Conveyer belt replaces Trucks and moves 1,000 tonnes of crushed ore 1.3 kilometers away.
Trucks that emit carbon dioxide and hazardous emissions are frequently required for cargo delivery. However, in some circumstances, a cleaner option exists ropeways, which are comparable to the lifts used by skiers to reach the peak of a mountain.
They also have the ability to create green energy!
Torex Gold, located in Toronto, performs this at its El Limón-Guajes mine in Mexico. Every hour, the “ropecon” — a ropeway/conveyor belt hybrid — transports 1,000 tonnes of crushed ore to a 1.3-kilometer-away processing plant. (Please see the animation below and watch the video at the end.) Torex’s vice-president of projects, Bernie Loyer, stated that the business investigated several possibilities for conveying the ore 380 meters down the very steep mountain and found that a ropecon would be less expensive and safer than trucks.
The system, which was installed in 2016, generates one megawatt of power via regenerative braking (the way electric vehicles and flywheels do). This is similar to the energy produced by a wind turbine.
“It’s not a lot of power, but it’s unusual to have the possibility to move a thousand tonnes per hour with no net energy cost,” Loyer explained.
The technology is not brand new. Ropeways, also known as aerial tramways, have been used to convey materials and goods for centuries and were still used in Canadian mines in the early 1900s. Trucks, which can transport the massive amounts required by contemporary mega-mines, have mainly substituted them since then.
However, there is renewed interest. According to Silviu Varzescu, sales engineer for Doppelmayr Canada, an Austrian ropeway firm that manufactures gondola lifts and cable cars, Doppelmayr/Garaventa Group invented a new material ropeway system in 2001 after a customer requested it. Since then, it has installed around one system per year or two, primarily for mining businesses such as Torex.
According to Varzescu, such systems can overcome barriers such as rivers while causing little disruption to the ecosystem. He claims that some are as silent as a dishwasher.
While there are currently no material ropeways in operation in Canada, a mine in British Columbia hopes to be the first.
Watch the video: