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Economic and technologic aspects of Bucketwheel Excavator - and

Crusher/Conveyor-Systems
Dipl.-Ing. D. Schrder
Krupp Frdertechnik GmbH, Essen, Germany

1. ABSTRACT
New developments in the field of continuously operating mining equipment demand a new way of thinking in
the design and planning of open pit mines. Powerful surface miners and very strong bucket wheel excavators
which dig hard pay material and overburden without drilling and blasting are bridging the gap between the
Bucket Wheel Excavator Systems (BWE), In - Pit - Crushing Systems (IPC) and Shovel - Truck Systems (ST).
Parallel to the new developments in the mining equipment itself we find a lot of other influencing factors which
have to be looked after in the design and layout of open pit mines before the planning group of a mine can be
sure to propose a system which is technically feasible and most economic for the special requirement of the
owner of the mine. The following paper tries to analyze this most complex area from the view of a manufacturer of mining equipment who has to meet all the new challenges to be able to offer always the best mining
systems.
2. INTRODUCTION
Where continuously operating mining systems can be
used in combination with conveyor transport, they are
superior to discontinuously working systems in the
long run as far as costs are concerned. The first topic
of this paper deals with continuous bucket wheel excavator - crusher/conveyor systems. Special emphasis
is given to recent developments in this field.
The design of special equipment for continuous mining, such as the Surface Miner (KSM) and the Truck
BWE (KTB) are also presented.
The paper ends with an economic comparison of
continuous and discontinuous mining systems, while
graphics are presented to demonstrate the fields of
application for these two operating modes, their costs,
and the cases where the individual systems are more
economical compared to others.

The central unit in a continuous mining system is


always the belt conveyor system. It is the decisive
element to make a continuous operation more economical. The belt conveyor requires suitable material,
which can be supplied by bucket wheel excavators,
bucket chain excavators, surface miners resp. crushing systems. Bucket chain excavators have a relatively low output in relation to their size and are
therefore only used in special applications, e.g. for
cutting under water. The future will concentrate on
equipment like bucket wheel excavators, surface
miners and crushing systems.
Open Pit Mining
Technologies

drilling and blasting


discontinuously operating equipment

Krupp Surface Miner

Continuously operating mining systems


Krupp Truck BWE

bucket wheel excavator


bwe-1

Bucketwheel Excavator

KSM-1

Surface Miner

Crusher

compressive strength MPa


soil:
sand, gravel, clay,
loam

(mobile / semimobile)

lignite

Beltwag
en

40

20
30

subbituminous coal hard coal


consolidated soil

(Truck)
(Truck)

soft
claystone
marl

Transport
D:\Gew-2en.eps

clay-/siltsto
ne
soft
sandstone

50
100

80
limestone
iron ore
sandsto
ne

12
0
copper
ore
solid
sandstone
natural
stones

crawler
Semimobile Hopper

Spreader

-1-

Fig. 2 : Open Pit Mining Technologies

Normally, open pit mines are split in hard rock and


soft rock mines. In hard rock mines the loading process is in any case preceded by a drilling and blasting
process. In soft rock mines this process is not especially necessary . Bucket wheel excavators nowadays

(Stockpile/
Plant)
1622-D

Fig. 1 : Continuously operating mining systems

D:\Schroede\bilder\gew in2e
.eps

applied in these mines are operating in soils as sand,


gravel, clay, lignite and other soft to slightly consolidated soils. But there are also newer developments in
the market, commented later on in this paper, which
can economically mine hard materials, without the
need for pre blasting of the material. Actually, the top
limit for the application of bucket wheel excavators
is a material hardness of approx. 20 MPa.
Crushing systems are used in applications where the
material has to be drilled and blasted.
The material is then loaded into trucks and transported to the crushing systems, resp. for fully-mobile
plants, described later in this lecture, the loading unit
feeds the fully-mobile crushing system directly.
The Surface Miner (KSM) and the Truck Bucket
Wheel Excavator (KTB) are developments which are
to be grouped between these two fields and offer a
variety of advantages. The KSM can operate at full
capacity from approx. 5 MPa to 40 MPa and has already dug material up to an unconfined compressive
strength of 100 MPa. The KTB can be used up to
approx. 20 MPa in brittle material.

