The move will increase the number of Eimco miners in use in Australian collieries from six to ten.
The first Dash-3 arrives in Australia on April 14 and will be fitted with electrical components, radios and scrubber which will take around four weeks.
Service manager Paul MacDonald said while Eimco had not yet received any firm orders for the miners, the risk to Eimco was low because of the recent rash of new contracts, such as the Southland mining contract won by Thiess. MacDonald said Eimco has received many recent enquiries for continuous miners. There are currently six Eimco Dash-3 miners in service in Australian mines.
The remaining three Dash-3 miners will be shipped in May, July and August.
In related company news, Eimco is preparing a second-hand ABM20 miner for a trial run of the rapid roadway development project being lead by CSIRO.
MacDonald said this will be the first Australian miner fitted with the Mark 3 upgrade, which has been available for 12 months but not yet retrofitted to any machine.
The upgrade is capable of doubling the load-out capacity of current miners, achieved by an additional two 36kW motors and associated gearboxes. In South African mines Eimco miners with the Mark 3 upgrade were taking 20 seconds to load a shuttle car, MacDonald said, compared with 2-2.5 minutes achieved in many Australian mines.
MacDonald said equipment was not going to deliver a step-change in development production rates. He said problems with rates are associated with the support systems, such as materials handling, consumables and bolting equipment on miners.