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Λογότυπος της Ευρωπαϊκής Επιτροπής
Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Objectives of the commitment

The objective of the project is to develop and implement a continuous and flexible haulage system for underground mining. Flexible haulage system is required for example in hard rock cutting applications as well as drill and blast operations of platinum mining. The system will transport material from either the cutting machine or a mobile crusher to the main conveyor belt. The flexible haulage system allows improvements of productivity and safety in underground mining of complex and difficult deposits. Mechanization of current mining methods by using the continuous haulage machine will enable improvement of mining sequence. The flexible haulage system is based on a closed belt system which is mounted on several traction modules. The traction modules will allow the conveyor belt to be mobile. The closed conveyor belt can transport the material around small vertical as well as horizontal turning radii. Currently used equipment, either shuttle cars (SC) or loader hauler dumpers (LHD) are very limited in capacity and are so called batch hauling systems which do not allow an efficient mining method. Use of the flexible haulage system will also reduce the required manpower in comparison to the existing methods.

Description of the activities

The project consists of three main activities

• Phase 1 – Research
• Phase 2 – Development
• Phase 3 – Technology demonstration

The system is based on combining known and proven solutions and technologies used within the industry. Research phase includes a complete feasibility study of the concept, conceptual drawings of the system and its components, all required technical static and dynamic calculations, hydraulic and electric concept details, and basic interaction to mine infrastructure, basic operational risk review of the concept and complete documentation of the concept.

Development phase includes the detailed engineering, fabricating and testing the concept. Sandvik completes all required mechanical and electrical engineering work to enable the complete fabrication of the system. The Conveyor Belt as well as its related mechanical (idlers, rollers, scrapers etc.) and electric/electronic components (drives, friction drives, sensors monitoring systems) will be provided by ContiTech. The development of the continuous belt concept will be divided into several phases

- Concept study of belt and system modifications with the goal to reduce space and complexity compared to existing applications and its related developments
- Approval of belt and components according to relevant underground legislations
- Stress simulation of belt and modification of belt design when necessary
- Dynamical testing of compound, belt and components under laboratory conditions
- Participation and support in design, installation, commissioning, maintenance and service of test system
- Participation and support in design, installation, commissioning, maintenance and service of prototype machine

In order to verify the engineering details and the function of the machine a short version of the haulage system (~ 48 m conveying distance) including loading and discharge section will be built. The technology demonstration includes a detailed workshop test plus a maximum 3 month site test at a specified area. All required infrastructure and assisting labor for the assembly onsite and the operation onsite will be provided by AngloAmerican.

There is a potential to incorporate a SME for simulation (not part of the Commitment yet). The simulation of the concept will ensure the full function of the machine in any specified operating environment (e.g. grade). In addition, it will assist in defining the technical items before final designing the equipment.

Description of the expected impacts

The easily accessible ore reserves of the Platinum Group Metals (PGM) mineral deposits in Southern Africa have been depleted while the new reserves are discovered in greater depths than previously. The accessibility, safe and economical extraction of these reserves in the greater depths are becoming more challenging. With the deterioration of environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity, rock stresses and seismicity in deep mines, the use of high labour intensive operations is nearing its limits.

The PGM are found in two reefs, namely the richer grade Merensky ore body and a lower grade UG2. The Merensky has been mined extensively, and is almost depleted. The remaining reserves of this ore body lie at depths exceeding 1000m. On the other hand, the UG2 ore body that lies between 40m and 140m below the Merensky has not being mined extensively because of its relative low grade. In order to extract these minerals economically, large volumes of it would have to be mined. Also, the development advance rates would have to increase and open the new ground quicker in order to sustain this required higher volume production. With the higher production volumes, new mining methods, technology and ore transportation systems would have to be developed and deployed.

With the latest development and introduction of hard-rock cutting machines into PGM mining operations, a need has arisen for an effective, continuous means of clearing broken ore from the mining face. In the existing drill and blast underground PGM operations, ore is cleared by use of electrically driven winches or Loader Hauler Dumper (LHD) fleets. However, with increased continuous cutting capabilities of the hard-rock cutting machinery, the development of a flexible hard rock conveyance system is being envisaged to be able to maximize uninterrupted cutting time and the productivity of such machines, at the same time increasing the safety of personnel by removing them from the danger and difficult condition areas which could be achieved by automation. It has been estimated that the replacement of the two LHDs by a continuous flexible hard rock conveyance system behind the cutting machine could increase its effective cutting time by 28% or, if automated and operated form the surface, by an additional 55%, which would lead to greater accessibility and extractability of low grade PGM ore bodies.

