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P.O. BOX 625002 LITTLETON. COLORADO 80162-5002
S. A. Jeric
Phelps Dodge Morenci, Inc.
Morenci, AZ
M. J. Hrebar
Colorado School of Mines
Golden, CO
For presentation at the SME Annual Meeting
Denver, Colorado - February 24-27, 1997
Permission is hereby given to publish with appropriate acknowledgments, excerpts or
summaries not to exceed one-fourth of the entire text of the paper. Permission to print in more
extended form subsequent to publication by the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration
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If and when this paper is published by the SME, it may embody certain changes made by
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Current year preprints are available for sale from the SME, Preprints, P.O. Box 625002,
Littleton, CO 80162-5002 (303-973-9550). Prior year preprints may be obtained from the Linda
Hall Library, 5109 Cherry Street, Kansas City, M064110-2498 (800)662-1545.
In-pit crushing and conveying of waste
has been utilized in the mining industry for over
30 years. In recent years, innovations in
crushing, conveying, and particularly waste and
leach stacking technology have sparked a
renewed interest in continuous haulage systems
for large-scale open pit applications. A review
afthe advantages/disadvantages and operating
techniques of crushers, feeders, conveyors, and
stacking systems currently available is made.
The paper examines some operations that are
currently using large scale continuous haulage
systems. Finally, a case study is presented that
evaluates the application of a continuous waste
haulage system in a large open pit mine in the
Western United States, The case study includes
a economic comparison with the existing truck
haulage system.
The transport of ore and/or waste
material in hard-rock mines generally falls into
two separate categories: conventional truck
haulage and continuous conveyor haulage.
These haulage methods are interchangeable to
various degrees in order to attain the most cost
effective and flexible system for the
requirements of a particular mine.
In nearly all large-scale hard rock
applications of in-pit conveying, where more
than one face is being mined and fully mobile
crushers are not applicable, some degree of
intermediate conventional truck haulage is
required. The resulting haulage configuration is
dependent on the mobility of the in-pit crusher,
the frequency of crusher moves relative to the
advancing shovel face(s), and, consequently, the
transport distance from the shovel face( s) to the
crusher location in the pit. For waste and leach
material haulage, stacking systems consisting of
a transfer station, a shiftable or mobile
conveyor, and a tripper and boom spreader have
enabled mines to use in-pit crushing and
conveying systems.
In general, conveying for surface mines
is considered suitable for either new mines with
substantial tonnages of ore and waste and
medium-distance hauls of over 2 miles, or well
established mines possessing aging truck fleets
and large vertical climbs out of the pit (Cabrera,
1983). Longer life mines generally favor
conveyors over trucks due to their longer
economic life.
High capacity conveyors for open pit
mines are now capable of transporting material
at rates of over 11,000 tph at speeds up to 1,200
ft/min. Steel cable reinforced belts are available
in standard widths of 72 inches with tension
ratings in excess of 6000 lb/inch width. With
the development of high capacity belts, single
vertical lifts of over 2000 feet are achievable.
Conveyors generally can run efficiently up to
17 (30%) slope angles.
The main components for high tonnage
conveyors include steel reinforced belting,
idlers, drives, pulleys, tables, tension take-up
mechanisms, and a braking system. The
selection of conveyor components is generally a
function of vertical lift, capacity, material type,
system availability, and capital and maintenance .
The principal economic and operating
advantages of belt conveyors over truck haulage
o Grades of up to 30 percent maybe attained
by belt conveyors without any lost efficiency
compared to the recommended 8 percent
for trucks.
o Due to conveyors ability to climb steeper
grades, haul distances are much shorter,
and, in some instances, the required
stripping can be reduced.
o Preventive maintenance for conveyors can
result in high overall availability of up to
98%, low overall maintenance costs,
minimal spare part inventories, and an
overall reduction of the maintenance
operation (Cabrera, 1983).
o Conveyors require a smaller workforce than
for equivalent production with truck
o Conveyors have a longer economic life than
trucks with up to 25 years of operation
reported (Cabrera, 1983).
o Conveyors have low per ton operating costs
and power requirements, with 80% of the
energy consumption expended solely for
payload transportation.
