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Inclined Troughed Belt Conveyor Systems for Underground Mass

Mining Operations
J C Spreadborough1 and A G L Pratt2

ABSTRACT the application of cable belt conveyors, though similar principals


Inclined troughed belt conveyors are more frequently being selected from
can be applied to define their limits of application.
a range of alternatives, which include shafts and trucks for ore haulage in
underground mass mining projects. Belt conveyor haulage systems are TROUGHED BELT CONVEYOR SYSTEMS
being operated with lifts exceeding those normally associated with truck
haulage systems and approaching the limits of shaft haulage systems. An underground conveyor haulage system will, in general,
A belt conveyor haulage system, in this context, incorporates incorporate subsystems for:
subsystems for: crushing,
crushing,
tramp detection and removal, and
tramp detection and removal, and
haulage. haulage.
This paper presents details of recent inclined troughed belt conveyor Each of these subsystems will incorporate resources and
systems for underground mining operations, and explores the application facilities for:
of inclined troughed belt conveyors for the increasing demands of future
underground mass mining projects. monitoring and control, and
maintenance.
INTRODUCTION The satisfactory performance of the haulage system is
dependent on the performance of each subsystem and on the
The selection of haulage systems for underground mines has performance of the resources and facilities provided for
focused on shaft haulage, trucks and belt conveyors. The monitoring and control and maintenance.
application of these alternatives in the Australian mining industry
is summarised in Figure 1 as a graph showing lift (m) versus The crushing subsystem is required to reduce run-of-mine
(ROM) material to a size suitable for loading to haulage
annual production (kt/a) (Pratt, 2005). Troughed belt conveyors
conveyors.
are shown to be applied in the range to 8 Mt/a and 1200 m lift.
A typical crushing station is depicted in Figure 2.
This paper further defines the current range of application of
troughed belt conveyor systems, defines limits on their application The tramp detection and removal subsystem is required to
and the scope for increasing these limits to the demands of future remove tramp materials from the material stream and hence
prevent tramp damage to haulage conveyors.
underground mass mining projects. This paper does not address
The tramp detection and removal subsystem will incorporate
conveyors, tramp magnets, metal detectors and in some cases,
1. Associate Director, Maunsell Australia, 10 Finchley Street, Milton facilities for manual tramp removal in a configuration
Qld 4064. Email: John.Spreadborough@Maunsell.com appropriate for the size, shape, magnetic properties and quantity
2. MAusIMM, Group Manager Mine Engineering, Newcrest Mining of tramp anticipated. The demands on the tramp detection and
Limited, Level 8, 600 St Kilda Road, Melbourne Vic 3004. removal equipment vary with the ground conditions and mining
Email: Adrian.Pratt@Newcrest.com.au method. Poor ground conditions necessitate a greater utilisation

FIG 1 - Operating ranges for underground haulage systems.

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J C SPREADBOROUGH and A G L PRATT

of rock bolts, straps and mesh for ground support. The block Belt to support the material and to transfer tractive forces to
cave method generally requires ground support only at the the material. The belt carcass and the associated splices
undercut and extraction levels. Ground support generally provide tensile strength. The belt covers provide protection for
contributes the majority of the tramp in the ore stream. Other the carcass and splices from impact, abrasion and corrosion.
contributors include drill consumables, Load-haul-dump (LHD)
Idlers to support the belt.
bucket hardware and chute liners.
The haulage subsystem (Figure 3) includes the chutes, skirts, Pulleys to resist belt tensions at changes of direction and to
belt, idlers, pulleys, drives and structures that support and transfer tractive forces from the drives to the belt.
transport the material from the feed point to the discharge point. Drives to provide driving and braking tractive force and inertia
The haulage subsystem may incorporate more than one conveyor the driving and braking controls provide for minimum
flight and more than one transfer point. dynamic effects when starting and stopping, and for no
Critical elements in the haulage subsystem include: material retained in the transfer chutes for all stopping
scenarios, including emergency and power failure stops.
Feed chute of dimensions appropriate for the material
received to direct the material on centre and in line with the Take-up to provide belt tension for no slip at the drives and
receiving belt. for belt sag control.

