Officials at Codelco, Chile’s state-owned mining giant and one of the world’s biggest copper companies, has awarded its contract for a large scale conveyor system for the El Teniente mine expansion to Tenova Takraf.

The system connects new ore bodies to existing processing facilities; in its end stage it will transport crushed ore at more than 12,000 metric tons per hour (mt/h). Running at 6 meters per second, the 2-m wide conveyor system will carry the ore more than 12 km. The three principal conveyors — one 9,000-m long tunnel conveyor and two 1,000-m steep uphill conveyors —will feed the existing stockpile and a new stockpile in the future.

The contract also involves the extension of an existing conveyor line. For this, it will be necessary to carry out final tie-ins within just four days of shutdown; constructability is incorporated in all design aspects, according to company officials.

Because of ever-increasing energy costs, drive efficiency and conveyor running resistance, they noted, Codelco has selected direct drive over gearless technology. Thus the high efficiency of the direct drive, combined with the variable speed, allows long term benefits to the project, according to Codelco.