Blakefield gets revving with 11kV motor

XSTRATA’S new Blakefield longwall in the Hunter Valley is finding success with a custom-designed, first-of-its-kind mining motor.
Blakefield gets revving with 11kV motor Blakefield gets revving with 11kV motor Blakefield gets revving with 11kV motor Blakefield gets revving with 11kV motor Blakefield gets revving with 11kV motor

The Blakefield South minibuild.

Angie Tomlinson

The 11,000-volt motor, designed and manufactured by Yorkshire-based ATB Morley, weighs 10 tonnes and stands as the largest underground mining motor in the world.

Traditionally, most large electrical motors supplied for underground coal mining have been manufactured suitable for a maximum voltage of 3300V.

Blakefield, which will take over production from Xstrata’s Beltana operation, has done extensive testing of much of its equipment.

According to ATB Morley, results from performance testing on the motor confirmed that moving from 3300V to 11kV has been a hugely successful and beneficial decision for Xstrata.

“The increase in supply voltage reduces motor currents at these higher than normal power levels, leading to reduced cabling and voltage transformation issues,” the manufacturer said.

“The motor also reduces the likelihood of the motor causing issues with the electrical supply in other parts of the mine, particularly during starting.”

The mine’s new Joy armoured face conveyor was tested over a two-month period at the end of last year. This included stalling the output of the Voith TTT coupling to establish the maximum power of the motor.

“This truly is the world’s most powerful AFC,” Xstrata principal electrical engineer Peter Henderson said.

The $A375 million Blakefield operation is targeting 4 million tonnes per annum of thermal coal production.

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