Officials at power and automation technology group ABB have announced the successful commission of three gearless mill drive systems at Codelco’s Mina Ministro Hales (MMH) in Chile; the state-run Codelco is the No. 1 copper miner in the world’s most copper-prolific nation; ABB also provided engineering, installation, training and startup assistance.

With greater grinding capacity, 2014 MMH production is forecast at 190,000 tons of fine ore this year, according to Sergio Fuentes, ex-MMH project vice president. At 3,000 m high in the Atacama Desert, the open-pit deposit has a 1.3-billion-ton reserve.

Eliminating all critical components in a conventional mill drive system, said ABB representatives, ABB’s drive systems enhance efficiency by smoothing starts through flexibility and process adjustability. In turn, they added, operations will experience reduced mechanical stress, with grinding process control.

First awarded in 2011, the order includes three mill drive systems, one 36-ft, 12 megawatt (Mw) system for the semi-autogenous mill and two 22-ft, 8.9 Mw systems for both ball mills. The order further includes a 220-kilovolt (kV) gas-insulated switchgear, harmonic filters, and power factor correction along with three containerized E-houses with cycloconverter equipment, motor control centers and control panels.