Small compact excavators have service weights from


50 t up to a range of 1 500 t, while the large machines
attain weights up to 13 000 t. Giant excavators with
central towers are, however, only operated in the
Rhenish Region. For the future the operation of giant
machines will become a rarity. There are only a few
mines in the world where they can and will be used.
Most future mine operations will use compact bucket
wheel excavators, mainly determined by economical
reasons of the operational mine size.

3. THE BUCKET WHEEL EXCAVATORS

Fig. 3 : Sizes of Bucketwheel Excavators

Bucket Wheel Excavators are grouped in three size


classes:
Main Data
of Bucketwheel
Excavators mediumSmall compact
bucket
wheel excavators,
sized C-frame machines
and
the
giants.
Compact
C - Frameso-called
Twin Tower
Figures 3 and 4 show
the mainBWEs
parameters BWEs
of the difBWEs
ferent excavator types.
length of bucketwheel boom [ m ]

6 - 25

20 - 60

40 - 80

effective capacity
[ bm/h ]

100 - 3.000 1.500 - 4.500 4.000 -12.500

service weight
[t]

50 - 1.500

1.00 - 5.000 4.000 - 13.000

Fig. 5 : Compact Bucketwheel Excavators

Figure 5 shows the total range of these machines.


The smallest excavator with a weight of 50 t can be
-2-

loaded on a flat-bed trailer, and the largest one


attains a weight of 1200 to 1500 t. The theoretical
capacities range from 500 to 7000 loose m/h.

The compact bucket wheel excavator


schematically represented in figure 6.

Fig. 4 : Main Data of Bucketwheel Excavators

-3-

is

Fig. 6 : Schematic drawing of compact BWE

This excavator has the following main characteristics:


- a twin-crawler traveling mechanism
- a low-level counterweight boom,
- a bucket wheel boom hoisted and lowered by a hydraulic cylinder .
The center of gravity of this excavator is situated very
low, which allows the BWE to operate on steep inclinations. The operating manuals normally include inclinations in operation up to 1 : 20. It is, however,
possible to work on inclinations of 1 : 10 to 1 : 8 at
reduced capacity. This does not affect the stability of
the machine, only the conveyors, capable of working
on these inclinations, too, can not be fully loaded. In
order to prevent spillage of the conveyors resp. belt
misalignment, the operation on inclinations results in
a capacity reduction of the conveyors.
The compact bucket wheel excavators offer a series
of new developments. Special emphasis is given to
the excavation of harder materials and to
modularization of the machines.
Depending on the material to be mined and the requirements of the customer, the individual assembly
groups can be grouped together very quickly.
Contrary to the large-scale machines consisting of
components especially developed for the respective
machine, the smaller compact bucket wheel excavators are composed of a series of standardized components. Identical modules can naturally not only be
used for the excavator, but also for beltwagons,
spreaders and even bucket chain excavators.
An important portion of the main components for
smaller machines is taken from the hydraulic shovels,
traveling mechanisms for smaller excavators are
completely taken from these units. This guarantees a
high spare parts availability of tried and proven series
components.
Actual developments in the field of compact bucket
wheel excavators, and for bucket wheel excavators in
general, tend towards an increase of automatisation
(refer to figure 7).
Equipped with a micropilot all digging processes of
the excavator can be controlled. Programmed with
the according block parameter, as e.g. slope angle,
block width and block height, at the beginning of
operation the boom is moved to its starting position
and the excavator removes the block automatically
with op- timum efficiency. Despite of this, an
unmanned op- eration is not recommendable, since
unforeseeable obstructions, as e.g. the occurrence of
boulders, re- quire an immediate action by the
operator.

Fig. 8 : Compact BWE digging marl

Fig. 7 : BWE steering with Micropilot

One of the most important new developments in the


recent years was the possibility to extend the
applica- tion of compact bucket wheel excavators to
mining of harder materials, which until some years
ago seemed not to be suitable for bucket wheel
excavators (refer to figure 8).

