Reducing installation costs with preassembled conveyor transfer chutes

first_imgIn an effort to reduce the high installation costs incurred in Australia, FMG (Fortesque Metals Group) requested Terra Nova Technologies (TNT) to outsource the assembly of its conveyor transfer chutes and towers to overseas third party companies. M&J Engineering was awarded the contract to supply Weba Chute Systems to FMG’s Solomon mine in Western Australia. This was the second of three contracts awarded by TNT to M&J Engineering. The company recently supplied chutes to Kisladag mine in Turkey and is in the process of supplying eight chutes to the Morenci open-pit copper mine in southeast Arizona, USA.“We have formed a mutually beneficial relationship with TNT that allows us to customise transfer chutes to suit specific client requirements. TNT’s comprehensive understanding of the engineering and application benefits that are derived from the Weba Chute Systems gives them the confidence to propose their use in large-scale projects,” says Mark Baller, Managing Director of M&J Engineering.The seven Weba Chute Systems transfer chutes were designed, engineered and manufactured in South Africa by M&J Engineering to precise specifications. “We then trial assembled the chutes and shipped them to the steel fabricator Best Tech & Engineering in Thailand. The steel fabricator was responsible for pre-installation of the chutes into the transfer towers which had been fabricated by them,” Baller explains.“Once the assembly was completed the transfer tower, together with the chute and all ancillary equipment, was shipped fully assembled to Western Australia. It was offloaded at the docks and transferred to road trains for transportation to the mine,” he adds.Four of the transfer chutes were specifically designed to cater for worst overrun conditions, with a required storage capacity of up to 30 m3 of ore. “We achieved this by utilising a sophisticated and unique design, considered to be a first in transfer chute technology. The chute was fitted with an air cannon system to ensure that bulk flow was achieved once the system was restarted. By incorporating block chute detectors in the chutes, we can confirm that the chutes have completely emptied before the incoming belts are restarted,” Baller points out.The remaining three chutes are normal belt to belt transfer points that are capable of handling tonnages varying from 4,500 up to 7,400 t/h on belt widths of 1,400 and 1,800 mm, travelling at speeds of 4.6 m/s. Four of the chutes are fully operational and the last three chutes are currently being commissioned.Weba Chute Systems provide clients with a significant reduction in material degradation, greatly reduced levels of dust and noise, reduced production losses owing to fewer blockages, significantly reduced spillage and vastly improved safety levels.“Apart from the technical merits of the Weba Chute Systems, the critical factor in this project was the ability to provide a product that could be remotely assembled then shipped in its final configuration to a destination on another continent. The cost savings achieved by FMG by adopting this philosophy are substantial and outline M&J Engineering’s flexible approach to design and engineering,” Baller concludes.Solomon is part of FMG’s major expansion in the mineral rich Pilbara. The Solomon Hub is located 120 km west of the Chichester Hub and comprises the Firetail mine and the Kings mine. More than 3,000 Mt of resources have been identified at Solomon, providing FMG with a long term, low cost production strategy.Early earthworks commenced at Solomon in late 2011, with significant greenfields construction work undertaken since to develop the 60 Mt/y operation. The $3.5 billion Solomon site has two OPFs, three crushing hubs, a 125 MW power station, its own airstrip and three camps to house 30,000 people.last_img

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