Tyre Chains: A Diamond Miner’s Best Friend?

ERLAU TPC saves LeTourneau’s tyres at Artic lake diamond mine.

Page 188 from the November 2011 issue of The Australian Way extolls the joys of owning an unique, certificated, Diavik diamond.

Located 220km south of the North Pole and accessed by a single road across frozen tundra and solid ice, the 20km², 9mt, Diavik open-pit is probably the most demanding diamond mine in the world.

Consisting of aged supracrustal, Archaean feldspar and quartz, intruded by undeformed granites and a glass-like diabase, Diavik’s till-covered, glaciated Kimberlite is unlike any other diamond-bearing deposit.

Giant machines engaged in reaching Diavik’s diamonds include a team of Drilltech blasthole rigs, a 35t, LeTourneau, front-end loader and a fleet of 90t and 220t Komatsu haul trucks – all supported by 22t and 35t Hitachi excavators, a 21m³ Terex excavator, assorted graders, backhoes and tracked and wheeled bulldozers.

Daily, these machines face the combined challenges of climate extremes and the highly abrasive kimberlite.

Subjected to constant attrition from the rock and facing the risk of tread and side-wall damage, earthmover tyres will not last long In these conditions without appropriate protection.

To ensure maximum tyre life, the tread and the sidewalls of the LeTourneau’s 60/80X57 tyres are completely shielded from cuts and abrasion by a four ERLAU TPC GRANIT PLUS X22 tyre protection chains (TPC) supplied from the US by RUD Inc.

As in copper and gold mines high in the Andes, large, loaded trucks running on icy haul roads, lose traction and become hard to control.

In these circumstances, mine operators often fit ERLAU TPC Terraplus traction chains to gain the extra ‘bite’ that gets their trucks safely from A to B.

Available in link diameters from 11mm to 22mm, whether it be ice, clayey coal mines or soft earth,, Terraplus is in great demand wherever poor traction is a problem.

Fitted to many of mining’s giant earthmovers, the GRANIT PLUS X22 is a leading ERLAU TPC brand providing both traction and protection to costly tyres and significantly improving plant availability, productivity and profitability..

Having already won 5.5m carats from surface excavation, Diavik is now digging deep into the bowels of the earth to bring a further 30m carats to the light of day.

The underhand method chosen to work the mine will require continuous miners supported by low profile loaders and haulers to cut and carry the diamond bearing rock.

Here, the mine is able to use ERLAU TPC’s Toro X19 TPCs which are designed specifically to fit within the tight wheel arch of these machines and provide all-round protection from abrasion and piercing.

As the advert says; "To own a Diavik diamond is to become part of a truly remarkable story".

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