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MEI Online: Commodities: Metallic Ores: Copper: Latest News: May 19th 2010


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:: Doubling the Capacity with Metso

Situated close to the Ural mountains, which divide Russia into the European and Asian sides, the Gaiskiy GOK copper-zinc mine celebrates the 50th anniversary of its mining operations. The jubilee year also includes the start of the installation work on two new Metso mills, which will contribute to the doubling of the mine's production during the coming years.

Metso has cooperated closely with Gaiskiy GOK for several years. The present mining machinery at the mine site comprises of a number of Metso equipment, from underground primary crushing to flotation process tanks.

The doubling of Gaiskiy GOK's capacity from 4 to 8 million tonnes per year will have a vital impact on the mine's profitability, and will also help the holding company Ural Mining Metallurgical Company (UMMC) to extend its raw material resources base. "We appreciate Metso as a valued partner"

According to Alexander Viktorovich Saraskin, Director of the Gaiskiy GOK mine, the demanding project, which aims at doubling the mine's capacity, was started in 2006, and will be completed by 2012. "Now, with some 60% of the project already completed, we appreciate Metso as a valued partner, one of the best performers in this project. In addition to providing us with state-of-the art mining equipment, Metso helps us to implement studies to improve the whole minerals extraction process," he comments. "We are confident that we will achieve successful project compilation for the doubled production during 2012. Gaiskiy GOK, with its unique process flow design, will surely become an icon within the Russian mining industry," he adds.

Going deeper with the mine extension

Today the ore is extracted mainly from the underground mine, reaching down to a level of 860 meters. With the mine expansion, new production levels are being opened down to 1,000 meters.

Gaiskiy GOK uses the chamber mining method, where the chamber height to be mined is 80 meters. After blasting, the ore is fed into four Nordberg C140 jaw crushers. The copper-zinc ore is very abrasive. The jaws have already processed over 10 million tonnes of ore in seven years.

The extension project doubling the mine's production means that a number of measures will take place in both Gaiskiy GOK's underground and surface operations. In the underground mine, some of Metso's jaw crushers will be relocated deeper, and a new shaft for the lifting of ore will be built.

After the secondary crushers, a new tertiary Nordberg HP500 cone crusher will be added to achieve better sized feed for the grinding mills. Energy-wise, crushing requires less energy than grinding. "We are satisfied with the Metso crushers that are running 18 shifts of 56 hours a week. The first jaws installed in 2001 have already crushed over 10 million tonnes of ore. One of the main benefits of these jaw crushers is the possibility to disassemble and move the units where needed underground" notes Andrey Vladimirovich Kharkov, Director of the underground mine. "Original Metso wear parts last three times longer".

At the 860-meter level below the surface, the blackish copper ore disappears quickly into the cavity of Metso's jaw crushers, fed by specially-designed feeders.

"Concerning the jaw wear parts, we compared several domestic manufacturers against Metso's original parts. The results were very clear: with Russian-made wears, we could crush only about 150,000 tonnes, but with the Metso parts up to 470,000 tonnes," says Vladimir Viktorovich Korpachev, Chief Mechanical Engineer of the mine. "Since then, we have been supplied regularly with the Metso wears thanks to their superior durability and better overall economy. In fact, I can frankly recommend that everybody use original parts only because of their high quality, providing much longer replacement times," he adds.

The processing of ore will be modernized and simplified. Instead of four grinding stages with several smaller, energy-consuming mills, the new process only includes two stages. Metso SAG and a ball mill will play a central role in grinding. In addition, several old flotation cells and pumps included in the process will be replaced by new ones. It is quite possible that they will be Metso flotation cells and pumps. "With the new equipment, our process becomes smoother, more homogenized and predictable. It also helps us to add to our process capacity and achieve better recovery," stresses Sergey Aleksandrovich Zamaraev, Director of the concentrator.

Bright future ahead

With the modern mining technology installed and its skilled personnel, the future of the Gaiskiy GOK mine looks bright. The presently known ore reserves guarantee mining operations for over 50 years. The company is also searching for new deposits nearby.




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