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Finding the right fit - risks and opportunities of open-pit crushing and conveying

Scott McEwing
Monday, July 1, 2019
First presented: 
Global Mining Review, July 2019

In suitable mining projects, in-pit crushing and conveying (IPCC) can provide operating cost reductions to the tune of 20 - 60% savings, depending on project specifics.
For this reason, IPCC systems have been in use around the world for decades. IPCC systems consist of a primary crusher installed in-pit, close to the active mining areas. The crusher is used to crush mined material to a suitable size for transportation via a downstream conveyor system. The conveyor then transports the crushed material out of the mine.
Material haulage is recognised as a significant contributor to both the operating and capital cost components of mining projects. In a conventional mining operation, mine haul trucks carry all the mined material within the ore pit up and out of the mine for either stockpiling, feeding directly to the processing plant, or for stowing in a waste facility.
IPCC systems allow the mine to utilise lower cost electricity and an efficient conveyor transportation system to reduce the haulage costs.
IPCC systems can be used in a range of commodities, and can be configured to suit a wide range of mining scenarios from long hauls in near surface tabular deposits, such as bauxite, coal or iron ore projects, to deep, long-life mines.
Examples of IPCC configuration include:
  • Ore or waste – engineering the system to transport ore or waste, or in specific instances, both.
  • Scale – applications can range in size from small-scale to suit low production quarries, or very large-scale to provide economies of scale to large-scale mining operations.
  • Relocations – fixed, semi-mobile or fully mobile crusher options can be considered.
As mine trucks operate at their slowest speed on upslope/uphill ramps, the largest cost savings are usually found by minimising the vertical height that a mine truck travels. IPCC has also been used in strataform deposits, where long conveyors offer significant haulage cost savings over flat hauls beyond the efficient operating hauls of mine trucks.


Feature Author

Scott McEwing

Scott McEwing has over 22 years’ mining industry experience. He is a mining engineer who is skilled in due diligence, project management and technical mine planning in most commodities. Scott is familiar with the value chain of resources projects and has been exposed to all aspects from exploration through to closure. He has been SRK’s project manager for the delivery of a number of due diligences and large multi-discipline feasibility studies for both Australian and international projects. His technical skills include mine planning, optimisation and design. He is proficient in the use of computerised mining software packages – Whittle and MineSight, in particular. Scott has held both production and planning operational roles in Australia at Golden Grove and Boddington Gold Mine, and in New Zealand at the Martha Mine. Whilst being a consultant with SRK, Scott has been seconded to several mining operations.

Principal Consultant (Mining)
BEng (Mining), FAusIMM(CP
SRK Perth
SRK Africa