This figure shows an application in the quarry of


Teutonia Zementwerke AG, Hanover. The excavator
is digging marl with an unconfined compressive
strength between 5 and 15 MPa. The bucket wheel
has a drive power of 315 kW and cuts the material
already with a fine grain size, i.e. the excavator serves
as first crushing stage in the mine. The machine digs
85 - 90 % of the material with an edge length smaller
than 120 mm due to a special design adopted for the
wheel (refer to figure 9).
The wheel is equipped with many cutting ele- ments.
(In the Teutonia application with 16 buckets and 16
pre-cutters) The resulting limited opening of the
buckets guarantee the appropriate production lump
size, while bigger lumps are crushed to suitable sizes
between the wheel and the retaining wall. The
buckets are not anymore fastened to the outer side of
the wheel but integrated into the wheel body, ensuring the circumferential flow of the forces from the
tooth tips to the inner wheel body.
The high number of cutting elements also guarantees
a very smooth operation, since always several
buckets are immersed simultaneously in the material
at any time. Specially in material with varying
hardness this reduces vibrations substantially.

Fig. 9 : Bucketwheel with integrated buckets

Fig. 11: IPC with semimobile crushing plant

Today many customers are asking for automatic


video monitoring of important transfer points.

The IPC-System eliminates big portions of the expensive heavy truck transport, especially the expensive ramp haulage.
In figure 11 shown above the truck would have to
move out of the mine over long ramps, while a conveyor system can transport the material over the
shortest distance and inclinations up to 17 - 18 to the
mine border.

Fig. 10 : Video monitoring of transfer point

In this operation (figure 10) hard, tough clay is mined


by a bucket wheel excavator S 100. A small clay
mine with capacities of some hundred tons per day
can not afford a high personnel expenditure, so the
material transfer from the excavator to the descending
belt conveyor is monitored by a video camera. The
video cameras are installed in a position where the
hopper car can be monitored from both the top and
the rear side. A monitor inside the cabin switches
automatically between the video cameras, giving the
excavator operator an optimal view of the hopper
car, the machinery control panels, the bucket wheel
boom and the discharge boom.
4. IN - PIT - CRUSHING SYSTEMS
The development of the In-Pit Crushing Systems, the
crushing systems in open pit mines, has mainly taken
place in Germany and the USA. Increasing emphasis
is placed on the crushing of the useful mineral, but
crushing systems are also economical for waste haulage.

Fig. 12 : IPC with mobile crushing plant

The in-pit-crushing systems are not only economical


in solid rock but also in seam deposits. Figure 12
shows a fully-mobile plant operating in an Australian
coal mine. The crushing system is directly loaded by
a rope shovel. The mine is operated in the two-wing
strip-mining mode. On one side the dragline removes
the waste and discharges it, while on the other side
the in-pit crushing system is used to mine the coal.
The excavator advances step by step, and after the
system has exploited a defined block, a further conveyor is added to the system. This grants high flexibility to the total operation. The requirement to provide a truck operation between shovel and crusher is
eliminated.

Main Characteristics of Crushers


Max.
Capacity
[ t/h ]

Material
hardness
[ MPa ]

Max.
Feed size
[ mm ]

Crushing
ratio

Max.
Quarz
[%]

Water
content at
20% Clas
[ % H2O ]

Hammer
Crusher

4000

100

2000

1 : 70

10

Continuous
Stream
Crusher

3000

50

1200

1: 5

10

Double
Roll
Crusher

7000

100

1800

1: 7

10

25

Impact
Crusher

2000

150

2500

1 : 30

10

10

Jaw
Crusher

1500

350

2000

1: 6

no limit

Gyratory
Crusher

10000

250

2500

1: 6

30

Fig. 15 : Main Characteristics of crushers

Fig. 13 : Fully-mobile IPC with wheelloader

Figure 13 shows schematically how a fully-mobile


crusher is loaded by a wheel loader. Wheel loaders
can be economically used up to a transport distance
of maximum 100 m. In the above figure the transport
distance between loading point and crusher is 50 m.
The next block is blasted after a daily production of
50 m. The crusher advances by 50 m and so the
wheel loader shuttles between the blast rock and the
crusher always over the shortest distance. As
described above, downstream transport is made by
belt convey- ors.
Fully-mobile crushing systems can be equipped with
different types of traveling mechanisms (refer to figure 14).
Directions
of
Movements
[/]

