Three ABB gearless mill drives up and running at Mina Ministro Hales, Chile

Reliable and energy efficient ABB gearless mill drives enhance productivity by optimizing grinding operations for world’s largest copper producer Codelco

Baden, Switzerland, June 12, 2014 – ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, has successfully commissioned three gearless mill drive systems (GMDs) at Codelco’s Mina Ministro Hales (MMH) in Chile.

By eliminating all critical mechanical components inherent within a conventional mill drive system, ABB’s GMDs significantly increase reliability, availability and efficiency. The inherent variable-speed function allows for smooth mill starts, greater flexibility and adjustability of the process, thus reducing mechanical stress, enabling maximum control over the grinding process and increasing productivity.

First awarded in 2011, the scope of supply of the order included three GMDs, one 36-feet 12 megawatt (MW) system for the semi-autogenous (SAG) mill and two 22-feet 8.9 MW systems for both ball mills. In addition, the order comprised a 220 kilovolt (kV) gas insulated switchgear, harmonic filters and power factor correction and three containerized E-houses hosting cycloconverter equipment, motor control centers and control panels. Furthermore, ABB also provided project engineering, installation, training and startup assistance.

‘Codelco has made substantial investments for this new branch of the company which consequently will have a direct and positive impact on Chile’s socio-economic growth. With the expansion of the grinding capacities, MMH’s production is expected to reach 190’000 tons of fine copper this year’, said Sergio Fuentes, former MMH Project Vice President. ‘The excellent cooperation between Codelco’s teams and ABB, ensured successful completion of this unique turnkey project in spite of facing challenging times with an overloaded market where many mining projects were being executed in parallel.’

Located at an altitude of 3,000 meters, only five kilometers north of Calama in the Atacama desert, the deposit, originally known as Mansa Mina mine, has estimated total resources of 1.3 billion tons. Codelco’s major investment includes a new open-pit mine and concentrator that is expected to produce 190,000 metric tons of fine copper and 300 tons of silver per year after reaching commercial production in the first quarter of 2014.

ABB ( is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employees about 150,000 people.

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    Processing plant at Mina Ministro Hales with three GMDs for two 22-feet 8.9MW ball mills and one 36-feet, 12MW SAG mill

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