The Oyu Tolgoi mine is a combined open pit and underground mining project in Mongolia’s South Gobi Desert approximately 550km south of the capital, Ulaanbaatar and 80km north of the Mongolia-China border. It primarily produces copper but also small amounts of gold, silver and other metals.
Oyu Tolgoi mine is jointly owned by the Government of Mongolia (34%) and Turquoise Hill Resources (66%). Rio Tinto own 51% of Turquoise Hill Resources and have been managing the mine since 2010.
Oyu Tolgoi mine has been producing concentrate using ore mined from the surface through open pit mining. However, due to 80% of the copper being found deep under the surface during exploration drilling, the mine has now expanded to include underground mining.
Jacobs Engineering is responsible for providing engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) services to implement the material handling systems for the new underground mine and associated infrastructure, delivered over a five to seven-year period. Jacobs Engineering approached ABB regarding the supply of PLC panels, local control stations and custom power distribution boards, each of which needed to be suitable for use outside, in the underground mine and in buildings located on the mine site. Based on recommendations by Rio Tinto and a previous working relationship with ABB, B&R Enclosures was approached by ABB to manufacture and wire these products.
PLC Panels & Local Control Stations
All wiring and electrical integration for the PLC panels and local control stations is carried out at the B&R facility located in Suzhou, China. The Suzhou facility utilises methods, knowledge and experience from the Australian founding company to provide full-service solutions including standard off-the-shelf products, customised and assembled-to-order solutions, fully engineered enclosures, project management, electrical wiring and supply chain management.
The design for the PLC panels and local control stations to be used outside and underground were a combination between B&R’s Bowen Series and Monarch IP enclosures. The 30 degree sloping roof is designed to prevent water and sediment build-up. The sloping roof was then combined with the Monarch IP enclosure. Manufactured from 316 stainless steel with an IP66 protection.
The PLC panels which are being used inside buildings on the mine site, is a modified iLINQ bayable cabinet. Manufactured from 1.5mm galvanised steel (frame), 1.6mm zinc coated steel (cladding) and an IP54 protection rating make it suitable for an environment where there is a low level threat of water or dust ingress. Top entry was a specified requirement and a custom gland plate was fitted to the roof.
The local control stations to be used inside buildings located on the mine site have been manufactured using a combination of B&R’s standard Monarch IP and Universal NI range. Manufactured from 316 stainless steel with IP66 protection rating.
Power Distribution Boards
Jacobs Engineering supplied initial drawings of the power distribution boards to ABB as they had specific requirements of what the power distribution boards and their enclosures should be, how they should function and where they would be used. As with the PLC panels and local control stations, the power distribution boards were also to be used outside, underground within the mine and inside buildings located on the mine site.
B&R Enclosures worked with ABB to assist them with the final design based on the drawings by Jacobs Engineering. Specifications for the two types of custom power distribution boards included strict size dimensions on the overall product and an IP56 protection rating. A dedicated terminal for field connections was also required while still having the testing facilities at the board along with the ability to withstand the harsh mining environment.
The two types of custom power distribution boards are manufactured and completely wired with electrical equipment supplied by ABB at B&R’s facility in
A modified design of B&R’s Bowen enclosure was used for the outside and underground applications as it is manufactured from 316 stainless steel, has an IP66 protection and comes with a 30 degree sloping roof designed to prevent water or sediment build-up.
The power distribution boards used within buildings on the mine site are based on Monarch IP which is manufactured from 316 stainless steel and also has an IP66 protection.
B&R’s design and engineering team were successful in manufacturing and testing a power distribution board that allowed internal connections for testing facilities as well as a dedicated terminal for field connections all within the compact size dimensions Jacobs Engineering specified.
The project is on-going and is expected to be completed by 2020. During this time B&R will continue to strengthen their working relationship with ABB, Jacobs Engineering and Rio Tinto and look forward to providing future projects with 100% fit-for-purpose complete enclosure solutions.