The limitations and disadvantages for conveyor
haulage in an open pit mine include:
o The feed size for conveyors is generally
limited to material less than 1/3 operating
belt width, thus requiring in-pit crushing in
most mining situations. This results in an
additional cost for haulage that would not
be allocated with conventional truck
o Generally higher initial investment costs are
associated with in-pit conveying systems.
o Conveyors require more sophisticated mine
planning to limit required moves and
maximize proper utilization of system.
o Conveyors are less flexible to changing
mine plans and changing production rates.
o If not properly planned, conveyors can
cause potential sterilization of reserves and
an interruption of the natural progression of
mining the next best ore.
o Grade control and material separation is
very restricted and complicated, requiring
sophisticated planning and costly transfer
stations and stockpiles.
o Conveyors require a permanent, stable wall
or underground tunnel in order to avoid
numerous and costly conveyor relocations.
High Angle Conveyors
High angle conveyors (HAC) were first
successfully developed in the 1980's in order to
provide mine operators with a more flexible and
sometimes more economic alternative to both
trucking and conventional in-pit conveying.
The most promising HAC design was developed
by Continental Conveyor, which uses the
sandwich belt principle where ordinary rubber
belts and idlers sandwich the conveyed material
and transport it directly up the mine face, as
illustrated in Figure 1. The system is reported to
have capacities up to 15,000 tph and can lift
material up 90 slopes.
The highest tonnages achieved in a
working mine with a high angle conveyor is at
the Majdapek Copper mine in the former
Yugoslavia in which 4000 tph is being conveyed
up a 35.5 high-wall a total of 300 vertical feet
(lA. dos Santos, 1988). Annual savings in
operating cost for the High Angle Conveyor
system over truck haulage are estimated at $1.9
M (Reisler and Stanisic, 191H).
The application of HAC's for a
particular mining scenario is dependent on the
material feed size and characteristics, required
lift, slope stability along conveyor route,
throughput, estimated availability, and capital
and operational costs of the system. Also .
maintenance access to the conveyor can be a
critical factor for some mines.
One of the primary benefits of the high
angle system is the ability to transport mined
material with very minimal (if any) excavation,
as would normally occur in constructing truck or
conveyor ramps. Furthermore, the system
allows more flexibility to mine design due to the
reduction of tied up pit walls with ex-pit ramps.
High capital costs, lack of proven operating
experience, and limited lift and capacity for high
tonnages of coarse, in-pit material are reported
as the main deterrents for their widespread
adoption in hard rock open pit mining
(Atkinson, 1992).
- -"--.
Fig. I-Modular High Angle Conveying System
Source: Mining Technology, April 1991.
Waste Dump Conveying and Stacking
Under certain conditions, continuous
waste and leach stacking systems can provide
mines with significant cost savings due to large
reductions in haul truck fleets used on long ex-
pit (external to pit) hauls. The most beneficial
scenario for continuous haulage is for large
tonnage mines possessing high strip ratios or
high tonnages of leach material, large vertical
ascents outofthe pit, and long overland
transport distances both to and on the dump
itself. Also a large, level dump configuration
that permits long lateral cycles with minimal
movement of the stacking conveyor and transfer
station is required for effective continuous
There are predominantly two basic
methods for stacking. The first method, which
was developed in the open pit coal industry in
Germany, uses shiftable conveyors that consist
of portable sleeper-mounted conveyor
framework modules mounted on a jointed rail.
The conveyors are shifted sideways by
"snakelike" bending of the rail using a crane
suspended shifter head mounted on a dozer that
pulls the entire conveyor to the side, as
illustrated in Figure 2. While the conveyor is
being shifted, the operation of the system is
temporarily discontinued. The head and tail
stations are skid mounted and are relocated with
either a tractor or crawler transporter depending
on the size. Modules can be added or eliminated
to the conveyor to lengthen or shorten the flights
as needed to fit the configuration of the dump
(Krupp Industries, 1994).
Fig. 2-Shiftable Conveyor Being Shifted
Laterally With Bulldozer.
Source: Kennedy,1990.
