Massive ore handling chutes produced for the Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia's South Gobi region have opened a new expansion window for Murray Mining Services in the country. Previously, it was believed that these huge chutes could not be manufactured locally in Mongolia.
The four 60-70-tonne chutes, designed by Variant Mining Technologies, have been delivered to Oyu Tolgoi in record time. Variant, which has a clear-cut reputation for providing the most technologically advanced loading systems in the world, selected the team at Murray Mining Services to fabricate the chutes for the mine.
"About 50-60% of the equipment and other products used in large mines such as Oyu Tolgoi is made abroad and imported into Mongolia," says MMS CEO, Batkhuu Dorj. "However, we have become a leader in Mongolia's steel fabrication sector because we have produced the world's largest and most heavy-duty underground ore unloading chutes. Inspection and evaluations by international third-party companies have confirmed the chutes meet world standards and requirements."
Batkhuu told a Mongolian newspaper the project was creating new opportunities for skilled local workers. Nearly all of MMS' 80 personnel are Mongolian. The company's 2,700sq.m Ulaanbaatar facility hosts modern, automated equipment such as high-capacity steel cutters, rollers and drills, and can produce 100,000kg of fabricated product a month.
"We mainly engage in steel fabrication, repair, maintenance, lifting devices and steel mining structures," Batkhuu told Today News Mongolia.
"To produce high-quality products that meet international standards, we have been in contact with similar foreign and domestic companies since 2016, and have partnered with Murray Engineering to ensure we meet or exceed these standards."
Batkhuu advised that training and upskilling young Mongolian workers as high-grade welders and manufacturers, and building local industry support capacity, has strategic advantages for the country's economy and mining sector. "Adding value through skilled labour and production at home boosts Mongolia's foreign exchange balance."
Local customers also benefit from cost savings and more timely delivery and support.
Murray forms one-half of the MMS joint venture, and is a leading Australia wide mechanical, electrical engineering and manufacturing company, which was established 15 years ago. Murray saw an opportunity to work with South Gobi Development Corp to manufacture international-standard products and services on the doorstep of Mongolia's South Gobi mega-mines, and other emerging projects in the resource-rich country. MMS now follows in Murray's footsteps, offering world-class, fully certified manufacturing to the mining and energy industries, and is able to fabricate items for world-leading material handling solutions providers such as Variant.
MMS has also had the capacity to hire and train more local people as demand for the company's services grows.
They include women such as welder T. Zoljargal, who said the company was providing new opportunities in Mongolia and she wanted to "show that women can work in any field with no less skill than men".
As well as the long-life, complex chutes used in high-wearing applications deep underground at Oyu Tolgoi, MMS is producing 5-6m tall insulation and ventilation doors for the mine - replacing Chinese imports - and has manufactured and supplied anchors, excavator buckets and sledges, and assembled 30 trays for Komatsu 930E surface dump trucks each with carrying capacity of 300 tons.
Under the guidance of Murray Engineering, the company follows the strict Australian/New Zealand 1554.1 international steel fabrication standard to manufacture and supply high-quality "Mongolian Made" products to the world, with Manufacturers Data Records kept to ensure traceability through the manufacturing process.
Senior QA inspector S. Munkhjargal said standardisation of process and multi-level skilling of workers allowed MMS to guarantee that its products meet international standards and would stand the test of time even in the harshest mining conditions.
"Each day we perform visual inspections on all ongoing projects in the workshop and after the product has passed all visual inspections and hold points we employ a third party non-destructive testing company to test to the appropriate method and standard."
The local newspaper quoted an Oyu Tolgoi quality inspector saying that it was very encouraging "to see such high-quality performance work made in Mongolia".