Endeavor Mine is an underground zinc, lead, silver mine, formerly known as Elura. It was recently purchased (12th September 2003) by CBH Resources who plan to increase the efficiency of the mine through the introduction of side tipping road trains. The lowest haulage level is 800 metres below the surface, a haul of 5.1 kilometres to the surface crusher or 2.1 kilometres to the 3 Haul crusher.
The trend in underground haulage over the last 30 years has been to use bigger more robust trucks for ore movement. The concept influencing the design of road trains differs from this trend by aiming to reduce the weight of the truck. This increases the power to weight ratio, enabling the truck to travel faster with similar amounts of power and capacities. The road trains are constructed by PowertransTM and consist of a Powertruck™ and a single Powertrailer™. Gulf Underground owns and operates the six road trains currently in use on the Endeavor mine site.
This thesis documents the implementation process of road trains into the Endeavor mine. Using production and downtime data it critically assesses the cost effectiveness and production efficiency of their use. This study highlights Endeavor’s ability to increase production, whilst decreasing capital and operating costs, via successful modifications to their design and operation. The reduction in capital costs were aided by the avoidance of an entire fleet and shaft upgrade. Instead successful modifications were made to the infrastructure. The ore tonnage produced by Endeavor increased after the commencement of road train operations. Most importantly the haulage operating cost reduced by 16% on a cost per tonne basis. Approximately 43% of this saving was the result of lower maintenance costs.
Road trains can be successfully implemented into existing operating mines to reduce capital and operating costs and improve profit. This will have significant impact on the future of underground haulage within the mining industry. Currently Endeavor’s trucks are not reaching their full potential, suggesting the necessity for further research into truck utilisation.