Over the next few months, around 50 km of belt will be progressively fitted to a home-grown engineering wonder – the first all composite roller overland conveyor in the Pilbara at BHP’s South Flank iron ore project.
The idlers for the conveyor system were designed, engineered and fabricated for BHP by Western Australia specialist CPS Conveyors, at its Welshpool headquarters.
Two conveyors running to around 26 km in total length will form South Flank’s main arteries – one running almost straight north from PC1, and the second executing a long curve from PC2 to run from east into the transfer station about 2 km south of the Coarse Ore Stockpile.
The conveyors are made from around 24,000 separate conveyor frames, assembled into modules, and include approximately 14,000 ±0.5 mm high tolerance carry idler frames, and around 72,000 of CPS’s patented Yeloroll HD composite rollers – notable for their high durability, energy-efficient and lighter/quieter properties.
Unique to this particular project is the 220-mm diameter composite centre roll, specifically designed for BHP to further reduce power draw along the conveyor through optimised geometry and material selection.
Early design work on the composite specifications began at CPS back in 2017, fabrication started in July 2019, and despite the considerable global challenges posed by COVID-19 through the critical first months of this year, all have been delivered to site and installed to plan.
Matt Einhorn, CPS chief financial officer, stated: “CPS is proud to have completed the supply of the South Flank overland conveyor idlers, on time and in budget, in April 2020. This is the culmination of more than three years of collaboration with BHP and the single largest project undertaken by our business.”
“We believe this represents one of the most advanced, reliable and cost-efficient overland conveyors in the world. On a more human level, manufacture of the conveyor rollers and frames required CPS production facilities to run over two shifts for nearly 10 months and employ more than 50 additional local staff,” he added.