Metso says it has introduced the world's largest cone crusher—the MP2500—to respond to the mining industry's efficiency challenges. The first MP2500s will be installed at First Quantum Minerals' Sentinel mine in Zambia and one is expected to begin operating in early 2015.
As ore grades decline at mines worldwide, more ore needs to be processed to obtain the same amount of the valuable contained mineral and to meet production targets. This often results in increased processing costs and can prove problematic for miners. Metso said it is responding to this challenge by developing larger, more energy-efficient equipment for minerals processing. One example of this effort is the MP2500, billed as the world's largest cone crusher, two of which will be installed at First Quantum Minerals Ltd.’s Sentinel copper mine in Zambia. The installation is scheduled to be fully operational in early 2015, under a contract valued at 10 million euros received in 2013.
Metso said the MP2500 was selected for Sentinel because it can process large volumes of rock as a single machine. It saves costs as fewer crushers, related infrastructure and maintenance are needed for achieving the same or increased amount of production. According to the company, the MP2500 crusher has the largest feed opening ever offered in this type of crusher, enabling it to accept bigger chunks of rock than traditional crushers and decreasing energy consumption in the comminution process.
MP2500’s are designed for use in secondary and tertiary crushing and, according to the company, can be linked with other Metso products to create a simplified, cost-effective process flow for high-production sites. For example, in order to duplicate the performance of two MP2500's, four of its 1,250-hp MP1250 crushers and associated infrastructure would be necessary. At Sentinel, the new cone crushers will be part of the secondary crushing circuit installed to maintain mill throughput in the face of harder ore being mined in the deeper areas of the pit. According to Metso, depending on the ore characteristics and SAG efficiency, the MP2500's could provide a throughout range of 3,000–4,500 metric tons per hour (mt/h).
The crushers will treat a portion of the ore feeding the stockpile, crushing the top size to below 40 mm.
Development of the MP2500 represents a number of innovations in the area of health and safety—some based on discussions with FQML, according to Metso, perhaps the most significant is there is simply less equipment needed to be installed at the site, resulting in reduced maintenance activity.
Serviceability and ease of maintenance was also a focus during the design. Because of the size of the equipment, Metso had to develop a new method (patent pending) to remove the crusher’s socket that eliminated heating of the part in a difficult working space. This method also eliminates process variables associated with socket removal and reduces the overall stress on both the socket and main shaft. Metso also refined the existing jackbolt locknut design to reduce the amount of manual work necessary, adding hydraulics to simplify the process.
Metso said it is assisting the mine to guarantee efficient operation of the new crusher by stationing full-time field service engineers on-site for one year after commissioning and by stocking critical spare parts in Metso's distribution center in South Africa as well as on-site.