ABB has signed a strategic service partnership with Sierra Gorda SCM to provide comprehensive technical services for its copper mine in the Atacama Desert in Chile. The service agreement, according to ABB, covers its complete electrical and automation deliveries from 2011 to 2014 that were awarded as part of an earlier contract. The major equipment supplied by ABB includes three gearless mill drives and four high-pressure grinding rolls. Furthermore, ABB’s scope of supply included gas-insulated switchgears, low-voltage and medium-voltage control centers, medium- and low-voltage drives, a distributed control system, and a range of automation equipment. ABB also supplied 28 E-houses: pre-fabricated, walk-in, modular, outdoor enclosures designed to house a range of electrical and automation equipment.

The services under contract include advice on startup, operations and maintenance, as well as getting the most out of the advanced features of the control system. These features include the ability to monitor and optimize the performance of the electrical equipment, remotely diagnose any problems that arise and optimize Sierra Gorda’s maintenance schedules to minimize the possibility of breakdowns. ABB will also offer the Sierra Gorda’s staff professional training courses.

A key area of the service agreement is asset optimization capabilities that improve the availability, performance, and lifetime of equipment by using condition monitoring, advanced diagnostic data and predictive intelligence to plan maintenance activities and detect equipment problems before they occur.

The Sierra Gorda copper mine is located in the Antofagasta region in the far north of Chile. Production during the first phase of the development is projected to be 120,000 metric tons per year (mt/y) of fine copper and 21,000 mt/y of molybdenum. The project is a joint venture between KGHM International, Sumitomo Metal Mining and Sumitomo Corp.