PRESS RELEASE – Mammoet has transported the heaviest piece of mining equipment to be moved in Africa to date, a 7,100-tonne Wet Concentrator Plant. The weight of the machine equals that of 550 double-decker buses.
The enormous machine had to be moved from its previous mining area at Namalope to Pilivili, a new high-grade ore zone at the Moma Mine in Mozambique, for mining company Kenmare Resources.
290 axles of SPMT were required to lift and transport the plant in one piece. Mammoet chose to move the asset intact and by road, as this was the lowest-risk option and limited the time out of production. ‘Disassembling and reassembling the plant would have taken significantly longer and transporting the plant by sea barge may well have resulted in substantial delays – as a significant period of forecasted calm seas would be needed for this option’, the company states.
Mammoet engineers developed an effective solution to load, move and unload the plant in one piece. First, the plant was floated into an excavated starter pond and placed on constructed concrete plinths. The pond was then drained, allowing 290 axle lines of SPMTs (in 5 x 58 configuration) to be positioned underneath the plant, before it was moved along a 23km long, purpose-built road with a weight-bearing capacity of 8.4 t/m2, to its new location.
In Pilivili, the operation was completed in reverse: the plant was positioned on top of concrete plinths and then pond around it was flooded, which allowed the plant and the dredge to float to their new mining position.
According to Mammoet, the move was particularly unusual due to the combination of the weight of the load and the length of the distance travelled. The plant is also large in sices, measuring 80 metres long, 60 metres wide and 24 metres high.
“Moving the plant in one piece, an object weighing the equivalent of 550 double-decker buses, taller than a seven-story building and wider than a football pitch, is a huge achievement for our company”, says managing director Michael Carvill of Kenmare Resources. “This type of relocation is rare in the mining industry, but it was the clear choice for Kenmare given the economic benefits and lower risk profile it provided, compared to the alternatives we considered.”
Heavy mineral concentrate production from the at Pilivili is expected to begin in mid-Q4 2020. The relocation of this WCP and its dredge form the third and final project of Kenmare’s development program to increase Moma’s ilmenite production to 1.2 million tonnes (plus co-products) from 2021.