The new crushing and screening plant at the Olenegorskiy GOK

Metso's in-pit crushing solution reduces emissions and improves safety at major Russian iron ore mine.

A state-of-the-art, in-pit crushing and conveying system for the Olkon (Olenegorskiy GOK) iron ore mine in Russia has been successfully put into trial operation at the end of September 2015. After a two-year construction period, the system is now operating at full speed and yielding significant benefits.

Olkon previously relied on a traditional crushing process with no in-pit facilities. Having an in-pit crushing and conveying process provides savings in the operating costs of truck fleets, prevents potential accidents and reduces CO2 emissions. Instead of hauling the blasted ore from the pit to the plant with trucks, the ore is crushed directly in the pit and conveyed onwards.
"The successful start-up of the crushing and screening equipment and the belt conveyor in our mine gives many other mining companies reason to have confidence in the solution. In fact, we were the first company to implement such a system in Russia," says Alexander Popov, General Director of Olkon.

"This system is unique for Severstal, as well as for the entire mining industry in Russia and Europe. We have been working with Metso for many years and completed several successful projects. In-pit crushing and conveying has now been added to this list," he continues.

To achieve a world-class, in-pit system, Olkon was looking for a single supplier with enough knowledge to provide a complete in-the-pit solution. Metso's expertise at Olkon covers both primary and secondary crushing as well as conveying, with a capacity of 1,200 tons per hour.

The Metso system consists of an AF10-84 apron feeder, a Nordberg® C200(TM) jaw crusher, an RF2448 mining screen, a Nordberg® HP800(TM) cone crusher, conveyors as well as custom-made electrics and automation systems, all feed and support structures, and maintenance equipment. Metso also provided installation supervision, startup support and commissioning.

Moreover, clever engineering and attention to detail bring additional benefits. The conveyors, part of Metso's new Nordberg® NCHD mining range, are maintenance friendly and provide superb protection against the freezing temperatures. The hopper design features a notable buffer that reduces wear lining consumption. In addition, all components are controlled by a highly sophisticated control system which keeps the flow rate constant and optimizes the load on the crusher. This enables improved energy consumption per ton compared with uncontrolled crushing stations of the former generation.

To maximize safety, the system includes a comprehensive set of access and maintenance platforms for all machinery. There were also designed and installed guards and covers, mostly on the conveyors and crushing stations, which comply with the latest standards. Electrical features include a very safe maintenance mode with local control boxes, as well as lockable motor isolation switches that are appreciated in all industrial plants, providing increased safety for maintenance personnel.

Located 200 km north of the Arctic Circle in Olenegorsk, Murmansk region, Olkon is the northernmost and one of the major Russian producers of iron ore concentrate. The mine employs 1,900 people, and its production capacity is around 4.4 million tons of product per year. Its owner, Severstal, is one of the world's largest vertically integrated steel and mining companies.

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