Sheffield heavy engineering company, DavyMarkham, has secured an important $5.4 million contract for the supply of two heavy duty mining hoists to Volcan Compania Minera of Peru, the fourth largest producer of zinc and silver worldwide.

The order is for production and service hoists for Volcan’s latest Pique Andaychagua mining project in the Yuauli province, some 150km northeast of the Peruvian capital Lima, which will be designed for an estimated production rate of 4,000t per day from depths down to 970m.

This is DavyMarkham’s first contract gain in Peru, which occupies a leading position in the global production of silver, gold, lead, copper and zinc, with the potential of soon becoming the mining industry leader in Latin America, according to market experts.

Designed and produced in Sheffield, with the drums modelled using advanced finite element analysis (FEA) software, the Volcan scope of supply includes a 12ft (3.66m) double drum production hoist, capable of hauling twin ore skips, and an 8ft 4in (2.54m) single drum service hoist, equipped with a personnel carrying cage, with the latter also designed to undertake shaft sinking duties prior to operating in final production mode.

The service hoist will have a payload capacity of 2,400kg, will operate to a shaft depth of 940m and is scheduled for delivery this autumn. The larger production winch has a maximum payload of 9,000kg, will operate to depths up to 970m, and is due for commissioning next spring.

Originally incorporated in 1943, Volcan Compania Minera is one of the two largest national mining companies and a major polymetals producer from its high altitude mines in the Andes mountains of central Peru. The company has more than 3,000 direct employees and a further 8,000 staff employed through its contractors; its mining concessions cover an area of approximately 290,000 hectares, with six concentration plants, ranking it as Peru’s largest producer of lead and silver and the second-largest of zinc.

In 2010 Volcan reported annual net profits of $272 million, a 60% increase on the previous twelve months, and announced plans to push ahead with expansion projects, which will see it produce nickel for the first time and almost double silver output by 2015.

The new DavyMarkham hoists will contribute toward Volcan’s ambitious production targets, at the same time cementing the Sheffield concern’s market status as a world leader in mine winder technology. The mechanical equipment will be based on a proven DM design supplied extensively to the global mining industry over the last 15 years and the principal components like drums, shafts and bearings will be subject to rigorous metallurgical analysis, based on the required modes of operation and calculated rope loads.

The grooved drums will be modelled using FEA methodology, which can fully represent material thicknesses and apply all the relevant loads for accurately predicting stress levels. The equipment will comply with current mining plant legislation in Peru and the latest SABS regulations relating to rope safety.

The Volcan production hoist is a double drum configuration with one fixed and one clutched drum assembly, each with a 12ft (3.66m) diameter and 5ft (1.52m) width, running on a drumshaft supported by a pair of self-aligning bearings.

The two drums will be assembled in halves from rolled steel plate, for ease of transportation and site assembly, and precision machined to provide parallel grooving and half-pitch crossovers for the 1¾in (44.45mm) diameter multistrand rope. The whole arrangement will be directly driven by two geared motors, via a low speed coupling.

The service winch is a single drum unit, for hoisting from one seam level at a time, with a diameter of 8ft 4in (2.54m) and a width of 5ft (1.52m). This auxiliary hoist is a simplified version of the main production unit, with a fully fabricated drum assembly, single-piece forged steel shaft and no clutch. It will be driven by a double reduction gear unit and foot-mounted drive motor linked by a high speed flexible coupling.

The electrical drives and controls for the new Volcan hoists will be subcontracted to ABB Sweden, a long-time commercial partner of the Sheffield company in the mining sector, and ABB is also supplying the hydraulic brake control system. DavyMarkham is providing the disk brake assemblies for both hoists, which are spring applied, hydraulically released failsafe units, with infrared temperature transmitters providing thermal monitoring of braking surfaces.

The scope of supply will also include hydraulic power packs, guards and handrails for the hoist house, supervision of on-site installation and commissioning services by DavyMarkham technicians, and two weeks training for local operators.