A crawler mounted boom stacker
(illustrated in Figure 3) is fed with either a
crawler or rail mounted tripper car with a
slewing discharge boom that travels along the
shiftable conveyor. The stacker is composed of
either two or three conveyors which can be
raised or lowered independently to adjust the
stacking discharge height. This allows the
stacker to operate in both an advance mode,
where waste is discharged onto the slope just
below the advancing top edge of the dump, or in
retreat mode in which waste is lifted up to the
next highest lift. This permits the system to
stack at a higher overall lift than in a normal
advance along the dump face, thus minimizing
the effective movement of the shiftable
conveyor. Waste stacking systems with shiftable
conveyors have been used for over 30 years and
are considered well proven in operations
worldwide (yu, 1990).
Fig. 3-Crawler Mounted Boom Stacker Using
Advance Stacking Method.
Source: Krupp Industries, 1994.
A second stacking method first
developed in the United States utilizes a rail
mounted mobile tripper on a crawler mounted
mobile bridge conveyor (illustrated in Figure 4).
The system, which has been used in industry for
19 years, was first applied predominantly in
gold heap leach applications due to the system's
minimal amount of compaction ofleaching
material. However, high tonnage leach and
waste mobile stacking conveyor (MSC) systems
are presently being applied in South American
copper operations (Mining Engineering, April
1996). Present systems are now capable of
10,000 tons per hour stacking capacity. The
system can be operated in either an advance or
retreat stacking mode (RAHco International,
1996). Maximum single lift dump heights of
over 600 :ft are achievable with the system,
depending on the geotechnical properties of the
dump (Baker, by correspondence, 1996).
The mobile stacking conveyor consists
of a self-propelled conveyor with a traveling
tripper. Material is transferred onto the MSC
from a fixed conveyor or a mobile tripper. The
material is carried along the mobile conveyor
and is then transferred onto the traveling tripper
which discharges the material. Material can
bypass the traveling tripper and be sent out to
the end ofthe conveyor. The mobile conveyor
consists of multiple frame sections that may be
added or subtracted to fit changes on the dump.
The tripper travels upon crane rails along the
length of the MSC system. The operation is
able to continue production during conveyor
moves. The system also possesses a leveling
system which permits the system to travel up
and down grades while keeping the conveyor
and stacker level. This allows the system to
continue operation while climbing or
descending on dump lifts. Overall length of the
MSC is presently limited to approximately 2400
feet (Baker, by correspondence, 1996).
Either system can provide extremely
low operating costs in the range of 1 to 2 cents
per ton with high productivity and availability
under proper conditions. Availability for both
systems is estimated at 98% (Brenker and
Baker, personal correspondence, 1996).
However, utilization for shiftable conveyors is
generally lower since the conveyor cannot
operate while being laterally shifted. In
addition, a separate cost must be considered for
dozers to shift sections of the conveyor (Baker,
personal correspondence, 1996). The
disadvantages for both continuous waste
stacking systems include high initial capital
investment, limited flexibility for material
segregation, and the requirements for some
dump preparation prior to installation to provide
large even surface areas for efficient operation.
Fig. 4-Typical Mobile Stacking Conveyor
System Performing Advance Stacking
Source: RAHco International, 1995.
There are two primary arrangements
used for shiftable and mobile conveying on
dumps. First, a radial stacking configuration
where the shiftable conveyor rotates in a semi-
circular ard anchored from a pivoting drive
station illustrated in Figure 5. The radial
configuration can also be used to construct
circular sweeps to advance the dump in
approximately a rectangular configuration, as
illustrated in Figure 6. A lateral design is
illustrated in Figure 7 in which the shiftable
conveyor runs perpendicular to a crossing
conveyor at the dump base. A combination of
both lateral and radial stacking can be utilized
to closely match a wide variety of dump
configurations, as illustrated in Figure 8.
MSC T.lppcr
Fig.5- Stacker Contructing Radial Dump.
Source: RAHco International, 1995.
Fig.6-Stacker Constructing Rectangular Dump
With Radial Stacking
Source: RAHco International, 1995.



Fig. 7- Stacker Constructing Rectangular Dump
With Lateral Stacking.
Source: RAHco International, 1995.
