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Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

Already the holder of the monthly Australian production record set in November 2005, Xstrata’s Beltana Highwall Mine in Australia’s Hunter Valley has now gone on to smash the Australian annual production record by a 45,000 tonnes in 2007.
Beltana has consistently been the top-producing mine in Australia since it’s first full year of production in 2004.
The mine operates two Bucyrus EL3000 shearers each equipped with 2 x 850 kW cutter motors and 2 x 125 kW haulage motors, making them the most powerful shearers in the Australian marketplace.
Operating two shearers allows one to be overhauled at the Bucyrus Hunter Valley facility while the other is in constant operation on the 3-meter seam which has reserves of some 40 million tonnes.
At 7 pm on Thursday, December 20, 2007, the mine parked the machine for the rest of the year having produced 7,627,644 metric tonnes (8,408,038 US tons), a new Australian record.
The Bucyrus EL3000 is able to mine seams of up to 5.5 meters or 18 feet. Equipped with the EL43 ranging arm, it provides up to 850 kW (1140 hp) of cutting power combined with haulage motors of 2 x 125 kW and a 50 kW pump motor, this results in a total installed power of 2 MW.
At Beltana mine they employ a bi-di cutting method in the arduous conditions of the Lower Whybrow seam with a cutting height of 2.7 to 3.1 meters.
High availability of the shearer was a key factor in achieving the record: Over the previous 24 months the shearer achieved an average availability of 95.44%.
A high level of automation is a key feature at the Beltana operation and plays a significant role in the success of this mine. The Bucyrus EL3000 shearers are equipped with the COMPACT shearer control system which provides the control, monitoring and protection features,in addition to advanced automation & data transmission. The Beltana EL3000 shearers employ the Bucyrus “Navigator 2” automation package which includes state-based automation, which allows the operator to define a detailed cutting sequence for the shearer. This high level of automation has assisted the mine to achieve a high hourly production rate and consistency across shifts and crews which has ultimately resulted in this annual record production.
With a total workforce of 170 employees the mine sets the benchmark for productivity per employee.
Since the Beltana longwall commenced operation in June 2003 until December 2007 the two Bucyrus EL3000 shearers have produced over 28 million tonnes.
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