FIG 2 - Typical crushing station.

FIG 3 - Typical haulage conveyor head end.

72 Launceston, TAS, 14 - 16 April 2008 Tenth Underground Operators Conference


INCLINED TROUGHED BELT CONVEYOR SYSTEMS FOR UNDERGROUND MASS MINING OPERATIONS

Holdbacks to prevent reverse movement, each capable of Maintenance equipment at the haulage subsystem will
holding 150 per cent of the load applied by the conveyor typically include:
(AS1755) also able to withstand extreme events (drives monorails and/or cranes at drives and pulleys for change-out
stalled in reverse, or belt locked, drives stalled, resultant belt or repair;
tension resisted by the holdback). belt clamps to resist belt tensions when installing or
The monitoring and control functions are required to confirm maintaining the belt (spring applied, hydraulic release, tested
correct operation and to initiate warnings or shut down in the for holding capacity);
event of malfunction to prevent injury and equipment damage. belt reel handling facilities; and
Devices are typically provided at the haulage subsystem for belt splicing/repair facilities.
detection of:
belt drift, CURRENT APPLICATIONS
drive slip, Troughed belt conveyors are applied over a wide range of
belt rip, length/lift combinations, but at the limits are grouped as long
(overland) or high lift conveyors (Figure 4). Troughed belt
belt carcass and belt splice deterioration, conveyors for mass mining operations frequently fall into the
take-up over-travel, second (high lift) group.
Troughed belt conveyors are also applied over a wide range of
equipment over-temperature, and
material flow rates, belt widths and belt speeds (Figure 5 and
emergency. Table 1).

1000

800 Prosper Haniel

600
Chuquicamata High Lift
Ridgeway Portal
Lift (m)

Nifty CV3
400 Kapok
Mc Arthur River
Ridgeway Trunk Long (Overland)
200 Gordonstone Drift
Cadjebut
Revenge
Crinum Curragh North
0 KPC Dawson CV-193
Channar
Lafarge Surma
-200
0 5 10 15 20 25
Length (km)

FIG 4 - Length/lift for typical long (overland) and high lift troughed belt conveyors.

1000

800 Prosper Haniel

600 Chuquicamata
Ridgeway Portal
Lift (m)

Nifty CV3
400 Kapok
Mc Arthur River

200 Cadjebut Ridgeway Trunk


Revenge Gordonstone Drift

Crinum Curragh North


0 KPC Dawson CV-193
Channar
Lafarge Surma
-200
0 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000
Feed Rate (t/h)

FIG 5 - Productivity ranges for typical long (overland) and high lift troughed belt conveyors.

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J C SPREADBOROUGH and A G L PRATT

TABLE 1
Details for typical long (overland) and high lift troughed belt conveyors (Baigent, 2005; Kusel, 1999; McLennan, 2001).

Conveyor Material Length (m) Lift (m) Rate (t/h) Speed (m/s) Belt spec
High lift
Prosper Haniel Coal 3745 783 2000 5.5 1400 ST7500
Chuquicamata CB002 Hard rock 4578 540 5500 6.0 1830 ST10 000
Ridgeway Portal Hard rock 2863 503 840 3.0 1050 ST5500
Nifty CV3 Hard rock 2324 408 500 3.9 900 ST3150
Kapok Hard rock 2400 400 200 2.8 630
McArthur River Hard rock 2680 305 470 1.6 900
Ridgeway Trunk Hard rock 1213 226 1100 3.4 1050 ST2240
Gordonstone Drift Coal 1555 215 5000 5.0 1800 ST4500
Cadjebut Hard rock 2500 200 300 2.5 850
Revenge Hard rock 1500 185 450 1.6 1200
Long (overland)
Curragh North Coal 20 035 68 2500 7.5 1200 ST1500
Crinum Coal 9955 52 1100 4.9 900 ST1600
Dawson CV-193 Hard rock 16 300 4 2400 5.1 2 35 cable belt
Channar Hard rock 10 400 0 2200 4.1 1050 ST3150
KPC Coal 13 100 0 1350 5.3 1000 ST2250
Lafarge Surma Hard rock 17 000 -120 800 3.0 750 ST1800

