Barrick Gold on the move

BARRICK Gold is upgrading its underground load and haul fleet at Darlot, one of six mines in Western Australia, with the aim of increasing overall output from fewer, more efficient, machines.

Barrick Gold is upgrading its underground load and haul fleet at Darlot, one of six mines in Western Australia, with the aim of increasing overall output from fewer, more efficient, machines.

The new fleet will be built around the Sandvik “dynamic duo” of TH660 trucks and LH621 loaders. This combination pairs the world’s first 60 tonne underground truck with the only loader currently in service anywhere in the world with a genuine 21 tonne capacity. This enables the trucks to take on a maximum load with only three passes of the loader, creating a very fast turnaround.

The decision to introduce three TH660 trucks into the fleet comes on the back of Barrick’s renewal of a longstanding service contract with Sandvik, who undertake all maintenance and repairs on underground drills, trucks and loaders at Darlot.

The contract, which has been in operation since May 2001, has recently been extended for a further three years.

Ironically, in the context of a fleet modernisation process, a key influence has been the performance of a distinctly elderly Sandvik LH621 (former TORO 11) loader, the second ever built and now the oldest in use anywhere in the world.

The loader won hearts on Valentine’s Day this year when it passed the 30,000 hour performance mark, understood to be the first time this milestone has ever been achieved by a loader in this class.

In service at Darlot this sturdy workhorse has averaged 100 hours a week for the past six years, and a scheduled rebuild will hopefully see it continuing to load ore for Barrick for many more years to come.

Reliability and relationship are key.

Darlot mine manager, Peter Cowley, said Barrick had a strong commitment to the service contract concept, with long-running agreements with Sandvik at their WA mines, Darlot and Plutonic.

“At Darlot, we have a close working relationship with the Sandvik crew, who are involved in all appropriate meetings and processes; and also our celebrations – for example, when we recently achieved two years with no lost-time injuries, and one million injury-free operating hours,” said Peter.

“As an organisation, Sandvik demonstrates a firm commitment to high safety standards and ensuring the reliability of the equipment they maintain for us. A cornerstone of their approach is proactive maintenance, fixing small things before they become major issues,” he said.

Peter said the longevity of the record-breaking Sandvik LH621 (former TORO 11) loader was a case in point.

“This machine has been operationally reliable and has had no major structural failures, which is outstanding for a hard rock loader averaging 100 hours a week for more than six years,” he said.

Darlot gold mine

The Darlot gold mine is located on the Yandal Greenstone Belt, approximately 680 kilometers northeast of Perth, Western Australia.

The mine is owned by a wholly-owned subsidiary of Barrick, and operates on a fly-in, fly-out basis (as do the other two mines in the Yilgarn District).

In 2006, Darlot produced 137,000 ounces of gold at total cash costs of $305 per ounce. Proven and probable mineral reserves as of December 31, 2006 are estimated at 0.8 million ounces of gold.

Sandvik is a global industrial group with advanced products and world-leading positions in selected areas — tools for metal cutting, machinery and tools for rock excavation, stainless materials, special alloys, metallic and ceramic resistance materials as well as process systems.

The Group had at the end of 2007 about 47,000 employees and representation in 130 countries, with annual sales of more than SEK 86,000 M.

Sandvik Mining and Construction is a business area within the Sandvik Group and a leading global supplier of machinery, cemented-carbide tools, service and technical solutions for the excavation and sizing of rock and minerals in the mining and construction industries. Annual sales 2007 amounted to about SEK 33,100 M, with about 15,200 employees.

Key contact:

Scott Rowe

Sandvik Mining and Construction Australia

08 9347 8668

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