ABB recently won a $24 million order to supply a complete ore hoisting solution for Xstrata Zinc’s George Fisher mine (GFM) located near Mount Isa in north-west Queensland, Australia. The ground-mounted friction hoist will carry ore from a depth of 1,135 m and help increase GFM’s production by 30% per year by 2013. The order was booked during the third quarter of 2011. Xstrata Zinc’s resources in and near Mount Isa, including GFM, comprise the world’s largest zinc resource base, with an estimated 600 million metric tons (mt) of ore and 36 million mt of contained zinc metal.

In addition to increasing production capacity at the mine, the integrated hoist solution will operate at the highest levels of reliability and safety, according to ABB. “ABB won the order for this expansion project because of our strong track record, commitment to serving the mining industry and unique position as a sole-supplier of complete mine hoist systems,” said Veli-Matti Reinikkala, head of ABB’s process automation division. “Our leading-edge technologies, combined with our global and local industry expertise, ensure the efficiency, reliability and safety of these critical mining operations from day one.”

ABB will design, supply and commission all the electrical and mechanical equipment for a new ground-mounted mine ore hoist system. At speeds of 16 meters per second, the hoist will raise 600 mt/h of ore per from a depth of 1,135 m. ABB’s state-of-the-art ACS 6000 medium voltage drive system, which controls torque and speed to enable energy-efficient ore haulage, will power a 9,000 kilowatt synchronous motor to run the hoist. The hoist design will minimize impact on the surrounding power network.

ABB will also design and supply the bottom dump ore skips with inspection platforms, the rope deflection sheaves and a skip dumping system. ABB’s System 800xA AC800M industrial controller will manage and control the entire mine hoisting system, from the loading conveyors to the surface ore dump station. Reliable performance of the hoist is critical to the safety and financial success of the mine operation. ABB’s maintenance, lifecycle support services and expertise in delivering more than 600 new mine hoist systems worldwide, were important factors in securing this contract. Hoists are among the most significant pieces of equipment in an underground mine, and must operate at the highest level of reliability and safety, as any potential failure can lead to catastrophic results. Delivery is scheduled to be completed in the second half of 2013.