Coordinating organisation & role

Name of the coordinating organisation: Sandvik Mining and Construction Materials Handling GmbH & CoCountry: AustriaEntity profile: Private sector - large companyRole within the commitment:

Sandvik is responsible for the design of the system from concept to final drawings and manufacturing and testing of the technology demonstrator.

Other partners

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Angewandten Forschung e.V.

Name of the organisation: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Angewandten Forschung e.V. Country: Germany Entity profile: Governmental/public body
Role within the commitment: Fraunhofer will lead the CFRP and GFRP recycling research.
Fraunhofer will perform corrosion tests on the developed materials.
Fraunhofer will work with CIDAUT on the implementation, validation and refinement of LCCA tools for the project. Fraunhofer is the Quality Manager of the Consortium and will oversee deliverables and general reporting are produced with the best possible quality following agreed review standards.

Fundacion Cidaut

Name of the organisation: Fundacion Cidaut Country: Spain Entity profile:
Role within the commitment: CIDAUT will lead the research activities on materials recycling and compounding, implementing lab scale demonstrators of each process at its premises and, later, supporting end-users upscale the processes.
CIDAUT will perform mechanical tests, microstructural analyses, injection moulding capability studies on the developed materails, and will work with Fraunhofer on the implementation, validation and refinement of LCCA tools for the project.

RWTH Aachen University (Institute of plastic processing (IKV)

Name of the organisation: RWTH Aachen University (Institute of plastic processing (IKV) Country: Germany Entity profile: Governmental/public body
Role within the commitment: RWTH will implement the novel 3D Generative Preforming process (3D Fibre Spraying) that enables to create high-value long fibre-reinforced 3D preforms for thermoplastic and thermoset composites at low process costs (different kinds of yarn as a raw material, low tooling costs due to low cavity pressures). This cost effective technology allows to align the sprayed fibres in order to produce high-performance, engineered anisotropic products.

Universita' di Cagliari

Name of the organisation: Universita' di Cagliari Country: Italy Entity profile:
Role within the commitment: University of Cagliari is one of the leading European organization in the resin design and coupling with thermoplastic and thermose materials. University of Cagliari will support in the definition of the composite materials, both from CFRP/GFRP, ABS and Rare Earth composite material.

Relight

Name of the organisation: Relight Country: Italy Entity profile: Private sector - SME
Role within the commitment: RELIGHT will work with ITRB to provide the research partners with residues for the recycled ABS supply and the REE recovery processes, including their HydroWEEE process as part of the processes to be studied and analyzed.

Piaggio Aerospace

Name of the organisation: Piaggio Aerospace Country: Italy Entity profile: Private sector - large company
Role within the commitment: Piaggio Aerospace is one of the project End Users (Aeronautics Industry): as such it will provide requirements and further applications that could be developed with the Consortium Materials. Piaggio will assist in the compounds selection, provide Fraunhofer with specific corrosion requirements on business jet size aircraft, and will assess that the developed materials performance fits the selected applications desired improvements.

Blackshape Aircrafts

Name of the organisation: Blackshape Aircrafts Country: Italy Entity profile: Private sector - SME
Role within the commitment: Blackshape Aircrafts is one of the project End Users (Aeronautics Industry): as such it will provide requirements and further applications that could be developed with the Consortium Materials. Blackshape will support to fulfill the requirements of the aeronautics industry on ultra light jet, light jet and trainer for Syllabus, and will assess that the developed alloys performance fits the selected applications desired improvements.

KU Leuven

Name of the organisation: KU Leuven Country: Belgium Entity profile: Academia
Role within the commitment: KUL will collaborate on the balance problem studies and will lead the rare earth recovery research with the solvometallurgical and ionometallurgical processes.
KUL will also contribute to the final compounding selection.
KUL is the Dissemination Manager of the project, promoting that all partners are active on the project Dissemination.

FIDAMC

Name of the organisation: FIDAMC Country: Spain Entity profile: Governmental/public body
Role within the commitment: FIDAMC is going to lead the Work Package on Compression Moulding with CFRP-enhanced materials. As part of the AIRBUS Group, FIDAMC will also be able to provide the input material.
FIDAMC successfully developed a 3D Printer of own design to serve the Aerospace Industry and will be supporting Smart Lab 3D Industries in its 3D printer design.

COMPOSITE INNOVATION CENTER

Name of the organisation: COMPOSITE INNOVATION CENTER Country: Canada Entity profile: Governmental/public body
Role within the commitment: Composite Innovation Center is one of the world leading organization in the field of Composite materials, both from carbon fiber and vegetal-based fibers.
Composite Innovation center has successfully implemented, at lab-scale, recycling processes for CFRP and GFRP.

Existing EU Contribution: No

Period to implement the commitment: from 01-03-2014 to 31-12-2016