Operating
weight

Max.
Grades

[/]

Under groundpressure
[ N/cm2 ]

[t]

[%]

minutes

50 - 80

300 - 1600

< 10

hours

20 - 50

500 - 1200

< 10

- 300

minutes

10 - 20

200 - 1000

< 10

- 100

hours

< 3

Travelling
Speed

Time for
Movements

[ m/h ]

Wheel - Mounted

400 - 800

Hydraulic Walking
Mechanisms

40 - 100

Crawler - Mounted

Rail - Bound
(Special Applications
only)

Moving System

Fig. 14 : Traveling mechanism of mobile crushers

The figure shows the types of traveling mechanisms


and their characteristics.

Nearly every crusher type (figure 15) can be installed


in mobile or semi-mobile crushing systems. The
crusher is designed according to the planned throughput and expected material to be crushed, while the
plant around the crusher is designed according to the
requirements in the mine. The crushers with high
throughput rates and hard material are the gyratory
crushers with production figures of more than 10 000
t/h. Recent developed crushers, which are actually in
the phase of design and will be commissioned at the
end of 1998, are gyratory crushers attaining rates up
to 12 000 t/h.
In the last years important technical advances have
taken place especially in the field of the semi-mobile
crushing plants.

Fig. 16 : Erection of semimobile crushing plant

Figure 16 shows a semi-mobile crushing plant during


erection in 1995/96. Contrary to the completely assembled plants, the individual components can well
be seen in this figure.
Typical characteristics for this design mode:
- on one side the feed hopper adapted to the wall,
- on the other side an apron feeder extracting the material out of the hopper,
- the fully enclosed crushing part,

the service tower, separated from the plant, to accommodate the electrical and hydraulical equipment
and the drivers stand. It is very important that this
tower is separated from the plant, because otherwise
the vibrations caused by the crusher do hardly affect
the operation and the driver inside the stand.
Hopper bin
Apron feeder

Service tower

Gyratory crusher

Crusher discharge
Substructure
el-20

Fig. 17 :Schematic drawing of semimobile crusher

Figure 17 shows the same plant schematically. Important technical advances were made in the last
years regarding the individual components of these
plants, as there are:
- cone crushers balanced by gyrating masses,
- adjustable apron feeders. Apron feeders can be speedcontrolled by hydraulic drives and be moved in their
axis up to 2.5 m for optimum transfer of the material.
The service of such a crushing plant is fa- cilitated
since the apron feeder can be moved off the plant. For
maintenance purposes the crusher cone can be lifted
upwards by a crane.
Normally, a semi-mobile plant is relocated by external traveling mechanisms, such as transport crawlers.
If no transport crawler is available in the mine, a
transporter on wheels can be used, too, as it is offered
by several companies. Formerly, semi-mobile crushing plants were also relocated by walking pads.
Moving System

Adaptable Walking
Mechanisms

Wheel-mounted
Transporters

Transport - Crawlers

Directions
of
Movements
[/]

Travelling
Time for
Speeds
Movements
[ m/h ]

[/]

Under groundpressure
[ N/cm2 ]

Payload

Max.
Grades

[t]

[%]

40 - 100

*)

max. 50

1000

> 5

0 - 400

*)

max. 80

1200

> 10

100 - 300

*)

max. 20

1200

> 10

*) Dependant on travel-distance

Fig. 18 : Types of transport for semimobile crushers

Figure 18 shows the technical data of the available


traveling systems.
5. SURFACE MINER AND TRUCK EXCAVATOR
(KSM & KTB)
Important new developments in the field of continuous mining are the Surface Miners and the Truck Excavators. They do not load the material directly to

belt conveyors but into large trucks, which adds the


flexibility to work at different spots - located in a
defined circle around the loading station - within the
same time period to the system.. These trucks travel
over short distances to the semi-mobile loading point
in the mine. Additional, the created defined lump size
of the product, suitable already for conveyor transport
gains in a highly economically operation by combining several production steps in one machine.

