Belt Conveyor Technoloy

Gear Unites for Underground Mining Belt Conveyor Systems

11.11.2010 | Autor / Editor: G. Mau / Marcel Dröttboom

Xtstrata has installed two new belt conveyor drive systems at its Thorncliffe underground mine. (Pictures: SEW-Eurodrive)

Xtstrata has installed two new belt conveyor drive systems at its Thorncliffe underground mine in South Africa. Xstrata was particularly interested in energy efficiency and condition monitoring. The applied solution enables the maintenance department to react to irregularities at an early stage and ensure continuous operation of the system

As a line of robust units that take up little space, the MC industrial gear unit series from SEW-Eurodrive is highly suitable for mixers, cranes and conveyor systems. As a fully assembled unit with motor and coupling, it is used below ground for driving conveyor belts in a South African chrome mine. Besides the energy efficiency of the drives, the customer placed great value on monitoring the condition of the drives. Consequently, SEW uses diagnostic units to reliably monitor rolling bearings and gearings, as well as oil aging.

Chromium is a silvery-white, corrosion-resistant, non-tarnishing hard metal that is tough, malleable and forgeable in its natural state. It is used in various applications in which its stability plays an important role. For example, various metals can be chrome-plated with galvanization, which gives them a wear-resistant layer. The chemical element is also used for decorative chrome plating. For example, plastic parts are often chrome-plated. The metal, chromium, is almost exclusively mined as chromite (iron magnesium chromium oxide) through open-pit mining or at shallow depths. Metallic chrome is obtained by reducing the ore with aluminum or silicon. The largest quantities of chromite are extracted in South Africa – 36 per cent of the world’s requirement in 2006, according to the ICDA (International Chromium Development Association). Other significant chromium-producing countries are Kazakhstan and India.

Life Cycle Costs are Decisive

Xstrata is one of the world’s leading mining companies. The company, which is traded on the stock exchanges in London and Switzerland, owns many mines around the world, including the Thorncliffe Mine in north-eastern South Africa. Between 100000 and 110000 tonnes of chromite are extracted at the mine every month. Above-ground conveyor belts transport the extracted ore from the mine to the factory. Underground, in the mine itself, the extracted material is also moved by means of a conveyor system. SEW-Eurodrive South Africa supplied two drive units to power this conveyor system. They were built and shipped in Nelspruit, a provincial capital situated 330 kilometres east of Johannesburg.

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