Fig.8-Combined Lateral and Radial Stacking on
Source: RAHco International, 1995.
In-Pit Crushing Systems
In-pit crushers are classified by the
mobility of the crusher. This ranges from fully
mobile crushers that continuously follow the
advancing working face, to permanent crushers,
which require increasing truck travel distances
with expansion of the mine over time. Mobile
crusher is a generic term for any crusher that
may be moved. The crushing plant is mounted
on a frame base that is either a complete stand-
alone unit or that can be disassembled into
modules for transport. The in-pit crushing
systems can be moved either on skids, with a
crawler, or with a wheeled or walking
transporter. The mobile crushing plant
generally includes a hopper, feeder, crusher, and
discharge conveyor, along with built-in
electrical, mechanical, and auxiliary systems
(Frizzel and Martin, 1992).
The crusher size for in-pit conveying is
dependent on the type of material being crushed,
feed size, output size, and selected capacity for
the entire system. As a general rule, maximum
particle size for conveyed material should not
exceed 30% of belt width (Frizzel and Martin,
1992). Fourteen inch feed is usually considered
maximum size for 72 inch steep inclined
conveyors in hard rock (Bailey, by
correspondence, 1996).
For large in-pit applications in hard
rock mines with throughputs in excess of 3000
tph, gyratory crushers are the most preferable
due to their high throughput, ability to handle a
large range of feed size, and relatively high
reliability. As of 1989, 11 of the 16 in-pit
crushing installations with capacities in excess
of 4,000 tph were gyratory crushers in the 54175,
60/89, and 60/109 inch size class. The largest
throughput being attained with a single crusher
is 9 600 mtlh at the Chuquicamata mine in
Chile using a 60/109 gyratory crusher with four
dump pockets and two indirect feeders
illustrated in Figure 9.
Figure 9: Chuquicamata 9000 tph Movable
Waste Crushing Plan with 4 Side Dumping
Source: Kropp Industries, 1995.
Crusher Feeder Systems
The two primary methods for feeding
in-pit crushing plants are direct feed and
indirect feed. The proper selection in feeder
configuration for a particular mining situation is
determined with consideration of the crusher
feed size, system availability, crusher
throughput, crusher and truck utilization,
material characteristics, bench height, frequency
of crusher re-Iocations, and capital costs.
The direct feeder system involves haul
trucks dumping into a crusher feed hopper,
which usually has a two truck capacity
(commonly 400 tons). The bin is either located
by excavating a notch in the bench with concrete
and earth reinforcement or using a dump-bridge
for trucks to access the crusher, as illustrated in
Figure 10. Dual dumping of trucks is possible
with the direct feed method. Advantages for
using direct crusher feeding include lower
capital costs, simplified operation, and higher
availability due to the elimination of a moving
feed mechanism.
Figure 10: Direct Feed Mobile Crusher with
Dump Bridge
Source: Utley and Laidlaw, 1984.
However, there are some drawbacks to
direct feeding. Utilization of crushers generally
are lower due to lack of crusher feed control,
limited capacity in the feed bin and limited
dump points. Problems also occur if two trucks
simultaneously dump fine material that passes
right through the crusher. The large surge in
fine material can overload the bottom discharge
conveyor causing a backup and packing of the
crusher. Direct feed also requires a 15 to 30 foot
higher crusher installation to provide room for
bottom surge, which might conflict with the
bench heights of many mines (typically around
20 ft for gold, 50 ft in copper mines).
Constructing a notch in a bench for a crusher
bin is also not advised ifbench slope stability is
an issue (Johnson, 1982).
Indirect feeding of crushers can be
performed using either overlapping flight apron
feeders, vibrating feeders, or belt feeders, to
provide regulated feed to the crusher. Indirect
feeding of crushers provides higher throughputs
than direct feeding, and usually has lower
installation costs due to the elimination of a
bench slot for the crusher bin. Systems have
been developed with dual feeders that can
permit up to four trucks to dump
simultaneously. This is important for achieving
throughputs approaching 10,000 tph from a
single crushing plant (Utley, by correspondence,
Capacity, crusher and truck utilization,
and crusher bench configurations are the main
consideration for selecting indirect feeding
systems. Generally, operating and maintenance
costs are higher than for a direct feed system due
to the additional mechanical component of a
feeder. However, indirect systems have a lower
profile and feeders may be inclined from a lower
bench level, making the system more compatible
to a mine's bench configuration.
