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Sishen – doing the maintenance mile

Big trucks need big facilities, and South Africa’s largest iron ore producer Kumba Iron Ore, a business unit of Anglo American, has pulled out all the stops to ensure that its Kathu-based Sishen operation has sufficient maintenance facilities for the first new ultra-class Komatsu 960E trucks. Already in use at the mine, they are the key to moving substantially higher volumes of waste in coming years to sustain iron ore production at a 37 Mtpa capacity, writes Mining Review Africa.

As one of the world’s five largest open pit mines, Sishen mine is no stranger to big sizes. As the ore body dips and thins to the west, waste stripping of up to 270 Mtpa is required for the production of 37 Mtpa of iron ore. To provide for these increased material movement requirements the fleet has been expanded to include 81 Komatsu 960 and 860E haul trucks, all fitted with collision avoidance systems.

According to a review conducted in 2010, the maintenance facilities and outside storage capacity was insufficient for the fleet and much larger facilities would be needed to correctly and safely maintain the giant 960E trucks, which measure in at 7.37 m in height, 9.6 m in width and 15.6 m in length and boast a carrying capacity of 350 t.

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