New Sandvik MC430 continuous miner goes to work in Mpumalanga

sta.jpgSouth Africa’s first MC430 continuous miner was purchased from Sandvik Mining by STA Coal Mining at the Electra Mining Africa 2012 show and is already in operation underground in the Wonderfontein area of Mpumalanga. Ermelo-based STA Coal Mining, an underground contract coal mining company employing more than 600 people, was established in 2006 and currently mines an average of 300,000 t of coal per month.

“When we saw the Sandvik MC430 continuous miner on the Sandvik Mining stand, it was clear that this machine would be ideally suited to the tough, hard coal typical of the Mpumalanga coalfields,” Schalk van Wyk, Director at STA Coal Mining, says. “The MC430 has excellent power to weight distribution.” Bob Nkosi, Director Partner at STA Coal Mining, adds: “We have seen that the MC430 cuts at a faster rate than other machines in this category and has several features that will help us maintain our excellent safety statistics. I believe the purchase of this machine from Sandvik Mining heralds the beginning of a solid relationship between our two companies.”

Sandvik Mining’s Senior Account Manager, John Pinheiro comments that because it is heavier and more robust than other continuous miners in this category, the MC430 is a more stable machine and as with its 3.3 kV MC470 sister unit (the heaviest machine of its kind on the South African market) with which it shares 70% of its major components, its total cost of ownership is very low. “We’ve established an excellent relationship with STA Coal Mining and as part of the full service contract supplied with the MC430, we have included a product line manager, commissioning team, contract manager and shift technicians on site,” Pinheiro comments. “The new machine was exposed to some very tough conditions when it was requested to cut the floor outside the high wall for a sump and is now cutting underground. The extremely tough conditions experienced with the stone bands and floating stone in the face are really putting the machine through its paces and demonstrating that its design and capabilities are more than equal to the task. The MC430 is attracting a lot of attention from other mining companies and we’re currently fielding a large number of enquiries.”

The new Sandvik MC430 is a heavyweight, low to mid-seam continuous miner with extra-high cutting forces for productive cutting. The machine features proportionally controlled sump and shear speeds for optimum cutting performance under varying conditions. It delivers the highest productivity in its class, with the capability to cut during shear up and shear down. It is a silent machine with low noise generation as a result of its extra low cutting speed and hydraulic rear driven twin sprocket conveyor chain, whichalso minimises dust generation during cutting and makes for safer working conditions and longer chain life.

For the first time, it is possible for the operators of both the MC470 and MC430 to see the cutter head during the cutting operation. Designed for rapid entry roadway development and coal production, this continuous miner weighs in at 103 t and has a conveying capacity of 40 t per minute. With a ground pressure of 19 N per squared cubic metre, it is ideally suited to operate in underground heights from 4 m down to as low as 1.6 m. The machine is easy to maintain and has 400 kW of installed power on the cutter head. Other features include hydraulically driven tracks with high torque and fail-safe emergency brakes. This makes tramming long distances underground easyby means of a hydraulic power pack which eliminates tramming cables and flirting panels along the way. In addition, realtime visualisation on board the continuous miner includes parts manuals and operator training manuals as well as an optimal cutting sequence video.

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