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A second Cat EL3000 in Narrabri North mine

Published by
World Coal,

After setting new production record, producing a total of 5.659 million t in the year, Whitehaven Coal’s Narrabri North mine ordered a second Cat® EL3000 longwall shearer and a second Cat BSLPF6 stage loader for delivery in August this year. Since full commercial production from the longwall started in 2012, production has continuously increased.

A Whitehaven production report summarised the longwall performance: “The longwall has been consistently producing coal at above the original design levels since production commenced in the second panel.”

The EL3000 Shearer features a one-piece mainframe that is engineered to optimise productivity, while ensuring reliability and durability. Ranging arms have cast hinge points designed to handle higher cutting and haulage forces, such as 860 kW (1380 hp) cutting forces with haulage capable of 32 m/min. (105 ft/min.) when cutting.

The new stage loader includes Cat PF6 line pans, 42 mm power chain and a tensionable drive frame. Cat Slacktronic, the electronic chain slack sensor and control system, helps ensure reliable operation and long chain life.

It is planned the new shearer and stage loader will go into operation in Narrabri’s longwall block number 5. This is approximately 300 m wide and has an extraction height of 4.2 m. and seam height is 8 to 10 m. Whitehaven intend to extend the longwall face to widths up to 400 m. The company believes this will be more cost effective compared to mining shorter face widths with longwall top coal caving techniques.

Both the first EL3000 Shearer and the new one are equipped with the Cat PMC Evo-S control system and advanced automation package. In 2014, Narrabri implemented full shearer automation, which increased longwall productivity and horizon control. Utilisation of full shearer automation, without input from operators, is now exceeding 94% on average and is 95 – 100% except near gate ends.

Cat Advanced Automation Control uses state-based automation, which enables the shearer to operate precisely to the mining company’s defined production process, including direction of travel, speeds, arm height and ranging arm control modes. The system is available as shearer automation only or as integrated longwall automation.

Adapted from press release by Joseph Green

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