Valuables covered for Environmental Protection

Storage & Handling

Valuables covered for Environmental Protection

Domes over the 7th Largest Copper and Moly Development
Keeping the environment safe from impacts of stored copper ores as well as minimising material losses due to deflation were the main reasons for building two storage domes at a newly developed copper and molybdenum mine in Northern Chile. Covering stockpiles under the harsh regional conditions would have been a monumental challenge in years past.
(ed. WoMaMarcel - 18/9/2015)
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Design Freedom

Covering stockpiles under these harsh regional conditions would have been a monumental challenge in years past. But with Freedome technology, today’s domes can be constructed in a variety of dimensions spanning up to 300 m on virtually any topography.

Freedomes provide an effective and efficient cover for crushed mineral stockpiles in Sierra Gorda and other mines the world over. Geometrica’s building system is versatile. It features an extruded, universal and strong joint, human-scale modules, dense packing volume, and easy installation with minimal equipment needs. The connecting hub is an extruded aluminum cylinder with several threaded slots. Each tube is formed at the ends into a linear thread that slides into the matching hub’s slot. When all the tubes in a certain hub have been assembled, the joint is completed with washers and a single bolt. Once complete, the joint is strong, sometimes even more than the joined tubes themselves. Most importantly, the tubes resist bending moments at the joint. This allows for the deck or cladding of the structure to be affixed directly to the space frame members, without secondary structural purlins that can be as heavy as the frame itself in other construction systems. This feature also permits many variations on basic geometries that are simply not possible with conventional bolted or welded connections. These virtues allow for unlimited forms, and the judicious selection of form results in beautiful and efficient long-span structures.


A dome structure under construction.

In the case of Sierra Gorda, the required storage volume and necessary stockyard equipment dictated the shape and size of the domes. All requirements were incorporated into the design by Geometrica to accommodate the needs of the mining operations and protect the surrounding terrain. The domes were erected by SALFA Corp, a Chilean company with 16 years of experience that had previously participated in several Geometrica dome installations, aided by Geometrica consultants. Local labor was used to build both domes within 5 months.

Very little equipment was needed during the installation of the domes. A couple of manlifts were used to lift crew members, tools and structural elements during installation, and a crane was required while closing the apex of the stockpile dome. The resulting maximum capacity of space was achieved due to the absence of internal barriers. This allows for the free flow of traffic, personnel, equipment and inventories. Intermediate columns were simply not required. The dome’s geometry was weaved around a complex conveyor support structure. Yet the resulting structure is incredibly strong... strong enough for the most challenging climates, brutal wind velocity, and seismic loads of the Sierra Gorda region.

Even in their rugged industrial setting, there is a certain architectural beauty inherent in the Sierra Gorda domes. The larger building’s blue conveyor complements the dynamic orange on nearby buildings — opposite hues on the color wheel that please the senses. The cladding on both Sierra Gorda domes was designed with compatible profiles and installed over the course of six weeks without the need for special framing or equipment. Translucent panels contribute natural lighting, energy cost savings and customized symmetrical patterns for additional aesthetic beauty. The result is a continuous surface that provides effective sealing and water drainage

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