Engineering & Mining Journal

JUN 2019

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18 E&MJ • JUNE 2019 www.e-mj.com COMPANY PROFILE-PAID ADVERTISEMENT The mining industry is changing and growing more competitive every day. Miners are looking for alternative ways to get the job done effec- tively and efficiently. Vermeer Terrain Leveler ® surface excavation machines (SEM) take a different approach to surface mining and can help surface mine operators achieve optimum efficiency and pro- ductivity and can help shrink the industry's environmental footprint. Relatively new to the surface mining industry compared to drill and blast and ripping, machines like the Vermeer T1255 Commander ® 3 Terrain Leveler ® Surface Excavation Machine (SEM) turn a normally vertical process horizontal. They complement or can replace the vertical process of drilling and blasting by moving along the ground's surface and crushing horizontal layers of rock, yielding material that can then sometimes bypass a primary crusher - in some cases eliminating a step in the process. Though surface minersterrain levelers don't always replace the primary crusher's function, they do help streamline operations that typically are paced by the crusher's volume capabilities. "On a mine site where a primary crusher is used and the main method is drilling and blasting, oftentimes the capacity of that mine can be determined by the capacity of the primary crusher," said Vermeer Specialty Excavation Applications Engineer Tyler Sikora. "If they need more capacity than the primary crusher, one option is to get an additional crusher. Another way is to add surface exca- vation machines, which may produce product that can bypass the primary crusher, depending on how the operation is set up." Consistency A Terrain Leveler SEM yields a consistently sized end product. Since rock formations typically run horizontally in the ground, the ability to glean veins of material without blending in adjacent mate- rials can lead to a higher-value end product. "This machine cuts the rock and leaves it right where it was within the cut. You are able to extract the high-grade product without having to blend it," Sikora said. "At a limestone mine, if you encounter a clay seam in the rock, you have the ability to load the clay seam to waste without blending it in and having to send it through the plant. Being able to extract higher-value material can make you more effi- cient, because you may not have to process all that waste. You can take the low-grade or waste product straight to a waste pile." Output consistency can also contribute to the efficiency of oper- ating a Terrain Leveler SEM at a surface mine. Drilling and blasting often yields inconsistently sized rocks that must be crushed or broken down with a hammer on an excavator to attain the necessary level of output consistency. A Terrain Leveler SEM helps eliminate this step in the process when there's high variability in material output. "The Terrain leveler SEM can produce consistently sized product, depending on how the formation is laid in the ground or weathered," Sikora said. "Sometimes at drill-and-blast or ripping sites, you can have rocks the size of cars all the way to powder. The Terrain Leveler SEM can yield a product that's generally more convenient to handle." New mining opportunities Helping contribute to the efficiency of a surface mining operation, a Terrain Leveler SEM's compact and maneuverable footprint, as well as minimal noise or dust typically allow the machine to mine in areas that were off limits to other mining methods. This is especially valuable in areas with rising populations, according to Sikora. "Surface excavation has been seriously looked at in terms of the benefits it provides by helping cut down on vibration and dust, especially when working around increasing populations and existing infrastructure. There are rules and guidelines depending on where you are working and how close you can work to things like highways, pipelines, rivers and power lines," he said. "Having the ability to work closer to those things offers some additional efficiencies." Terrain Leveler SEMs do not require the use of explosives on jobsites. Drill-and-blast methods also require specific expertise and understanding of things like rock formations in order to effectively mine the highest-value materials. Benefits over traditional methods "The handling and storage of explosives onsite is getting to be problematic in some areas of the world. And, blasting is a real art. You have to know how to drill in certain patterns and load explosives correctly," Sikora said. "Some just don't want to deal with the risk of explosives anymore." As a relatively new way to do a job that's been done in other more traditional ways in the past, Terrain Leveler SEMs face headwinds to widespread adoption in the surface mining industry. Oftentimes, that adoption depends on showing the features and benefits of the machines and how they can change how rock is mined. "Drilling and blasting is kind of the old-school way of doing it, and some- times people don't want to change their processes. Others want to see what other efficiencies they can tap into, and showing our machines can help open up new possibili- ties," Sikora said. Learn about the full Vermeer lineup of Terrain Leveler SEMs or contact your local dealer. Top benefits of Vermeer Terrain Leveler ® Surface Excavation Machines (SEMs) Vermeer Corporation reserves the right to make changes in product engineering, design and specifications; add improvements; or discontinue manufacturing or distribution at any time without notice or obligation. Vermeer, the Vermeer logo, Terrain Leveler and Commander are trademarks of Vermeer Manufacturing Company in the U.S. and/or other countries. © 2019 Vermeer Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

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