Horne Conveyance Safety, the Canadian subsidiary of South African Horne Group, has installed Levelok chairing and emergency-braking systems on a cage earmarked for Canada-based international mining company Ivanhoe Mines’ Oyu Tolgoi No 1 shaft, in Mongolia.
The cage will be used to transport personnel and equipment in the shaft.
Horne’s order was manufactured by the group’s Johannesburg factory over six weeks, and was shipped to North America on January 14 for supervised installation on the Canadian-manufactured mine cage. The technical development of a solution for the Oyu Tolgoi application was also undertaken at the factory.
Horne management consultant Eric Bruggeman says manufacturing and transporting of the system was the easy part of the project. He identified the commissioning of the system as the biggest challenge to be faced by Horne.
This, he says, is because the Horne staff are not familiar with Mongolia or its workshops. The mine workshop will be used for the commissioning of the system.
“We are sending Horne staff from South Africa to undertake commission- ing and final testing of the system. This is expected to take place in September,” he says.
He also notes that, while they will train the staff at the mine to carry out the daily checks on the system, staff from South Africa will be sent to Mongolia to perform maintenance work on the system, like the stripping and checking of parts.
“We shipped some spares along with the system but, for the next five years at least, we will be sending our staff to Mongolia to carry out the maintenance work on the system.”
The Horne Levelok system was chosen for Oyu Tolgoi because it provides controlled deceleration when operating on the steel shaft guides used in the project.
Additionally, Mongolian mining regu- lations require an emergency braking system that can arrest the fall of a mine cage carrying personnel if rope failure occurs.
Levelok satisfies both stipulations and further provides a chairing function to overcome the challenge of stretch in the winder rope when heavy materials are loaded.
The ability to provide safe, controlled deceleration on steel guides is unique to this product. Competing technologies have been able to provide safe deceleration only when used with shaft guides made from timber.
The Levelok system has additional enhanced safety features and a proven 30-year record. Amongst these features is the fact that no part of the system pro- jects out into the shaft, thereby eliminating the danger of shaft interference or obstruction.
Further, interlocking with the hoist circuit prevents inadvertent activation of the cage, and prevents the danger of the system activating while hoisting is taking place. Conveyance is secured firmly at the front and rear of the cage, and all clamps are applied simultaneously to eliminate the risk of the chair, chain or lug becoming disengaged.
Oyu Tolgoi, or Turquoise Hill, is an openpit and underground project located in Mongolia’s south Gobi desert, about 550 km south of the capital city, Ulaanbaatar.
Oyu Tolgoi has been identified as the world’s biggest undeveloped copper/gold project, and is being developed as a joint venture between Ivanhoe Mines, Rio Tinto and the Mongolian government.
Commercial production is scheduled to begin in the first half of 2013.