Caterpillar has developed a new automated system for removing broken ore from block caving operations.
Called Rock Flow, Cat states that it improves the way in which ore is moved from the draw point to the crusher in underground mines, and aids continuous caving.
It is comprised of several components, which are all controlled from a remote central location.
It uses the Rock Feeder RF300 to remove ore from the drawpoint, the Rock Mover RM900 (which is a newly developed chain conveyor) to feed the ore into the crusher, and an automated unit to control and streamline the production process.
In a statement, Caterpillar said that it improves traditional hard rock block caving operations, using the "highly automated system with real time draw control [which provides] remote controlled extraction and haulage of ore without vehicles or underground personnel".
It went on to state that it provides "system flexibility [due to the] easy removal of Rock Feeder for maintenance and clearance work as well as panel moves," and also creates "a high level of health, safety, and sustainability [ as it uses] only electric drives, increasing safety, reducing cost and improving underground climate and carbon footprint".