Volvo Construction Equipment says a fleet of its A30E articulated dump trucks are helping a Canadian mining company increase productivity at an underground gold mine in Minas Gerais state, Brazil.

The 28-metric-ton-payload artics are working at a mine owned by Jaguar Mining  in the Iron Quadrangle region near Belo Horizonte. Jaguar, a Canadian-chartered company with headquarters in Concord, New Hampshire, USA, is active in Brazil and holds a 65,500-acre land base in Minas Gerais that includes its Sabará, Turmalina and Paciência mines and processing facilities. It also has mining operations in the state of Ceará in northeast Brazil.

The company currently ranks fourth in gold output in Brazil, producing around 200,000 oz/y. However, it has plans to increase production to 700,000 oz/y by 2014, which would make it number one in the country for gold production.

The Volvo haulers work in three, six-hour shifts in the Mineração Turmalina mine, located in São Gonçalo do Paraná. The conditions can be difficult, as the temperature in the mine can reach up to 40°C (~105°F) and space is tight—tunnels are only 5 m wide by 4 m high.

Volvo CE said its dealer in the area, Tracbel, has been supplying Jaguar with Volvo machinery since the company started its operations in Brazil in 2005, and the companies have formed a close working relationship. Luiz Gustavo, vice president of Tracbel, said the first machines it supplied to Jaguar were 10 Volvo L90E wheel loaders with cabs lowered by 600 mm to fit inside the mine. Today, Jaguar has 20 Volvo L90Es, and the six Volvo A30Es were delivered earlier this year. Prior to this, Jaguar was using on-highway tipper trucks that proved unsuitable for mining operations.

“The road trucks couldn’t work very well because of the humid temperature,” said Gustavo. “The trucks need to transport a lot of ore from the mine to the outside and the roads inside the mine aren’t very good for road trucks. We showed them our Volvo A30E articulated haulers and, after checking out the competition, they agreed that these were the best for the job,” he said.

Jaguar Mining said it has noticed a distinct change since acquiring the Volvo haulers. “Besides improved safety, which we need when working with large machines, the mine’s productivity has increased considerably,” said Valter Oliveira, administrative director for Jaguar Mining.

Jaguar’s satisfaction with the Volvo machinery prompted it to award a contract to Tracbel for 24-hr onsite maintenance of the Volvo machines at the mine. “The after-sales business is very important for mining,” said Gustavo. “Mines need availability of mechanics and parts. This agreement means if a breakdown happens with the articulated haulers, our team is there to support them immediately. Our branch is very close so we can send new parts.”

“Tracbel’s technical assistance is excellent and our technical team has given good feedback on the performance of the Volvo equipment.” said Oliveira. “This is why we have signed a maintenance agreement with them. Summing up, we are very satisfied with the partnership.”