Green drives: Energy-efficient drive systems boost copper mine productivity

Gearless mill drive systems will maximize productivity and energy efficiency at a new copper mine in northern Brazil. The mine will have estimated capacity of 100,000 tons of copper per year.


Baden, Switzerland — Gearless mill drive systems will maximize productivity and energy efficiency at a new copper mine in northern Brazil. ABB says it recently won an order from Vale (formerly CVRD) to deliver such a system to the Salobo mine , located at the Tapirape-Aquiri National Forest, in the state of Pará, Brazil. The mine is operated by a wholly owned subsidiary of Vale (formerly Companhia Vale do Rio Doce).
When comissioned in early 2010, the mine will have an estimated capacity of 100,000 tons of copper per year. ABB’s delivery for the new mine includes two complete 17 MW gearless mill drive systems for two 26 ft ball mills, as well as transformers, spare parts, project engineering, installation, training and other related support services. ABB’s gearless mill drives (giant motor and drive systems that power ore-crushing mills) are more reliable and energy efficient than traditional mill drive systems, and increase mill productivity.
“This project underscores our continued leadership in providing advanced solutions for our mining customers,” said Veli-Matti Reinikkala, head of ABB’s Process Automation division. “As the need to optimize energy use and overall performance continues to be a priority, innovative technologies like ABB’s gearless mill drives, combined with our industry know-how and engineering resources, help new installations like the Salobo mine start operating successfully from day one.”
The company says it delivered the world’s first gearless machine drive in 1969, which, according to the company, is still operating with its original converter, providing cost-effective, energy-efficient performance with proven long-term reliability. Over the years, the company says it has delivered numerous automation solutions, services and related support to Vale’s mining operations all over the world.
Edited by C.G. Masi , senior editor
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