Sidecasting and haulage: More tons per hour
During side-casting, Wirtgen surface miners leave high stockpiles allowing a superb bucket fill. This protects most of the mined material from the rain and allows gravity to drain the piles. The major cost factor in opencast mining is haulage. Mining with Wirtgen surface miners produces level surfaces that serve as stable roadways, supporting the rapid transport of material. This increases the transport capacity of the entire truck fleet. Even the wear on tires, frame and suspension is reduced thanks to the quality of the roadways, also allowing the use of standard on-highway trucks. As a result, reduced transportation costs allow mining companies to achieve lower per-ton production costs.
Mine operators benefit from several cost reductions when using surface miners. Dr. Ing Erik Zimmermann, Product Manager for Surface Miners at Wirtgen, explains: “Our machines allow efficient extraction of material from mines that could not be economically exploited with traditional techniques, creating added value for the industry. For the mining companies, this translates into significant financial advantages for mining and processing.”
Avoiding blasting means avoiding hazards
By using surface miners instead of drilling and blasting, raw materials can also be extracted effectively in the vicinity of residential areas, public roads, villages, rivers or other infrastructure e.g. pipelines or power lines. It is also possible to mine resources located in buffer and safety zones, maximizing bauxite yield within the concession area, generating significant additional revenue for the mine.
In most cases, the planning and execution of blasting operations is associated with considerable effort, high costs and regulatory restrictions. In fact, eliminating drilling and blasting relieves the people responsible of a number of challenges. The Guinean mine operators using surface miners no longer need to spend time obtaining the required permits, hiring certified blasting personnel or compiling the relevant documentation. What is more, dispensing with drilling and blasting has a very positive impact on public opinion, meaning that opencast mining operations can gain wider acceptance.
In addition, Wirtgen machines enable mining companies to improve material quality. The material size produced by these surface miners is ideal for shipment by truck and rail, eliminating the use of the primary crushers commonly used when drilling and blasting.
Factory-level service in Guinea
As Africa’s top bauxite producer, Guinea has increased its production from year to year. In addition to the customized machine equipment, Wirtgen is providing factory-level local customer support through an office in the capital, Conakry, which offers complete on-site services such as technical assistance and service contracts using qualified personnel from Wirtgen’s brand headquarters in Germany. Technical support is provided directly at the mine. The company’s innovative logistics program ensures a smooth provision of original spare and wear parts. Wirtgen experts are also able to support customers around the clock with customized, on-site project planning specially tailored to their needs.