Urgent mine site repairs: A lesson in time and quality

Image: Pacific Hydraulics.

Pacific Hydraulics was recently presented with the opportunity to prove their customer first mindset to a major mining customer in Papua New Guinea. The results speaks for themselves, with a happy customer and a fully functioning mine being achieved.

Ok Tedi Mining is a 100 per cent PNG owned company, mining copper, gold and silver. The mine has been operating for over 35 years and is a vital contributor to the PNG economy.

Pacific Hydraulics has been a strategic partner of Ok Tedi Mining for over 25 years, supplying new products and repairing and maintaining existing ones. Although Pacific Hydraulics is located within Australia, Ok Tedi Mining trust them to keep the hydraulic components of their mine running to full capacity. Pacific Hydraulics Brendale branch have been instrumental in providing on-site repair and maintenance services, off-site equipment repair and test services as well as specific onsite training for Ok Tedi’s National Tradesmen.

A recent service job had a Pacific Hydraulics service technician attend site to troubleshoot an existing brake unit, used for an ore conveyor park brake which is spring applied hydraulic release. This conveyor provides stock pile ore for SAG mill crushing and is a very important link in the gold recovery operation. With the breaking unit down, national tradesmen were on duty 24 hours a day to manually operate a hand pump system, included in original supply, to release and apply the brakes manually.

The brake unit was part of a system installed by Pacific Hydraulics approximately 20 years ago. Given the age of the system, the technician stripped down the unit and thoroughly serviced and tested the system, hydraulically and electrically, restoring the brake unit to good working order for automatic function.

A second issue requiring attention

Whilst on site, the Pacific Hydraulics service technician was asked if he could take a look at SAG 1 grinding mill lubrication system, which was not providing trunnion lift pressure to generate a mill start sequence. Without this system being operational, the mill cannot function, costing the mine $420,000 Papua New Guinean kina per hour. The lubrication system had been down for approximately six hours!

Naturally the technician agreed and proceeded to inspect the lubrication system. It was soon determined that the system had an issue with its valves, with the technician able to solve the problem quickly onsite, without needing additional parts, which would have delayed the repair further.

The end result was the Ok Tedi mine site returning to an operational state within the shortest possible time frame.

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