Five firsts for �Fat face�

XSTRATA Coal yesterday gave the go-ahead for the longwall face equipment for the Ulan mine. Specified at 400m, this will be the widest longwall face in Australia.
Five firsts for ‘Fat face’ Five firsts for ‘Fat face’ Five firsts for ‘Fat face’ Five firsts for ‘Fat face’ Five firsts for ‘Fat face’

Joy's RS20s control system

Staff Reporter

Xstrata awarded the $90 million turnkey contract to Joy Mining Machinery for roof supports, AFCs, pump stations, electrical and monorail systems for the Ulan mine in New South Wales.

At 400m wide the face will be the widest Joy has ever supplied and incorporates the first current generation 2m wide shields for Australia. This will also be the first 50mm broadband low profile chain to be used on an AFC. Joy released the chain to the market last year (see related article.) The AFC/BSL will be the first 3,750kW system in Australia.

The deal also includes a five year equipment life cycle maintenance and service agreement, also a first for an Australian mine.

“The decision to proceed with the installation of a new, state-of-the-art longwall system reflects Xstrata Coal’s long-term commitment to Ulan, the Mudgee region and the State of New South Wales,” Peter Coates, Chief Executive Xstrata Coal, said.

“This system will allow Ulan to maintain its position as one of the State’s leading exporters of thermal coal, following the long-foreshadowed closure of the Ulan open cut mining operations at the end of 2007. This investment ensures the future of Ulan coal mine for at least another 20 years.

“I would like to congratulate Joy Mining on their successful tender and we look forward to working together with them on this important project.”

Mick Buffier, Chief Operating Officer Xstrata Coal NSW, said due the increase in face width from 250 m to 400m would decrease the ratio of underground roadway development metres to longwall tonnes of coal mined. This, together with an expected 9% in productivity improvements, will result in an overall reduction in mining costs.

“The first of its kind in Australia and incorporating world best practice technology, the system is capable of producing in excess of 5.5 million tonnes each year, with the longwall shields designed to last the life of the Ulan underground mine.”

The signing of this contract marks the end of two years of thorough study and research, as well as an extensive approvals process and tender evaluation. The new system is expected to be in operation in November 2005.

Xstrata Coal owns 90% of Ulan Coal Mines, encompassing underground and open cut mining operations, and also manages the operation. Joint Venture partner Mitsubishi Development holds the remaining 10%.

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