ABB controls gold mine in Chile

  • May 30, 2011
  • ABB
  • Case Study

May 30, 2011 ABB completed the commissioning of three gearless mill drive (GMD) systems for the Esperanza project of Antofagasta Minerals S.A. in Chile. The GMD systems power a 40-foot 22.4 MW semiautogenous (SAG) mill and two 27-foot 18.6 MW ball mills. ABB was also contracted to install the 800xA control system, harmonic filters, variable frequency converters for the crusher conveyer belt, gear-driven pumps, an electric SCADA system and a substation for the port. Also an Integrated Operations Center (COI), which ensures complete visualization of the mine s operations, was implemented. In attendance of Chilean President Sebastian Piqera, Antofagasta Minerals, the mining division of Grupo Luksic, inaugurated its gold and copper mine Esperanza on April 7, 2011. According to President Piqera the reason for the current progress of the Esperanza project and Antofagasta Group lies in Minera Esperanza s ability of balancing traditional entrepreneurship and business innovation with social responsibility, decent treatment of employees, care for the environment, technological innovation and most importantly ongoing commitment to the communities in which the wealth is being generated. With this commissioning one of the most promising mining projects in the world is now completed. Its innovative and sustainable features are recognized for its contributions to the environment, such as the use of sea water without desalination and thickened tailings technology as well as the complete automation of the processes and the milling equipment. According to the customer ABB s specialists understood and supported Minera Esperanza s strategy throughout the whole project. ABB implemented the latest technology for the design, manufacturing and commissioning of the plant and thus fully met with Minera Esperanza s high expectations. As a variable speed drive, the GMD allows the mill to start smoothly, without any mechanical stress, and fulfills the customer s requirements for flexibility and adjustability of the process, enabling maximum control over the grinding process. Furthermore, ABB gearless mill drive systems feature several benefits when compared with conventional geared drive systems: superior reliability, availability, extended life span and improved energy efficiency. The Esperanza copper-gold mine is located in Antofagasta in the northern part of Chile at 2300 meters above sea level. During the first ten years of operation the expected annual average production is 700,000 tons of concentrate containing 195,000 tons of payable copper, 229,000 ounces of payable gold and 1,556,000 ounces of payable silver. ABB is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 124,000 people.  

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