Better material flow at Carmen de Andacollo

Weba Chute Systems, which designs and installs bulk material transfer solutions, has engineered a new transfer point to replace an underperforming chute at Carmen de Andacollo in the Coquimbo region of Chile
Better material flow at Carmen de Andacollo Better material flow at Carmen de Andacollo Better material flow at Carmen de Andacollo Better material flow at Carmen de Andacollo Better material flow at Carmen de Andacollo

Staff reporter

PRESS RELEASE: Carmen de Andacollo is an open-pit copper operation, with Teck owning a 90% interest in the mine and Empresa Nacional de Mineria holding the balance of shares. 

The new chute system transfers material from a double-deck screen feeding oversize material from both decks to a conveyor. Material throughput is 2,000tph with a lump size of minus 85mm.

Alwin Nienaber, technical director at Weba Chute Systems, explained that in the previous installation the manner in which material was being presented onto the conveyor was causing impact damage and excessive spillage. The spillage had to be controlled using extremely hard skirtings under such tension that this had been causing extreme damage to the conveyor resulting in frequent belt replacement. 

“It is not uncommon for us to see this type of issue which arises from inadequate plant design,” Nienaber said. “When the transfer points do not receive the requisite attention during the design of the plant, numerous problems can occur during operation.”

According to Nienaber, the previous chute was essentially just a box structure and this was problematic as the material flow was not controlled and it directly impacted onto the conveyor from the screen. To add to this situation the receiving conveyor design was also compromised. 

“We were able to design a new transfer point solution that would accommodate the shallow flow angle required in this application,” he said. “By custom engineering the chute we were also able to design it in such a way so as to feed the material onto the conveyor in the direction of belt travel. This then eliminated the issues associated with the previous direct impact.”

The design of Weba Chute Systems also allows for absolute control of the material and, in this application, has been configured to force a concentrated stream from the screen decks onto the conveyor. Due to the compromised general arrangement between the screen and conveyor, skirts are still required to eliminate spillage. To provide further protection against sliding abrasion, the chute has been lined with high alumina ceramic tiles.