Engineering & Mining Journal

JUL 2019

Engineering and Mining Journal - Whether the market is copper, gold, nickel, iron ore, lead/zinc, PGM, diamonds or other commodities, E&MJ takes the lead in projecting trends, following development and reporting on the most efficient operating pr

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Page 28 of 67

SHOTCRETE JULY 2019 • E&MJ 27 tons of copper and moly ore. Approxi- mately 140,000 tons of ore will be mined and processed per day, sustaining Chuqui as one of the largest copper mining op- erations. An investment of $4.2 billion allowed an iconic open-pit mine to transi- tion to underground operations in Chile. Sika also provides shotcrete solutions, such as accelerators, for LKAB's Kiruna operations, the world's largest under- ground iron ore mine. "Special SCC de- signs for shaft and ore pass linings were tailored for the specific needs of the ore handling infrastructure and together with LKAB, we developed an easy-to-handle retardation system for the cable bolters," Sika reported. "Sika not only offers prod- ucts that meet all the requirements, but also provides continuous customer sup- port on site for shotcrete production and application." Erismann said Sika is established at both projects and at others, such as Gras- berg and El Teniente, due to the compa- ny's ability to facilitate rapid mine devel- opment rates. "In order to achieve these projects in time and on budget, you really have to have rapid development rates be- cause there will be no substantial cash flow for these projects til the whole block cave setup is installed," he said. "That is why this whole rapid mine cycle with im- proved efficiency has really emerged over the past two decades. We provide basical- ly efficient technologies for these in-cycle shotcretes." One Sika solution that speaks to rap- id development cycles is Sika Sigunit. "During spraying, these accelerators are dosed into the concrete stream," Eris- mann said. "They will trigger a very fast cement reaction, the early hardening of the concrete." Sika broke into the underground con- struction business when contending with waterproofing issues for the Gotthard rail tunnel construction project in Swit- zerland a century back. "From then on, Sika was involved in the development of chemicals in the form of concrete addi- tives and admixtures to change the prop- erties of the concrete for specific uses," Erismann said. Sigunit is described as the core com- ponent of an otherwise customizable ac- celerator offering. "We think today that future shotcrete solutions will be highly customized," Erismann said. "The effec- tiveness of any kind of concrete chemi- cals is strongly dependent on the avail- ability of local raw materials. We are really customizing our solution for the specific projects." That starts with determining the cus- tomer needs. "What goals have you set for yourself in terms of underground effi- ciency?" Erismann said. Then the suppli- er begins assessing and testing available materials. "We need to test what kind of cement he is using all the time," he said. Sika has developed a couple of tools to aid in the tests. "We've developed, for example, an ultrasonic device, which is basically shotcrete equipment but small scale so we can spray in the lab," Eris- mann said. "We spray on an ultrasonic device and measure the in-situ strength development with our different chemi- cals. By using this, we can basically pre- select the best performing tool we have in our toolbox and then basically go for large scale testing. It is ground-breaking new technology." The key to success in landing and completing contracts is local production, Erismann said. The company has been in Chile since 1942 and is supplying Chuqui from its Antofagasta supply hub. "We have admixture production in An- tofagasta," Erismann said. "And whenev- er there is need for technical support, we send guys from our subsidiary there." Similarly, the supplier established rapport with LKAB by proving its ability to provide the needed logistics. Kiruna is above the Arctic Circle, making sourc- ing viable resources locally challeng- ing. "LKAB at one point produced over 200,000 m 3 of shotcrete and concrete per year," Erismann said. "This is a mas- sive volume of concrete that needs to be produced and batched at the required quality and workability in each shift." The chemicals Sika supplies are pro- duced in Sweden. "And then we have very efficient supply logistics to the mine site." Which indicates the tactics behind the acquisition of King and Fibermesh. "Propex is a high-quality fiber producer in the U.S., and King is really the go-to name in Canada when it comes to shot- crete," Erismann said. "We obviously will leverage these positions now using those two companies to grow further, mainly in North America." Battery-power Brings Bounteous Benefits At bauma 2019, Normet released the SmartDrive product family for under- ground mining machines. The company also released a number of machines le- veraging the system, including the Spray- mec 8100 VC SD concrete sprayer. Sika personnel work with miners to ensure rapid development at an underground polymetallic operation in Sweden. (Photo: Sika Services AG)

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