Since switching to three Komatsu WA600-6 loaders to feed a crushing plant at the Kalgoorlie Super Pit, WA-based Crushing Services International is improved service, lower operating costs, better fuel consumption, less downtime and reduced tyre turnover.

02062010SwitchToKomatsuLoadersPaysOffForCSI-(1).jpgCrushing Services International (CSI) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mineral Resources Limited, and provides a range of contract crushing and specialised mine services across all metalliferous mining sectors (gold, copper, iron ore, manganese).

Its core activities are providing crushing and screening services to the mining industry, and it has operations around Australia.

Since starting operations in 1995, CSI has established a reputation as a provider of unique, quality products and services tailored specifically to the needs of each client. As part of its approach, CSI determines the crushing requirements for its clients, designs a job-specific plant, manufactures the plant and provides on-site operation and maintenance.

For the past six years, it has had a contract with Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines (KCGM), to crush around 320,000-330,000 tonnes of blue rock a month. This crushed rock is used for feeding the mill circuit and all roadbase and stemming for the mine.

In August 2009, CSI commissioned three WA600-6 loaders replacing three loaders of another brand to feed the crushing plant at a rate of 600 tonnes/hour, said Mark "Nugget"Grice, CSI's Kalgoorlie site manager.

Depending on how far from the crusher the stockpiles are, one or two machines are used to feed the plant, with the other on stand-by to ensure no lost production.

"Generally we prefer to use just one machine to feed the plant, but that depends how far away the dirt is. Sometimes it's up to 200 m away, which is a 400 m round trip, so we'll use two machines in a load-and-carry operation," said Nugget.

"The loaders carry 11.5 tonnes per bucketload, they work 22.5 hours a day, and we are constantly rotating them.

"Overall, our new WA600s are really going well, and they are much cheaper than the previous machines; running costs are lower, fuel costs are less, and tyre wear and tear is greatly reduced," he said.

"In particular, we get much better tyre life because the bucket shape on the WA600s means they don't spill material, which is a really big bonus for us. They have a completely different bucket design," he said.

"Across all three loaders, which have done about 2000 hours each so far, we've done just two tyres.

"Now if that had been the previous machines, we'd have been through about six tyres, because of rocks spilling out of the buckets, then the loaders driving over them.

"We're getting no spillage with the Komatsu buckets; they are very good like that. We can drive with a full load in fourth gear, go around corners, and nothing falls out."

Nugget has also been very impressed with the levels of service from Komatsu Australia.

"If any of the Komatsu loaders breaks down and we recognise that machines do break down there's someone out that day to fix it.

"We had nothing but dramas with the previous make of loaders, especially getting a serviceman to come out and fix them," he said.

"Since going to Komatsu Australia, the service has been much better. One of the new Komatsu loaders went down with some major component issues, and it was all fixed within 24 hours under warranty.

"If that had been the other supplier, it would have been down for a week," he said.

"We've also seen Komatsu loaders still working at up to 30,000 hours, whereas other machines seem to be struggling to reach 10,000 hours in our sort of operations," said Nugget.

"We're very happy with the service we are getting from Komatsu; they make a point of telling me what's going on. For example, they'll call me up and tell me exactly what time the service people are coming out."