Golden task for Hitachi
First publishedin Aggregates Business International
A fleet of five new Hitachi EX3600-6 excavators has been supplied by the Hitachi construction machinery dealer for Kyrgyzstan, Turkuaz Machinery, to work at high altitude in sub-zero temperatures on the Kumtor gold mine.
The ultra-large mining machines are being utilised as the primary excavators for the 24/7, 365-day operation that mines ice, moraine and rock to reach the gold veins.
The working conditions are as tough as it gets for man and machine at the largest gold mine in Central Asia, which is located 4,000m above sea level.
Operated by the Canadian mining company, Centerra Gold, the mine’s output currently accounts for more than one-third of the national export of goods and services. In 2011, the mine produced 583,156 ounces (18.1tonnes) of gold.
The deposit is being developed by open-pit mining techniques, utilising typical drill, blast and truck/excavator operations.
Each EX3600-6 has been fitted with a cold weather package, which includes an engine heater to ensure that it starts in the coldest temperatures, and various covers to prevent the heated air from escaping, and the freezing air from entering the machine’s systems. The engine output has also been decreased by 30%, so that it can handle working on a site with reduced levels of oxygen.
“The EX3600-6s’ production capabilities also match those of our rigid dump trucks perfectly. The 21m³ bucket size means that one of the 105m³ payload trucks can be filled in four or five passes and we consider this to be the optimum level of productivity,” says Rodney Stuparyk, Kumtor operating company’s vice president of operations.