Engineering & Mining Journal

AUG 2017

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

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 83 of 99

82 E&MJ • AUGUST 2017 OPERATING STRATEGIES Canada's new Bethune mine — former- ly known as the Legacy Project — is the fi rst greenfi eld potash mine built in Sas- katchewan in nearly 40 years, and its owner K+S Potash boasts that it's the world's most modern potash operation of its type. Opened in May after a fi ve-year construction phase, the mine shipped its fi rst product in June and K+S intends to produce 600,000 metric tons (mt) to 700,000 mt of potash there this year. Annual production capacity of 2 million mt is expected to be reached soon there- after. This will be followed by the gradual expansion of production capacity to 2.86 million mt per year (mt/y) in 2023. In a third expansion phase, the mine could reach a maximum output of 4 million mt/y of potassium chloride in about 10 years. Effi cient rail service is vital to the mine's success and the railcars built for K+S by Canadian company National Steel Car are unique: they hold the same ca- pacity as a standard car (105 mt), but are slightly shorter to accommodate more cars per train. A single opening at the top of the cars allows them to be loaded while in motion. K+S initially ordered more than 500 of these rail cars, with the option to enlarge the fl eet later based on increasing production volumes. Freight trains leav- ing the mine via a purpose-built Canadian Pacifi c (CP) rail spur will be approximate- ly 3 kilometers (km) in total length, each consisting of 177 cars, and on the jour- ney to a West Coast export terminal pass through a tunnel near the mine, where the tracks intersect a two-lane road. An innovative structural support design for that railway tunnel marks the fi rst Cana- dian installation of AIL Mining's patented Super•Cor Round MSE-reinforced bevels. The AIL Group of Companies, headquar- tered in eastern Canada, has been provid- ing innovative, cost-effective solutions in corrugated structural plate, MSE retaining walls, modular steel bridges, and corrugat- ed pipe to mining and other indus- trial sectors since 1965. This innovation, said AIL, al- lowed construction of the tunnel's 14.5-meter (m)-long bevels with- out the need for internal bracing during the backfi ll process. This saved time and money compared with the traditional false-work brace method. AIL's design con- nects heavy-duty welded wire soil reinforcement mats to a series of connection anchor strips that are integrated with the exterior sides. AIL's scope on this project included the structural design of the Super•Cor tunnel and the cast-in-place concrete collars on the bevelled ends. These collars helped stiff- en the ends of the tunnel and facilitate grading of the embankment slopes to the tunnel opening. The project didn't proceed without a hiccup, though — a mid-construction tunnel design change required swift ac- tion by the company. Typically AIL man- ufactures all Canadian Super•Cor at its Ayr, Ontario, plant. Part way through construction it was decided to lengthen the tunnel by 28.2 m to accommodate a revised site layout. To lessen the impact on the construction schedule, manufac- turing of the extension components was shifted to AIL's sister company Big R Bridge. The new Super•Cor components were rushed from Big R's Texas plant to Saskatchewan without severely impacting the schedule. The AIL Group's consistent manufacturing quality control program ensured easy fi t-up between the Canadian and U.S. produced plates. AIL also offered technical assistance for constructing a pre-shaped pipe bed- ding and on injecting a cementitious, fl owable fi ll under the tunnel invert once the plate assembly was complete. Using fl owable material allowed for a faster and safer fi ll of any potential voids and saved days of hand tamping gravel below the invert. AIL said one of its engineers was re- tained by the contactor, Kelly Panteluk Railway Tunnel Design at Potash Mine Saves Time and Money The Bethune operation's rail spur intersects a two-lane road near the mine, requiring underpass construction. On track to produce at an annual rate of almost 3 million mt/y by 2023, K&S Potash's Bethune mine needs effi cient rail service to ship its product from Saskatchewan to terminals on Canada's West Coast.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Engineering & Mining Journal - AUG 2017