ABB was recently contacted to supply the drive system for a new semi-autogenous grinding (SAG) mill at Neves Corvo/Portugal. The contract was awarded in June 2011. Neves Corvo is an underground mine, located 100 km north of Faro within the Iberian Pyrite belt and one of Europe’s most important copper mines. It started operating in 1988, producing both copper and zinc-ore. The company changed ownership in 2004 and is now fully owned by Lundin Mining. ABB’s scope of supply includes two converter transformers, one excitation transformer, an MV frequency converter and one synchronous motor. The MV frequency converter operated motor will improve the grinding process by varying equipment speed as needed. Its low speed operation will allow for removal of the gearbox from the drive train, thus reducing costs and need for maintenance as well as increasing efficiency.
It will also improve operation by enabling frozen charge protection, controlled roll back, as well as inching and creeping for service purposes. This new mill will be operated with the world largest single pinion low speed drive system. The available shaft power is 8500kW with a motor speed of 174 rpm. ABB‘s good relationship with Lundin Mining, existing project references and state-of-the-art low speed grinding solutions helped to win this order. This solution offers the highest power for a mill application of its type and has been proven at various installations around the globe. The ABB supply will optimize Neves Corvo’s process, increase production efficiency and improve its energy efficiency. Equipment delivery is scheduled for the third quarter of 2012, with installation and commissioning scheduled for early 2013. Lundin Mining Corporation has operations in Ireland, Sweden, Spain and Portugal where it specializes in base metals mining, producing copper, zinc, lead and nickel. The company is currently expanding its Neves Corvo mine and equity stake in the Congo world class copper/cobalt mine Tenke Fungurume.