At the sixth In-Pit Crushing & Conveying – IPCC 2022 conference in Cancun, Mexico, held April 28-29, IM Editorial Director Paul Moore had the chance to sit down with Neville Kelly – Business Development Manager and Elia Khoury – Engineering Manager at Western Australia-based Bunbury, RCR Mining Technologies, which has seen remarkable growth and success with its IPCC solutions at the Pilbara iron ore mining center in Western Australia in recent years – a journey reviewed in their conference presentation, titled “IPCC – a vision realized.” As of 2018 only, this includes large over-the-top conveyors, movable FEL-powered in-pit crushers, and semi-movable in-pit crushers powered by autonomous mining trucks.
Kelly and Khoury emphasized that the key to this success has been collaboration with the end user through all facets of the mining lifecycle. They also pointed out that using data analytics on installed equipment provides enhanced predictive maintenance tools and process improvement opportunities.
Q Can you give an idea of how technologies such as stacker conveyors, movable conveyors, belt feeders and heavy duty feeders have helped and are helping Western Australia’s iron ore industry achieve productivity goals? Why was RCR chosen?
OEM RCR equipment is essential to help meet our customers’ production goals. Our customers often talk about the reliability and performance of RCR equipment, and how important it is to their operation. RCR’s mobile overland conveyors and crushing plant solutions enabled a major iron ore miner to transform one of its worst performing sites into one of its best performing sites over a period of five years . RCR apron, belt and hybrid feeders are recognized in the market as high performing and reliable products. We take into account what our customers tell us. Some time ago an iron ore miner said that “the only thing wrong with RCR apron feeders are the return rollers”. After a collaborative design improvement exercise, RCR created a new and improved version of their return roller which has since been hugely successful, leading the same customer to say, “Now we don’t have any problems with RCR apron feeders”.
Q Would you describe RCR’s strengths as both its engineering capabilities combined with design innovation?
RCR’s design and delivery capability is a prerequisite to truly understanding our customers’ application needs and enabling us to provide them with an innovative, bespoke solution. Additionally, the ability to deliver the solution in a timely manner provides immense value and rapid return on investment for our customers.
Q What does being part of NRW bring to RCR and vice versa?
NRW Holdings (ASX: NWH) has brought strong leadership, a strong market reputation and a fully vertically integrated delivery model that enables the NRW Group to deliver comprehensive multidisciplinary projects under one roof. NRW’s Growth and Vision Through its acquisition of RCR Mining Technologies, Primero and Diab realize their vision, to provide quality products and comprehensive multidisciplinary services across the industry. RCR, in turn, has brought a unique dimension to the NRW Group through its OEM product range and unique engineering solutions.
Q Of the IPCC units you have built for the mineral sands industry, what lessons have been learned, what comparative advantages have been seen over ‘standard’ mineral sands mining and could similar designs be suitable for hard rock mining or coal overburden?
IPCC large-scale units delivered in mineral sands challenged the standards of traditional conventional mineral sands mining allowing large-scale processing on fully mobile in-pit rigs, with reduced interfaces and transfers , reduced downtime for relocation, reduced mobile mining fleet, and made high relocation frequencies viable. We definitely see the lessons learned on these applications are transferable to other commodities and have been key to our recent successes in iron ore.
Q How important is the provision of ongoing maintenance in your equipment solutions contracts?
Ongoing maintenance provisions are an essential part of RCR Mining Technologies’ business and a necessary requirement for our customers to ensure that they maintain reliable and durable assets. RCR service agreements are also a large part of our offerings. Service agreements provide our customers with trained CPR technicians who will audit and service CPR equipment on an application specific basis for OEM equipment. Additionally, service agreements provide a streamlined approach to identifying and purchasing spare parts for our customers. This service contract model eliminates unplanned downtime and maintenance that can have a significant impact on our customers’ production goals.