material with a uni- axial compressive strength of 100


MPa, of course at a reduced production level.
The surface miner as presented offers the possibility
to mine the different materials selectively, as it is
offered for all other surface miners available in the
market (which operate, however, normally at much
lower capacities).Resulting from the digging process
is a clean and compacted working level which is an
ideal road for the haulage trucks.
Fig. 19 : The Krupp Surface Miner ( KSM )

The Surface Miner shown in the above figure has


been operated since 1996 in the Russian Open Pit
Mine Taldinskij to mine hard rock overburden.
Designed for an output of 3500 - 4000 t/h in
materials ranging from 30 to 40 MPa in hardness,
the KSM has already proved its ability to dig
The decisive advantage of this machine against other
bucket wheel excavators is the possibility to store
material on the machine for approx. 20 to 30 sec.
This period seems to be short, but is normally sufficient for a truck change cycle. This mode enables the
excavator to work continuously at full capacity, even
with discontinuous downstream transport of the material mined. The excavator shown in figure 20 for
5800 t/h is in the course of development.

Figure 20: The Krupp Truck BWE (KTB)

The truck bucket wheel excavator (KTB) is a new


development from the year 1997. This excavator is
equipped with a high-power bucket wheel drive and
is able to mine brittle material up to a compressive
strength of some 20 MPa.
way, an in-pit crushing system would be the right
choice, since the crusher is no additional investment.
3 / 4. Transport distance and transport height:
For overburden operations the questions posed are
more complex. Normally, overburden needs no
further crushing and can be directly dumped. An inpit crushing system must have economical advantages compared to a pure heavy truck opera-

6. RENTABILITY ASPECTS

Fig. 21 : Main criteria for evaluation of mining projects

When answering the question which of the possible


mining systems can be applied in a specific project,
the items mentioned in figure 21 have to clarified
first.
1. System capacity:
Basic size, but not decisive for the selection of the
relevant mining system.
2. Material to be mined:
Overburden / useful mineral and solid rock /
unconsolidated rock
First decision aid on the selection of the system
-- refer to figure No. 2
In unconsolidated rock there is always the choice
between a bucket wheel excavator system and a
shovel.
A shovel/truck operation or an in-pit crushing
system can be used in solid rock. If hard pay mineral has to be mined which has to be crushed any-

tion. This is a result of the feasibility calculation.


5 / 6. Material characteristics and deposit characteristics:
Very important features for selection of the machine to be used are the material characteristics,
such as hardness, fissures, tenacity, deposit characteristics. Can selective mining be adopted or is a
seam deposit involved as shown in figure 13 ?

7. Operation Parameters:
A truck operating on a three-shift basis, manned
with 5 persons per truck, costs in a high wage
country, as e.g. Germany nearly 350,000,DM/year.
The same working place, e.g. in the GUS, would
only amount to a fraction of the above costs.
Frequently special energy sources are subsidized
in individual countries, i.e. this has a strong influence on the operating costs.
8 / 9. Financing possibilities and environmental aspects:
A figure is presented in the following to show the
influence of different financing assets to the system decision.
Even environmental aspects, as e.g. blasting vibrations or excessive dust development, are of
de- cisive influence for the system decision.
6. BELT CONVEYORS IN THE MINING SYSTEM
It is in first place the belt conveyor system which
makes a continuously operating mining equipment
pay load of 77 t , this adds to a total of 193 t. The
ratio of pay load to dead load is 193 to 77 = 2.5.
When using a belt conveyor system, 1 m of belt
transports 620 kg of material. The mass rotating and
moving parts, belt, idlers, pulleys, amounts to 154 kg
per meter. Here one obtains the ratio
744 kg to 620 kg = 1.25.
A comparison of the parts to be moved shows that for
a truck unproportionally more dead load has to be
transported than for a belt conveyor system. A further
feature to be considered is that a considerably higher
rolling resistance exits on the truck tires than on the
belt conveyor system. Rolling resistances, even on
well serviced roads, are seldomly lower than 2 %. If
roads are badly maintained and climatic conditions
are unfavorable, the rolling resistance raises quickly
to 4 - 5 %, i.e. related to a transport distance of 100 m
the total material has to be lifted by 5 meters.
This evidences the considerably lower energy requirement of belt conveyors compared to truck operation.

economical. Normally, the investment cost of a belt


conveyor system is higher than the cost of a truck
fleet, the lower operating cost will, however, compensate this higher initial investment very soon.
Figure 22 makes a comparison of the main operating
cost of belt conveyor systems and trucks.

