The Re-Engineering Of The Ground Handling System At Cullinan Diamond Mine

Bester, A. W.
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 14
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2005
Paper written on project work carried out in partial fulfilment of B. Eng. (Mining Eng.) Cullinan Diamond Mine currently handles 3.2 million tons of run of ore per annum. This is done by means of an underground train system, which is located at 763 metre level. Four trains, one in each quarter of the pipe, collect ore from passes and transport it to centrally located tips in the north and south of the pipe. The ore is then split into coarse and fine fractions. The coarse fraction proceeds to the primary crushers in the north and south. Historically, mining has been performed in such a manner that an equal amount of ore has reported to each quarter of the pipe. However, the tonnage profile of the mine will change such that the ore will no longer be split equally. For approximately five years the majority of ore will report to the east and thereafter most of the ore will report to the western portion of the mine. This will continue for the remainder of the current infrastructure level?s operational life. Coupled with this is the fact that the mine is aiming to increase its annual production to 3.8 million tons. The result is that the current ground handling system cannot accommodate the additional tons and therefore alternative ground handling options have been investigated. The continued existence of Cullinan Diamond Mine relies on finding a system that can economically handle the additional tonnage. Three options were investigated. Firstly, a train option, which would be an upgrade of the current system, was investigated. Two truck options were also investigated, the first of which was a conventional truck option. The second truck option was more interesting and involved an unfamiliar Combi truck system. The truck options were investigated primarily due to the fact that the block height of the BA West (a new production block) can be increased by 15 meters if a truck option is decided upon. This would create a significant increase in revenue for the BA West project. Each of the options was assessed in terms of its physical and financial feasibility. In terms of the physical constraints, it was found that all three systems could work. Detailed financial analysis indicated that either of the two truck options would be a suitable solution. However, due to the limited information regarding the Combi truck option, it should be further investigated. This applies particularly to the actual running and maintenance costs for the equipment.
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