Chutes assist Chilean mine

Weba Chute Systems has successfully engineered a new transfer point to replace an underperforming chute at Carmen de Andacollo in the Coquimbo region of Central Chile.

Carmen de Andacollo is an open pit copper operation; Teck owns a 90% interest in the mine and Empresa Nacional de Mineria holds the balance of shares.

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The Carmen de Andacollo gold and copper mine in Chile.
Image credit: Teck

The new chute system transfers material from a double deck screen feeding oversize material from both decks to a conveyor. Material throughput is 2 000tph with a lump size of minus 85mm.

Alwin Nienaber, technical director at Weba Chute Systems, explains that in the previous installation the way material was presented onto the conveyor caused impact damage and excessive spillage. The spillage had to be controlled using extremely hard skirtings under such tension that this had caused extreme damage to the conveyor resulting in frequent belt replacement.

“It is not uncommon for us to see this type of issue which arises from inadequate plant design,” Nienaber says. “When the transfer points do not receive the requisite attention during the design of the plant, numerous problems can occur during operation.”

As a transfer point specialist, Weba Chute Systems is a strong advocate of their involvement at the start of a project. “This approach ensures that the transfer points are engineered for the particular plant, with the advantage that material transfer will be optimised and wear and impact issues, such as those found at Carmen de Andacollo, could be mitigated from the start.”

Where operational plants experience issues with transfer points, Weba Chute Systems sends in its technical team to conduct a full design assessment.

According to Nienaber this is a critical step in the process as it will ensure that the solution provided takes all factors into account.

He explains that the previous chute was essentially just a box structure, and was problematic as the material flow was not controlled as it directly impacted onto the conveyor from the screen. To add to this situation the receiving conveyor design was also compromised.

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Weba Chute Systems has successfully engineered a new transfer point to replace an underperforming chute at Carmen de Andacollo in the Coquimbo region of Central Chile.
Image credit: Teck

“We were able to design a new transfer point solution that accommodates the shallow flow angle required in this application,” he says. “By custom engineering the chute we can design it in such a way to feed the material onto the conveyor in the direction of belt travel. This eliminates the issues associated with the previous direct impact.”

The design of Weba Chute Systems also allows for absolute control of the material and, in this application, is configured to force a concentrated stream from the screen decks onto the conveyor. Due to the compromised general arrangement between the screen and conveyor, skirts are still required to eliminate spillage.

To provide further protection against sliding abrasion, the chute is lined with high alumina ceramic tiles.

The Weba Chute Systems installation at Carmen de Andacollo was commissioned in the first quarter of 2017. Nienaber says that much of the work has been done through Weba South America, which was established in Chile to service this region.

Under the leadership of Pedro Javier Vega, Weba South America has been making inroads into the mining and minerals processing sector. “The local team has a good understanding of the industry, its immediate and long-term needs, and will provide consistent support to this customer,” Nienaber says.


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