Figure 11: Indirect Feed Mobile Crusher with
Inclined Apron Feeder.
Source: Utley and Laidlaw, 1984.
The apron feeder is the most commonly
used feeding mechanism for in-pit crushing
applications due to its rugged construction and
its ability to start up with a heavy load. The
apron feeder is similar to a crawler tread with
fabricated steel or heavy cast plates, which carry
feed directly from the hopper into the gyratory
crusher. It is preferable to keep a layer of rock
on top of the feeder to cushion the impact from
truck dumping cycles.
Vibrating feeders have a flat vibrating
pan that can handle up to 6000 tph. Belt feeders
have increased in usage in recent years due to
advances in materials used .. Belts are two to
three inches thick constructed with fabric or
steel cable reinforcement. Belt feeders are
considerably cheaper to purchase and maintain
than apron feeders and require less cleanup
(Frizzel and Martin 1992).
Scalpers and Grizzlies
The use of scalpers and grizzlies can
have application in certain situations in which
there is a large percentage of conveyab1e
material in the run-of-mine feed. Grizzlies have
been used to increase throughputs for crushers
by allowing large proportions of undersized feed
to pass directly on the belt with remaining
oversized material being directed through the
In-pit scalpers are also applicable for
materials that contain only a small portion of
oversized feed. A high capacity scalper as
illustrated in Figure 14, requires apron feeders
to provide regulated feed in order to be effective.
Separate handling of coarse oversize is generally
done with front-end loaders. This operation is
reported as difficult and expensive due to hard
digability in blocky oversized waste-piles
(Kutschera, 1992).
As of 1992, capital costs for 4,400 tph
scalping plants are estimated at $4.8 million
with operating costs of 7-14 cents per ton.
Operating and maintenance costs are estimated
to be slightly less than gyratory crushers of
equal capacity, while similar labor costs and
power consumption between a gyratory
crusher's apron feeder and a scalper can be
expected. However, increased re-handling of
oversized material can quickly escalate the total
operating costs for a scalping system
(Kutschera, 1992).
Large Scale Continuous Haulage Systems
The Sierrita property is located 30 mi.
south of Tucson and is a low-grade copper-
molybdenum orebody. In 1981, Sierrita
operated three movable 60-89 gyratory crushers
with apron feeders, five 12-inch ore belts with a
total distance of 16,000 ft, and four separate
sections of waste belting totaling 8000 ft. Total
production using crushing and conveying at the
time was 250,000 tpd, with ore accounting for
92,000 tpd. The waste belting includes a
movable stacker belt located on the waste
dumps, which is moved by bulldozers
approximately 65 meters every 60 to 90 days.
Sierrita was the first large open-pit
mine in the United States to utilize movable
crusher technology. In 1983, Duval (the
original mine operators) transformed its existing
haulage system, which used stationary in-pit ore
crushing and conveying, into mobile in-pit
crushing with extendIble conveyors for hauling
ore and waste. The average relocation time for
the crusheris 48 hours at a cost oUI million.
Total capital investment in the system as of
1984 was estimated at $32 million. The
portable crusher system was reported to have
saved $.29/ton hauled out of the pit, lowered per
shift truck requirements from 24 to 14 trucks,
and reduced the overall operating costs over the
first 10 years of operation by over $120 million.
In addition, truck purchases were to decrease
37%, saving an added $23 million in capital
costs (Sassos, 1984).
Kennecott Bingham Canyon
Kennecott's Bingham Can):on copper
mine is located approximately 25 miles
southwest of Salt Lake City, Utah. Between
1986 and 1988, as part of a $400 million
modernization program to lower operational
costs, Kennecott installed a semi-mobile in-pit
crushing and conveying system for ore to
replace much of its outdated rail system. The
60-109 gyratory crusher has a 10,000 tph
throughput and is situated on a concrete
foundation notched inside a 30 meter high
double bench and supported by earth reinforced
walls. The bench is located on the same
elevation as the tunnel portal.
Actual realized capacity is around 6000
tph due to its direct feed configuration which
has a capacity of 780 yd'3. The ore bin has two
dump slots for the 170-ton trucks which dump
independently. The system uses a 3.7 mile
tunnel previously used for rail haulage to route
the 12-in conveyor from the pit to the
concentrator stockpile. A total of six conveyors
with a total length of 5.3 miles are used with a
total installed drive power of 17,500 Hp (Kaerst,
Phelps Dodge Morenci
Phelps Dodge's Morenci Mine, located
200 miles east of Phoenix, Arizona installed a
120,000 tpd in-pit ore crushing and conveying
system in 1989 at an estimated cost of $43
million. The system uses two 60-89 in. semi-
portable in-pit crushing stations, each having
8000 tph capacity, along with three inclined and
two downhill regenerative conveyors. An
intermediate surge pile with a 9000 tph capacity
is used to increase overall system utilization. As
of 1993, the system was designed to be
permanent for ten years (Dowall and Linde,
Highland Valley Copper
Highland Valley Copper is located 140
miles northeast of Vancouver in British
Columbia. The present ore conveying system
has a capacity of 143,000 tpd using in-pit
crushing from two 60-89 semi-mobile gyratory
crushing plants. The duplicate crushing and
conveying systems are arranged in parallel. The
conveyors are designed as modules, simplifying
lengthening and shortening of conveyors. Total
capital costs for the system in 1987 was C$46.4
million. For the first ten years of operation,
savings in operating costs were estimated at 25
cents/ton, which is expected to increase to 37
cents/ton. Also a truck fleet reduction of 18
190-ton trucks is expected with savings of
C$18.2 The un-discounted pay-back is reported
at 7.2 years with a return on investment of
10.3%. The second 10 year period estimates a
C$160 million saving with expenditures of C$15
million (MacPhail and Richards, 1994).
Codelco's Chuquicamata mine in
Chile, wIllch is presently the world's largest
copper mine, commissioned a waste in-pit
crushing and conveying system in 1991. The
semi-mobile crusher is presently the largest for
waste handling in the world, with an average
handling rate of 9000 mtph. Six 60-in width
conveyors carry waste material 1.5 km up an
incline, 2.3 km overland, 1.1 km downhill and
1.24 km along the shiftable conveyor on the
dump (Januschenck and Papajewski, 1992).
The crushing plant is comprised of four
modules: two apron feeders, one crushing
module, and one discharge conveyor. This
configuration allows haul trucks to discharge
waste rock into two separate feed bins, each with
a 540 ton (1080 m
) capacity. The system
allows both a higher truck utilization rate due to
reduced queue times, and higher crusher
utilization due to consistently controlled feed to
the crusher. Also the configuration has the
ability to sustain partial production during
individual feeder maintenance shutdowns.
Capital cost for the crushing plant was $21
million in 1990.
Palabora Copper Mine
The Palabora copper mine of South
Africa, faced with an escalation in fuel prices of
320% between 1980 and 1985, and increasing
mining rates due to a pit expansion, has used
both trolley assist and in-pit crushing/conveying
to offset haulage costs. A trolley assist truck
haulage system was implemented in 1981 with
an internal rate of return estimated at 102% and
net present value cash flow of R152 million
(1980 terms) (Gliddon and Wade, 1988).
In addition, a 91,800 tpd in-pit
crushing and conveying system for ore through
an underground incline was commissioned in
1988 (partially due to plans to develop high
grade underground reserves). Waste will
continue to be hauled primarily using
conventional trolley assisted trucks. A series of
underground inclines that will be constructed in
three phases as the pit advances in depth. Initial.
estimates for pay-back are at four years with an
internal rate of return of almost 20%. Economic
savings include a reduct;ion of 14 trucks and
reduced diesel and trolley assisted electric
consumption (Gliddon and Wade, 1988). As of
1995 it is estimated that a further 46% energy
savn:g will be made by conveying ore from the
in-pit crusher compared with trucking under
trolley assist (Mining Magazine, 1995).
