ABB recently delivered a new gearless conveyor drive to facilitate equipment reliability for Chile’s El Teniente project, the world’s largest underground copper mine. The conveyor, officials said, is part of a $550 million mine expansion by Codelco, located some 70 km southeast of Santiago, Chile, allowing for mine life operation extension by 50 years. The project lies 2,300 m above sea level.

“The technology helps increase productivity, safety and sustainability,” said Veli-Matti Reinikkala, head of ABB’s Process Automation division; the system, he added, will raise Codelco’s mine capacity “to more than 12,000 metric tons per hour by 2025.”

In addition, by replacing diesel trucks with long-haul overland conveyor systems with electrical drive solutions for ore transportation, the mine will benefit from a reduced carbon footprint in its operations, added officials at ABB.

ABB’s final scope includes electrical equipment and new gearless drive technology for the project’s four conveyor flights, one of which is a downhill tunnel conveyor of almost 9,000 m. The system will take advantage of regenerative power.