ABB to supply gearless conveyor drive system for world’s largest underground copper mine in Chile

April 2, 2013

Codelco’s El Teniente copper mine, Codelco’s largest operation in Chile, has awarded an order to ABB for a new gearless conveyor drive system.

The electrification of the new gearless overland conveyor is part of an overall $550 million expansion at the El Teniente Mine, located approximately 70 km (43 miles) southeast of Santiago de Chile. The current expansion will extend the mine’s operation for another 50 years, ensuring long-term growth.

“The latest ABB gearless technology helps to increase long-term productivity, safety and sustainability of material handling operations” said Veli-Matti Reinikkala, head of ABB’s Process Automation division. “The new conveying drive system will allow Codelco to increase conveying capacity of the mine to more than 10.8 kt/h (12,000 stph) by 2025.”

By replacing diesel trucks with long-haul overland (up- and down-hill) conveyor systems with electrical drive solutions for ore transportation, the mine will benefit from a reduced carbon footprint in its operations. The ABB drive system is designed to feed power back into the grid during electrical braking and regenerative operation. This feature, together with the variable-speed drives, will increase overall efficiency, availability, reliability and productivity at the El Teniente copper mine.

ABB’s know-how in gearless drive technology and its cooperation agreement with Tenova TAKRAF, a global leader for mining and bulk material handling equipment, were main factors for winning the order. The close collaboration with Codelco during the feasibility study, enabled ABB and TAKRAF to develop the gearless conveyor drive concept to closely fit the project’s needs.

ABB’s final scope of supply for the project includes electrical equipment and new gearless drive technology with 12, (2,500kW/56 rpm motors) for the four conveyor flights of the complete conveyor system, one of which is a downhill tunnel conveyor of almost 9,000 m (29,500 ft) length. ABB will also deliver E-houses with pre-installed equipment, air conditioning and liquid cooling for ACS6000 drives and synchronous motors, the mining conveyor control program MCCP for main drive control and load sharing and its Extended Automation System 800xA.

The order also includes the bus system, conveyor monitoring and instrumentation, medium- (33kV) and low-voltage switchgears, the motor control center (MCC) in NEMA standard and uninterruptable power supply (UPS). In addition, ABB will also provide one asynchronous motor with a low-harmonic, air-cooled, low-voltage frequency converter ACS800, a converter transformer as well as the gearless drive systems, comprising eight water-cooled synchronous motors, four MV low-harmonic voltage source inverters in multi-drive configuration and four converter and excitation transformers.

First deliveries are scheduled for the third quarter of 2013.


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