Fig. 22 : Conveyors within a continuously operating system

The expenditure for maintenance costs and wages as


well as the lower energy costs are decisive for selection of a belt conveyor system.
A 85 t truck has a payload of 77 t and a dead weight
of approx. 58 t. One cycle means that the truck has to
transport twice its dead weight of 58 t and once the
System comparisons have always to consider all influencing parameters playing a role in a specific project.
For fast and easy systems comparisons Krupp has
developed a special program for the cost calculations
of open pit mining systems. ( see picture 23 )

Fig. 23 : Krupp Open-Pit Mine Optimization Program

The program itself compares various data bases with

7. SYSTEM COMPARISON
equipment parameters and country specific parameters. On the basis of these data cost comparisons can
be executed for shovel-truck, BWE and for In-Pit
Crushing systems.
As further input to the program the data for the specific project is required, as for example: capacity,
transport distance, fuel cost, interest rates and so on.
The program displays the results for investment costs,
operating costs and the net present value of the project in tabular and graphical charts.
In the following chapters some examples and results

of calculations are presented.


The following pictures are showing a complete system commissioned in the last years (see figures 24
and 25).

Fig. 24 : Scheme of Zhun Geer BWE system


Fig. 25 : Equipment in Zhun Geer BWE system

The pictures represent the open pit system Zhungeer


in China. Only the main equipment is shown here, as
bucket wheel excavator, beltwagon, cable reel car,
hopper car, belt conveyor systems, tripper cars and
spreader. In this specific case 4 bucket wheel excavator systems.
Not only the costs for the main machines have to be
calculated. Also the costs for shifting of the conveyors and for auxiliary equipment, as e.g. the shifting
crawler and the transport crawler have to be considered.
The same applies naturally to the heavy truck operation. For a truck operation the calculations do not
only cover the shovel and the truck but also the
equipment required for road construction as well as
the service shops, the tire stocks etc.
Selection or calculation of the systems is based on the
basic parameters listed in the following figure (refer
to figure 26).
Basic data for comparison of shovel / truck and Bucketwheel
excavator Systems
shovel / truck
Material
Equipment

Bucketwheel
Excavator

Overburden ( no blasting required )


shovels
trucks
equipment for road
construction

Bucketwheel
excavator
Beltwagon
Conveyor
shifting equipment
Spreader

Country

Germany

Climate

normal

Type of organization

private

- Transport distance: 5 km
- Lift: 80 m (refer to figure 27)

Fig. 26 : Basic data for comparison of systems

In this context the organizational form of the mine is


of decisive influence for the system decision. There
exist mines in the same countries with identical climatic conditions, which operate 3000 hours/year and
others with 6000 hours/year. In one case the mines
are State-owned and in other cases the mines are operated by the private industry. With an operating time
of 6000 hours/year the annual equipment capacity is
naturally considerably higher than with a system operating 3000 hours, and the investment is considerable lower with identical annual production rates.
The question whether mines are private- or Stateowned influences the quality of maintenance, the
spare parts storage and many other factors.
The following reference calculation was made under
the above conditions for a production figure of 8 mill.
m resp. 16.8 mill t/a.
Operating cost types:
- Diesel: 0.90 DM/lt.
- Current: 0.11 DM/kWh
- Wage: 56 DM/h

