Codelco's Andina sees first ore on its new $1.326 billion Traspaso crushing & conveying system – International Mining

An important milestone was recently achieved by the Codelco Andina Division, when it began testing with copper ore loading on the equipment that is part of its Traspaso project. The initiative, which involved an investment of $1.326 billion, seeks to extend the production of this work centre located in the Aconcagua Valley by 30 years.
Located 3,500 m above sea level in the middle of the Andes Mountains, the new mine-plant transfer system will see the 50 piece equipment set-up currently used in the crushing and ore transportation process replaced by only 15 pieces. “In this way, we reduce people’s exposure to risk and facilitate operation and maintenance,” explains Rodrigo Barrera, General Manager of Codelco Andina.
The Traspaso Andina project stands out for the innovation and sustainability of its processes by integrating as part of its infrastructure a 52 m-high dome that, in addition to protecting the new primary crusher from low winter temperatures, considerably mitigates the emissions of material particulates to the environment. Meanwhile, the use of a regenerative-type mineral conveyor belt of more than 4 km in length, will allow the supply of more than 3.6 MW into the divisional network, which will reduce the consumption from external sources.
Traspaso took eight years of construction in an area of ​​44 ha located in a complex geographic area, high in the mountains, where temperatures in winter can easily reach 20 degrees below zero. “I want to acknowledge all the people who have given their dedication and commitment from the design and engineering to the construction of this project. A multidisciplinary team that has approached each of these stages with the utmost professionalism,” says Barrera.
The start-up of this project considers a ramp-up stage of at least four months, which will systematically increase the productive rhythm. “This will be done with our own team, to operate 360 ​​continuous days, maintaining current levels of mineral processing with a view to a 100% pit mine,” concludes Barrera.
In more detail, Andina’s mine-plant transfer system will secure the processing of ore from the mine until 2050. The object was to replace the existing transfer system, consisting of shafts that converge on the Don Luis primary crushing plant, which has been affected by the expansion of the pit, with a system consisting of a new primary crushing plant (at Node 3500), horizontal underground development and surface infrastructure, to be able to maintain the current levels of ore processing. Ore from the open pit mine will go to the new primary crushing station in the Node 3500 area, with the crushed material transported via the new 4.78 km Haulage III tunnel to the main Mountain Plant.

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