The Asia Miner

JAN-FEB 2017

The ASIA Miner - Reporting Important Issues to Mining Companies in the Asia Pacific Region

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98 | ASIA Miner | Volume 14 • Issue 1 | 2017 Product News MINING bauxite is not like typical open-pit operations - the ore is shallow and covered by overburden containing impurities that af- fect refining. After the overburden and secondary overburden are removed, what's left is an uneven surface that has to be levelled so equipment can access the site. As for the actual mining, up to 90% of work is on hills or contours while ore is distributed over different areas with different grades, meaning that bauxite crews have to mine out of several pits simulta- neously as opposed to a conventional open pit mine. The mining itself has a unique set of challenges, including the uneven surface present after the caprock is exposed – it is undu- lating, almost desolate and largely inaccessible with earthmoving equipment. Even dozers and track vehicles cannot traverse it. To provide mining machines access to the caprock, mined bauxite is hauled in, placed on the edge of the site and pushed into the gaps by dozers or loaders. Backfilling is not simple. A substantial amount of material must be hauled in to fill the gaps, which requires a collection of equipment, including haul trucks, dozers, scrapers and wheel loaders, and takes time, man-hours and money. It also requires construction of a development road to get backfill material to the site. The material used as backfill must be handled twice. First, the bauxite is hauled in from another part of the mine and spread over the area. It then becomes mixed with existing ore in the pit after the caprock is blasted and is mined again. An Australian bauxite mine has taken an innovative approach to this problem by purchasing a T1255III Terrain Leveler® surface ex- cavation machine (SEM) from Vermeer. The machine breaks up the caprock, eliminating the need for backfill material. The mine esti- mates that the Terrain Leveler SEM reduces the time it takes to complete this process by more than 50%. The Terrain Leveler SEM can cut a swath up to 68.6cm deep and 3.7 metres wide in a single pass and operates with a top-down cut- ting motion developed by Vermeer, allowing the cutter teeth to pen- etrate without using the machine's tractive effort to drive teeth into the rock. As the unit travels the drum rotates and the teeth on top advance over the top of the unbroken material surface, promoting greater operational efficiency as more horsepower goes into cutting rock and less into moving the machine. STONE crushing and quarrying are the backbone of Thailand's con- struction industry and the Sinsub Kree Ree Part crushing plant and Sila Sinsub Samut Part quarry are in the thick of it, using Volvo CE exca- vators and wheel loaders to maximize revenue and drive down costs. The crushing plant in Chonburi produces stone used for road works and building construction. "Stone production needs accurate market forecasting and careful planning to avoid oversupply," says crushing plant and quarry gen- eral manager Grisada Gijvaropard. "We assess the market by con- sidering the overall construction industry and most desirable types of stone. If demand for a particular size is low, we produce more crushed stones to minimise remaining stocks." For Sinsub market forecast accuracy isn't the only factor in man- aging business expenses and increasing revenue. "Machinery is a key factor in profits. If a machine comes to a halt, production capac- ity is affected," Grisada Gijvaropard says. Therefore, machines must be durable, particularly those working 100 metres underground at the quarry. "If a machine breaks down, it's not easy to bring it up for repair, and taking technicians to the machine will affect scheduled hole blasting. However, even if the equipment is durable, if it's not fu- el-efficient, we might end up wasting money on fuel - not to mention maintenance and parts. "In the past, it has taken so long for replacement parts to be im- ported from abroad that I've had to look for parts myself, which was time-consuming and inconvenient. That was an experience I've always remembered when selecting new equipment." Today, Grisada Gijvaropard uses Volvo Construction Equipment (CE) at the quarry and plant. The company gets full sales and ser- vice support for its Volvos from long-standing Thai dealer, Italthai. "I'd tried other brands before and faced the same old problems - frequent breakdowns and lack of replacement parts, which inter- rupted operations. I hadn't heard much about Volvo CE, but was looking for the best equipment for my business and after repeated disappointment with others, I talked to Italthai and gave Volvo a go. "We noticed immediately that Volvo CEs worked fast and were easy to operate. They have a long service life, which saves spare part costs. I've been using Volvo for eight years and they still deliver impressive performance and high fuel efficiency. Our overall costs have been reduced, leading to better machinery management." Crushing costs in Thailand with Volvo CE The Vermeer T1255III Terrain Leveler® provides greater operational efficien- cy in bauxite mining operations. Reduce bauxite mining costs in one step

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