Fig. 27 : Split up of costs of BWE and shovel truck systems

As shown the BWE-System has an approx. 25 %


higher initial investment, however, the operating
costs are considerably lower.
For the same case 16.8 mill. t/a 3 different scenarios
were calculated which were shown in figure 28 as
cash-flow calculation:
Scenario 1: Transport distance 4 km, lift 0 m
Scenario 2: Transport distance 4 km, lift 80 m
Scenario 3: Transport distance 6 km, lift 80 m
In all three scenarios a 1 km longer conveying route
was taken as basis for the belt conveyor system to
consider the laminar working mode of the bucket
wheel excavator.
Higher costs occur in the years 6 - 8 for the trucks
since after this period the economical lifetime of the
trucks has been reached and new trucks have to be
purchesed.
All costs are calculated back to the year 0 with a discount rate of 8 %. Price increases in the range of 3 %
per year were considered.
The cash-flow calculations show how the rentability
of the continuously operating systems is increased
with growing transport distance and transport height
and how the break - even point is shifted forward.
A similar calculation show the figures for an in-pit
crushing system.
The coal mine Ramagundam in India shall serve as
example (refer to figure 29).
4 semi-mobile crushers are operated there, three of
them are for overburden and coal. The total mine has
been designed for a coal production of 2 mill. t per
year. 12 to 14 mill. m of overburden are added to
this sum. During the initial years the total overburden
is transported to an out-of-pit dump, followed by an
in-pit dump. The operation develops in the slewing
mode.
The lower 3 crushers are running over a conveyor
distribution point, where coal is routed to the coal
piles resp. overburden is transported to the spreaders.
The photo in figure 30 was taken early in 1996. It
shows the same mine in the opening-up phase. It
shows 4 crushers at one point, which later move according to advance of the mining operations.

The rentability calculations were made in the same


manner as for the BWE-Systems (refer to figure 31
and 32).
Here similar cost blocks are obtained. The difference
in the operating costs of the in-pit crushing systems
and those of the truck-system is not as great as for the
bucket wheel excavator. The reason is to be found in
the fact that the in-pit crushing system still needs a
certain degree of truck haulage.

Fig. 29 : Schematic drawing of Ramagundam IPC system

Fig. 30 : Ramagundam in spring 1997

Fig. 31 : Split up of costs of IPC and shovel truck systems

Fig. 28 : NPV calculation for different scenarios

In order to feed the semi-mobile crushers, trucks have


to travel between the mining point and the crusher.
The calculation therefore still considers a transport
distance of 700 m, i.e. a large portion has still been
considered in the crushed operation. The calculations
show that the continuous system is economical in the
long run for overburden, too.

Fig. 32: NPV calculation for different scenarios

All cash-flow calculations discussed so far assume a


payment mode requiring the investment in the year 0,
while in the years to follow only the operating costs
are incurred. This mode of payment is seldomly
practiced.
Every mine operator will normally apply for a loan to
be paid back within the course of years. This means
that the payment flow for the capital has also to be
distributed over the years and are started in the year 1
only.
Continuously operating systems with belt conveyors
can be depreciated over a very long period, since the
lifetime of this equipment is frequently 20 years and
more. The above figure 33 shows this case. The IPCSystem is more favorable from the beginning.

Fig. 33 : Different NPV calculations with capital and operating


costs

But even when the IPC-System is depreciated over a


period of 7 years only, i.e. compared to the trucks,
an astonishing picture is obtained (second picture
figure 33). Since a re-investment after 7 years is
only neces- sary for the trucks working in the
system, a cost di- vide in favor of the IPC-System is
obtained.
It is interesting how little the absolute production
figure of the system influences the break-even point,
when comparing continuously and discontinuously
operating systems. The figures 34 to 37 show
similar cash-flow calculations for smaller and bigger
sys- tems.

For a comparison of the system rentability the transport height and the transport distance are much more
decisive.
The lifetime to be expected for a specific project is of
key importance for selection of the right mining system. The calculations have shown that continuously
operating systems should have a longer lifetime
(more than 3 - 4 years) due to their higher initial investment. Since they are in most cases tailored to a
specific application, i.e. can not be so easy resold,
they are only very seldomly cost effective for owners
earning their money with short-term jobs.
In all cases where the sale of the product to be mined,
i.e. to a power plant, cement factory or similar, can be
guaranteed over many years, the continuous systems
will be economic.

Fig. 34 : NPV calculation for 8 mio t/a - BWE v. shovel truck

Fig. 35 : NPV calculation for 29.2 mio t/a - BWE v. shovel truck

Fig. 36 : NPV calculation for 7,6 mio t/a - IPC v. shovel truck

Fig. 37 : NPV calculation for 30.8 mio t/a - IPC v. shovel truck