CATERPILLAR has developed a new technology that is meant to improve the way in which ore is moved in block caving mines from draw point to crusher. Cat Rock Flow is achieved through continuous caving, removal from the drawpoint and conveying.

The Caterpillar Rock Flow system for block cave mines.
The Caterpillar Rock Flow system for block cave mines.

The Cat Rock Flow system comprises of several components, all centrally controlled from a remote location - the Rock Feeder RF300 to remove ore from the drawpoint, the Rock Mover RM900 (a newly developed chain conveyor) to feed ore into a crusher and an automation unit to control and smooth the production process.

Block cave mining is a mass-mining technique used in many underground mines around the world. The innovative Cat Rock Flow System – jointly developed with the Chilean mining company Codelco – greatly improves productivity by making use of continuous haulage technology as compared to the conventional use of LHD’s. An automation system, featuring remote operation from surface, allows draw and quality control and records operational data.

Features of the Rock Flow system include:

  • Innovative continuous mass mining production system - Combination of Rock Feeder (RF300) and Rock Mover (RM900) brings high productivity and improved equipment utilization for caving operations.
  • High-performance continuous ore handling system multiplies extraction rates - Improves traditional hard rock block caving operation.
  • Highly automated system with Real Time Draw Control - Remote controlled extraction and haulage of ore without vehicles or underground personnel.
  • System flexibility - Easy removal of Rock Feeder for maintenance and clearance work as well as panel moves.
  • High level of health, safety and sustainability - Only electric drives, increasing safety, reducing cost and improving underground climate and carbon footprint.

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