multidisciplinary engineering office with EPC capabilities in Mexico City. Staffed with more than 500 specialists serving cement and mining clients, the office focuses on building relationships with the Mexican mining community and providing equipment, systems, and technical support. 

Innovations and technical progress are key to mastering the challenges facing the resource industries, and ThyssenKrupp Industrial Solutions’ strength is its engineering expertise to find cost- and resource-efficient solutions that offer concrete value to the Mexican mining market.