ABB commissions six gearless mill drives in Panama

ABB Australia Pty Ltd

Monday, 04 November, 2019

ABB commissions six gearless mill drives in Panama

ABB has announced that it has deployed six of its gearless mill drives in Panama at the Cobre Panama copper mine, which is located 120 km west of Panama City in the Donoso district, Colon province.

The Panamanian company that holds the Cobre Panama concession is Mineria Panama S.A. (MPSA). Following a period of ownership transition, First Quantum Minerals Ltd, a well-established and growing metals and mining company, increased its ownership to 90% in November 2017.

The six gearless mill drives, which ABB says are the most powerful mill drive systems on the market for semi-autogenous (SAG), ball and autogenous mills, have been installed since late last year and are all now in continuous operation. Two 28 MW gearless mill drive systems (GMDs) are operating in the mine’s 12.2 m SAG mills and four 16.5 MW GMDS are employed in 7.9 m ball mills along with associated control systems.

Gearless mill drives are the ‘workhorses’ for grinding operations, which are at the heart of any mine. The six ABB GMDs at the Cobre Panama project are said to be extremely robust.

“As the ore extraction pace indicates they are maximising throughput,” said Rene Chacon, Project Manager at ABB for Cobre Panama. “They allow operators to react to changes in ore characteristics due to variable speed and, by optimising the process, are more efficient in their use of grinding power.”

ABB has also installed its extended automation system, ABB Ability System 800xA, at Cobre Panama, which the company says empowers mine operators to drive efficiency, by making more accurate and timely decisions. ABB Ability Remote Service Centers, which provide state-of-the-art remote diagnostic services, maintenance reports, remote online monitoring of critical assets and access to ABB’s product and maintenance experts are also installed.

ABB gearless mill drives such as those at Cobre Panama can operate under extreme environmental conditions like high altitudes or varied climates in remote locations.

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