Sustainable mining in the future

ABB has won a 103 million US$ contract from Brazilian mining company Vale to install electrical and automation systems at a modern iron ore mine in the Carajás mountains of northern Brazil as part of a major capacity expansion. This order follows a previous 140 million US$ contract won by ABB to complete the first phase of the S11D project, supplying and installing automation and electrical equipment for the process plant that separates the ore from the spoil material.

With this order, ABB will supply a 230 kilovolt in-feed substation to connect the mine to the electricity grid as well as 42 secondary substations. These secondary substations will be contained in ABB’s E-houses (Fig. 1), pre-fabricated, walk-in, modular, outdoor enclosures designed to house a range of electrical and automation equipment. ABB will also supply the motors driving the mine’s conveyor belts.

Vale is developing a sustainable mine of the future in the Amazon. The S11D will still represent an industry vanguard in 20 to 30 years. ABB’s first contract for S11D, announced in September 2012, required the installation and successful commissioning of the primary transmission substation, the first of its kind in Brazil. With this next phase, ABB has now been asked to extend the electrification system to the excavators, stackers, reclaimers and conveyor-belt system at the mine itself. Truckless transportation (Fig. 2) will use conveyor belts to move rock and ore around the site with lower carbon emissions, reduced operating costs and greater safety than the truck-based system it is replacing. This is the first time such a solution will have been used on a large scale at an iron ore mine.


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