Located in Queensland, Australia, Ernest Henry Mining is a Glencore company that first began operating in 1998 as an open pit mine. As the open pit’s economic life span was due to end in 2011, plans in 2009 were confirmed to invest $589 million and transform the mine to underground shaft mining. By early 2012, a 5 km decline had been established to enable the trucking of ore from underground to the surface. Rates of production with this method were approximately three million tonnes annually resulting in about 25,000 tonnes of copper concentrate and 35,000 ounces of gold concentrate per year. By moving to shaft hoisting, 2015 production was forecast to double to six million tonnes of ore. That rate is projected to be achieved on an annual basis over the extended lifespan of the mine to 2026.
Abrasion, heat, impact, friction, chemical exposure, mechanical stress, and daily wear-and-tear eventually take their toll on equipment, which is why parts need to be maintained regularly and replaced as needed to minimize downtime. In this light, it’s important to choose parts, such as steel castings, that are of optimal quality and able to meet their intended functions. For this reason, manufacturers such as Wabi Iron & Steel Corp. focus on custom manufacturing so that parts can be built to satisfy unique operating requirements.
Watch for Signs of Wear and Tear
Being aware of the signs of deterioration is crucial to the maintenance of mining equipment. Spotting the subtlest signs informs the operators of significant issues, such as when it’s time to replace mining wear parts, when the machines need more lubricant, and other similarly important factors.