Aitik copper mine has made a three year agreement with ABB, a global leader in providing automation solutions, to automate the entire copper mining operation at the Bolidon site by installing its 800xA automation platform.
The refurbished mine was reinstated on August 31 and with 10% additional employees the mine has doubled its productivity, featuring 55 tons of copper ore per man hour whereas the previous production was 43 tons. This automated platform helps in the mining of even poor graded ore, thereby extending the productive life term of the mine to another 11 years.
The 800xA handles the entire mining process, covering the concentrator plant, conveyor systems and pumping stations. It was reported that the mine can process up to 100,000 tons of copper ore per day. Huge machines dig around 200 tons of copper ore at a time which are carried by trucks and then delivered to an underground crusher. The ore chips are reduced to the size of stones, each measuring a diameter of 30 cm and with the help of underground conveyors these boulders are moved to the storage areas on the surface. In order to extract the mineral, these boulders are transferred via another group of conveyors to a new concentrator plant which feature ABB’s 650 high-performing motors coupled with variable drives, crushers, pumps, fans and other devices for providing maximum capability with minimum power intake. The mills are powered by means of two ABB gearless mill drives (GMD). Each GMD works on 22.5 MW of power and its efficiency is equivalent to 280 passenger vehicles.
800xA embraces a gas-insulated substation which has various features including reduced electric loss, compact design, filter system with harmonics and power factor correction, thereby ensuring continuous power supply to the GMD system. ABB switchgear feeds electricity across the mining site without any interruption.