With weak mineral prices holding steady, mines all over the world are forced to focus on operational efficiency and productivity. Many successful mines are looking into the maintenance and downtime costs for their chutes. St Ives gold mine, one of Australia’s most productive mines, decided to explore whether they could reduce shutdown intervals by assessing the performance of wear panels in their feed chute just below their primary crusher.
The maintenance team at St Ives was looking for opportunities with their discharge chutes. They were using heavy-duty rubber impact bars that typically needed to be replaced every 6 to 8 weeks. This was setting back the mine’s shutdown cycle, which was set at every 12 weeks.
Maintenance Supervisor Gary Ellis says, “Our rubber liners were simply not able to handle the impact of -400 mm rocks dropping from a height of 2 meters. We needed something that would last 12 weeks or longer to maintain an uninterrupted production flow.”
A tough-as-nails design
The maintenance team surveyed various rubber and metallic wear solutions to see which option could extend the service cycle of their primary crusher the longest, in order to save on downtime and maintenance costs.
Following the assessment of a wide variety of wear panels, St Ives chose to install FerroCer® Impact Ceramic Wear Panels. FerroCer’s unique ceramic and metal matrix design is tough and durable and can withstand intense pressure and the massive impact of falling ore in high-impact locations. Therefore, FerroCer was a great match to handle the massive impacts from the St Ives process. And because of FerroCer’s long-lasting durability, the team was able to improve their maintenance operations. For hard-mineral mines, like St Ives, FerroCer Impact Wear Panels are a good way to increase productivity.
“Initially, I was sceptical that these kinds of liners could withstand the heavy impact from rocks of this size. Once we learned about FerroCer’s design, we became convinced,” explains Gary.
In action for more than 34 weeks, FerroCer has lasted more than four times longer than the old rubber wear panels – and counting. That is taking St Ives a long way towards reducing maintenance costs and achieving an uninterrupted production flow. Gary concludes,“I have to say, we’re pretty amazed.”
Initially, I was sceptical that these kinds of liners could withstand the heavy impact from rocks of this size. Once we learned about FerroCer’s design, we became convinced