ERLAU TPC keeps CAT 993F loading iron ore in Kazachstan.

Twenty years or so ago if anything at all was known about Kazakhstan it was as the Soviet Union’s nuclear testing site and an environmentally disastrous cotton-growing project.

Today, this large, land-locked, Central-Asian country is a major source of fossil fuels and base and precious metals including; Chromite, Bauxite, Coal, Cobalt, Copper, Gold, Iron, Lead, Manganese, Molybdenum, Natural gas, Nickel, Oil, Silver, Tungsten, Uranium and Zinc.

Since independence in 1991, Kazakhstan, the second largest of the former Soviet republics has, through a series of partnerships with foreign investors and resource companies, pursued a programme to revitalise and widen its’ mining and oil industries.

Where major resource companies are falling over themselves to bring these riches to market there is bound to be excitement among international suppliers of heavy plant, equipment and services.

Amongst the miners, Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation plc (ERNC) holds some ten properties in Kazachstan including the Sokolov-Sarbai Mining Production Association (SSGPO), Kazakhstan’s largest iron ore producer employing 18,500 and, according to available figures, ranking 11th in the world. SSGPO holds confirmed iron ore resources total 4.2 bn tonnes and reserves a further 1.5bn tonnes which, at current production rates suggests a mine life of around 40 years. In 2009 primary iron ore concentrate produced was 15,197 kt.

The operation include the Sokolovsky, Sarbaisky, Kacharsky and Korzhinkolskiy open the Sokolovsky underground mine; dolomite, limestone and bentonite quarries and associated crushing, concentrating and pelletising facilities. Low-cost power is suppled from the Rudny heat and energy plant.

For 2010, ERNC’s capital expenditure, including repairs, is expected to amount to some US$1.5 bn. Highlights of expenditure for the Iron Ore division were a pelletiser and DRI/ HBI plant, a conveyor complex, a mine expansion and delivery of a CAT 993K.

ERNC’s first CAT 993F. the wheeled loader is powered by a CAT C32 ACERT engine generating 780 kW (1050 hp), with a bucket breakout force of 709.2 kN and a 23.7 m3 capacity bucket can hoist up to 22.7 tonnes in a single pass.

To protect the 993K’s Michelin XLD D2, 50/65 R51 tyres from cuts and the abrasive iron ore the CAT has been fitted with a pair of ERLAU TPC GRANIT PLUS X22 tyre protection chains (TPC).

ERLAU TPC TPCs are chosen for their long-life, light-weight energy-saving links and the product support available from the leading supplier.

Each weighting 3.5 tonnes, the chains were fitted by ERLAU TPC engineers and, to ensure optimum service life, ERLAU TPC are providing on-site support – 24/7.