Northern Star Resources has added 60-ton (54.4 tonnes) Volvo A60H articulated trucks to its operations at the Alaska-based Pogo gold mine.
Pogo is considered one of the two more productive Alaska gold mines alongside Kinross Gold’s Fort Knox open pit mine. Both mines grind out a combined 47,000 tons of ore and pour up to three gold bar each day, according to Volvo.
Two Volvo A60H machines were chosen and join the Pogo surface fleet of articulated trucks based on its specifications, options and cost considerations.
Its Volvo V-ACT 16-litre, six-cylinder straight variable geometry turbocharged (VGT) diesel engine delivers 630 horsepower. This allows the A60’s to climb the four-mile-long (6.43 kilometres), 12- to 14-degree gradient road to the Pogo dry-dump day-in and day-out, moving loads of tailings from the mine.
Pogo also relies on a pair of Volvo A40E articulated haul trucks and a second pair of Volvo A40F articulated trucks to complement its onsite permanent staff of around 350 and another 100 independent contractors.
“We were running a bit behind the underground guys with our four A40’s. It’s not that I wanted to get rid of them, they were great, we just needed to add something bigger,” Pogo general manager Chris Kennedy said.
Volvo A60H is the world’s first 60-ton articulated truck and represents a giant leap forward in terms of articulated haul truck technology, according to Volvo.
The truck design was conceptualised for heavy hauling in severe off-road conditions similar to those at the Pogo mine. Its LED lighting system also provides plenty of light to improve visibility and safety of operation, according to Pogo surface supervisor Atti van Rensburg.
“You’re hauling 1000 to 1300 tons of material per day over some very rough terrain, sitting behind the wheel for 12 hours straight, so comfort of the cabin is really important,” Anthony Sousa, a heavy machine operator, said.
“And that doesn’t mean only the suspension, but also air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter.”