1000

800 Ridgeway Portal

Increase Length, Reduce Lift


600
Lift (m)

Increase Carcass Strength


ST5500 (reduce troughability)

400

200

0
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14
Length (km)

FIG 6 - Limits of length and lift based on the Ridgeway Portal configuration with 840 t/h, 3 m/s, splice FoS = 6.7 for ST500 to ST7100.

LIMITS OF APPLICATION FUTURE APPLICATIONS


The slope of the high lift group is limited by the slope of the drift Advances in future designs will be fundamentally linked to the
or decline/incline in which the conveyor is mounted. This is load-carrying capacity of the available belt constructions and
normally in the range 1:5.3 to 1:5.4 (10.5 to 10.7) where the splice designs. It is useful to recognise a parameter that is used to
development is carried out using rubber-tyred equipment. compare wire rope constructions. This parameter is called the
Length and lift are limited by the belt carcass construction and free length and is defined as the length at which a rope will break
the strength of the belt splice. These limits of length are under its own weight. It is calculated by dividing the rope
presented in Figure 6 for the Ridgeway Portal configuration strength by its weight per unit length.
operating at 840 t/h, 3 m/s and with a splice factor of safety The free length of a range of steel cord belt constructions is
(FoS) of 6.7 for belt constructions in the range ST500 to ST7100. presented in Figure 7. The free length calculation recognises:
The choice of belt construction is also limited by the loss of strength at the splice,
troughability of the belt. Troughability is the ratio of the cross
belt sag to belt width and generally reduces with increases in free length of bare cords (reduces with increases in carcass
carcass strength. Reduced troughability results in poor belt strength), and
tracking and hence edge damage and/or tripping on belt drift. self weight of rubber in the carcass and in the covers.

74 Launceston, TAS, 14 - 16 April 2008 Tenth Underground Operators Conference


INCLINED TROUGHED BELT CONVEYOR SYSTEMS FOR UNDERGROUND MASS MINING OPERATIONS

Loss of strength at the splice is presented here based on: lighter constructions. Splice factors of safety are reduced to
no carcass splice (hence no loss of strength) for the upper around 5.5 (Baigent, 2005).
data points, and Designers of high lift conveyors can exploit this characteristic
in a similar manner.
spliced carcass with loss of strength increasing by five per
cent with number of splice steps above two (DIN 22101 The potential range of application of a new generation of high
1982:02) for the lower data points. lift troughed belt conveyors is illustrated for the Ridgeway Portal
application operating at 840 t/h, with belt speed increased from
Advances in splice design have reduced the magnitude of the 3 to 5 m/s and splice safety factor reduced from 6.7 to 5.5
loss of strength at the splice for the higher strength multi-step (Figure 8). This shows when comparing Figure 8 with Figure 6
splices. that the carcass could be reduced from ST5500 to ST2800, or
The weight of covers is based here on the standard minimum that the lift could be increased from 503 m to around 750 m
thickness (increases with increases in carcass strength, DIN 22101 using the existing ST5500 belt.
1982:02) with an additional carry cover thickness of 6 mm. This illustrates the potential for utilising lighter belts for a
The knee in the free length curves tends to favour designs given application and hence reducing the capital and operating
based on carcass constructions with strengths less than around costs of the haulage system. Alternatively, this illustrates the
ST3000. Designers of long (overland) conveyors have exploited potential for applying a single flight conveyor to a greater lift and
this characteristic. Table 1 shows that long (overland) conveyors again reducing the capital and operating costs of the haulage
generally utilise lighter belt constructions. In the case of the system by reducing the number of transfer/drive stations.
Curragh North and Dawson conveyors, intermediate drives have The key issues in achieving these increases in length and lift
been incorporated to reduce tensions, and hence to facilitate include:

