A twilight photo shows the six mills at Cobre Panama. (Photo: ABB)

Cobre Panama is using six ABB Gearless Mill Drives (GMDs) at its recently commissioned copper concentrator in Panama. Two 28-megawatt (MW) GMDs are operating on the 40-ft SAG mills, and four 16.5-MW GMDs are employed on 26-ft ball mills along with the associated control systems.

ABB also installed both its extended automation system, ABB Ability System 800xA, and its Remote Service Centers. The latter provides diagnostic services, maintenance reports and remote monitoring.

The six drives, which are the most powerful mill drive systems on the market for semiautogenous (SAG), ball and autogenous mills, were installed late last year and are all now in continuous operation, the company reported.

ABB leadership described the drives as extremely robust workhorses. “As the ore extraction pace indicates, they are maximizing throughput,” Rene Chacon, project manager at ABB for Cobre Panama, said. “They allow operators to react to changes in ore characteristics due to variable speed and, by optimizing the process, are more efficient in their use of grinding power.”

The drives can operate under the most extreme environmental conditions and offer maximum reliability and availability, the company reported.

The mine is located 120 kilometers west of Panama City in the Donoso district, Colon province.