Majdanpek Copper Mine
The Majdanpek Copper mine, located
in the former Yugoslavia, is known for being the
first mine to use high angle conveyor (HAC)
technology in an open pit hard rock mine. The
high angle conveyor elevates 4000 tph of
material out of the pit over a vertical height of
295 ft at 35.5.
In addition, the mine uses two semi-
mobile 60-89 in-pit crushers with 3000 mtlhr
capacities that load 6000 tph capacity belts
exiting the pit to an 8000 tph continuous waste
haulage system This system consists of a 1.3
km long slewing shiftable conveyor with a
tripper that transfers waste onto the crawler-
mounted spreader on the primary dump. A
transfer system is centrally located to route ore
to the mill and waste to the dump, thus
eliminating duplication of systems for separate
material routing. Total accumulated savings
due to the in-pit crushing and conveying system
in comparison to truck only haulage is estimated
at US$142 million by year 2002 (Dos Santos,
Case Study
A pre-feasibility study was made on the
application of continuous waste haulage in a
large surface metal mine. The mine, located in
the Western U.S., produces 400,000 tpd. Of ore
and waste. The time frame for the study is 1998
to projected end of mining in 2010. Currently a
fleet of76 190 ton trucks are operated in the
mine with peak projected fleet size occurring in
2001 at 88 190 ton trucks. Conditions favorable
for installing an in-pit crushing system with
interconnecting conveyors to a continuous
mobile stacking system on the waste dump
D High waste strip ratios of approximately 18
to 1 through life of mine.
D Haul times approaching 50 minutes for
most adverse hauls to dump during life of
mine with present haulage system.
D High vertical ascent from pit to dump
locations ranging from 410 to 2070 feet.
D A net reduction of approximately 11,750 ft
of adverse grade ramp is provided by
proposed conveyor system.
D Availability of permanent wall for location
of long standing crusher and conveyor
D Large surface area on dump for effective
deployment of continuous or shiftable
stacking system.
D Large truck fleet replacement and
expansion scheduled with current haulage
system in 1998 and 1999.
Difficulties for installing a continuous waste
haulage system include:
D Slope stability constraints due to susceptibly
active pit walls limit potential surface and
underground conveyor routes.
D Limited locations for crusher and
subsequent crusher re-Iocations.
D Large one time capital expenditure.
D Reduced pit design flexibility over life of
The methodology used in the study
follows: 1) Determination of potential crusher
and conveyor locations. 2) Evaluation of mine
waste types and tonnages suitable for continuous
haulage. 3) Selection of optimal capacity for the
crushing-conveying-stacking system. 4) Truck
simulation to determine yearly effects of waste
crushing and conveying on truck fleet size and
operating costs. 5) Economic cost analysis of
truck haulage versus conveyor haulage.
It was determined in this preliminary
assessment that the application of in-pit
conveyor haulage of waste was technically
feasible from 1998 to 2009 with a 60 million
tons per year average capacity. In addition, the
deployment of a continuous haulage system
could achieve significant cost savings in waste
haulage costs of approximately $0.32/ton due to
an estimated average reduction of 27 trucks per
year. Estimated truck reductions from reduced
cycle times to an in-pit <ifllsher location was
calculated using truck haulage simulation
methodology currently employed by mine
engineering . The large initial capital
expenditure for the conveying system was
determined to be offset by the reduction in
haulage operating costs for waste material
transported from the lowest/portion in the mine.
Net capital outlay for the conveyor system is
lessened by the subsequent reduction in required
truck replacements which is currently scheduled
for a major portion of the aging truck fleet in
1998 and 1999.
Component escalation was found to
have no observable effect on influencing the
economic comparison of continuous and truck
haulage systems. A contingency sensitivity
assessment of costs for the continuous haulage
system determined that the relative comparative
overall economics of the system was not
dramatically affected with a 100% increase in
either capital or operating costs.
Table 1: Total Average Operating Cost per ton
for Conventional Truck and Conveyor Haulage.

Truck Haulage
Continuous III<i
Table 2: Estimated After Tax Net Present Value
of Total Operating and Capital Costs for .
Haulage Systems at 12% Cost of Capital.

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