ONE of the world’s richest underground copper deposits will be accessed with the help of high-capacity gearless driven conveyors from thyssenkrupp. The Industrial Solutions business area has won a contract to supply a material handling system for the new Oyu Tolgoi (OT) underground mine in Mongolia.

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The Los Pelambres downhill conveying system was developed by thyssenkrupp and transports copper ore over 12.7km.

The contract value is in the higher double-digit million euro range. thyssenkrupp will supply nine conveyors with a combined length of 9.5km as well as seven transfer towers operating at an hourly design tonnage of 7100 tons.

First production from underground is expected in 2020. The OT mine complex is a joint venture between the Government of Mongolia and Turquoise Hill Resources, which is majority-owned by Rio Tinto.

From a depth of nearly 1400 metres beneath the Gobi Desert, the new underground material handling system is planned to transport 95,000 tons per day of copper ore to the surface. The main components are four high lift conveyors each equipped with 1.6 metre wide steel cord belts and dual 5500 kW gearless drives from Siemens. Further conveyors will feed the main incline conveyors and tie the new underground system into the existing process facility.

thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions’ Mining Technologies business unit CEO Torsten Gerlach said, “This order again proves that thyssenkrupp is a strong player in the mining and materials handling industry. We are proud to contribute to this project with our intelligent belt conveyor technology and our strong global project execution capabilities. The system will help the OT mine set standards in terms of productivity and safety.”

The mine began producing copper concentrate from an open pit operation in 2013. The future underground construction activities will transform OT into one of the most significant copper mines globally.

The order given to thyssenkrupp includes the engineering, design and supply of the new material handling system as well as required site support services during the construction and commissioning phases. It will be designed with an emphasis on ease of maintenance. This includes the ability to quickly replace chute sections as well as idler rolls and belt cleaners.

The drive components are massive and great attention will be paid to safely transporting them underground and ensuring they can be safely exchanged. Overhead bridge cranes will be strategically located to not only service the equipment, but also to aid in erection of the major structures.

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