10

8
ST4000 ST5000ST5500 ST6300 ST7100
7 ST2800
Free Length (km)

6 ST2000
5

4
ST1000
3
Reducing Troughability
2
ST500
1

0
0 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 7000 8000
Carcass Strength (kN)

FIG 7 - Free length for 1 m width of conveyor belt for no carcass splice (upper data points) and for spliced carcass (lower data points).

1000

800 Ridgeway Portal


ST5500

600
Lift (m)

ST2800

400

200

0
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14
Length (km)

FIG 8 - Limits of length and lift based on the Ridgeway Portal conveyor (840 t/h, with belt speed increased to 5 m/s and belt splice
FoS reduced to 5.5).

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J C SPREADBOROUGH and A G L PRATT

Limit the additional strains applied to the belt by: improved splice designs for higher strength and longer life,
designing chutes to minimise material impact at the and
loading point; improved chute designs.
selecting conservative pulley diameters, transition Current designs are limited by a number of paradigms relating
lengths and vertical curves; and to belt speed, splice factors of safety and the application of
intermediate drives.
selecting drive and drive control equipment to limit
dynamic effects when starting and stopping. The further exploitation of these technologies, focusing on a
number of key issues, will contribute to breaking down these
Increase belt speeds/reduce belt tensions/reduce burden load paradigms and facilitating the implementation of a new
and address the resulting dust, life, noise, belt resonance and generation of high lift troughed belt conveyors.
wear issues by:
providing facilities to limit dust generation; REFERENCES
selecting idlers, pulleys and drives for life and noise AS1755 2000 conveyors. Safety requirements.
limitation; Baigent, D, 2005. Curragh North materials handling project, in
installing idlers to avoid belt resonance; and Proceedings Bulk Materials Handling Conference, Mackay.
DIN 22101 1982:02. Continuous mechanical handling equipment Belt
designing chutes and/or accelerating belts to minimise conveyors for bulk materials Bases for calculation and design.
abrasion at the load point. DIN 22101 2000:08. Continuous conveyors Belt conveyors for loose
Increase the fatigue life/load carrying capacity of belt splices bulk materials Basis for calculation and dimensioning.
by addressing: Kusel, B, 1999. The success story of self-extinguishing steel cord
conveyor belts in underground coal mining, International Mining
splice design; Quarterly Review, 44.
temperature control, cleanliness and UV exposure when McLennan, G, 2001. Energy efficient belt conveyor at BHP Gregory/
forming the splice; Crinum, in Bulk Solids Handling, 21(1):73.
Nordell, L K, 1991. The Channar 20 km Overland A flagship of modern
splicing procedures and personnel training; belt conveyor technology, Bulk Solids Handling, (11)4:781.
quality of splice materials; Pratt, A G L, 2005. Application of conveyors for underground haulage, in
Proceedings Ninth Underground Operators Conference, pp 273-283
quality of splicing equipment; and
(The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).
splice monitoring. Pratt, A G L, 2008. Mine haulage Options and the process of choice, in
Proceedings Tenth Underground Operators Conference, pp 179-188
(The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).
CONCLUSIONS
Troncoso, J, Francis, R and Pedersen, L, 1993. Design and construction
A number of technologies have contributed to the successful of coal handling facilities at Gordonstone Colliery, Bulk Solids
application of troughed belts in underground mass mining Handling, 13(4):823.
operations. These include:
improved drive control equipment,
belt condition monitoring,

76 Launceston, TAS, 14 - 16 April 2008 Tenth Underground Operators Conference