A manufacturing shop in Greater Sudbury has created the largest ore chute in the world, which will soon be shipped out and installed in one of the largest copper and gold mining operations in the world, the Rio Tinto Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia.
The massive steel chute, as big as a house and with built-in safety features, was manufactured at Variant Mining Technologies in Lively. It is the prototype for several other chutes that will be installed at the mine in the coming months and years.
An ore chute is a device that allows chunks of rock (muck) to be transported by force of gravity from one level of the mine to another level. The chute is used to control the flow of muck, or waste rock, so that haulage equipment such as scooptrams, ore trucks or even underground rail cars can be loaded quickly and safely.
Variant’s website describes the company as a global leader in loading chute systems, which can explain why company designers decided to go so big.
“The size of the chute was driven by the size of the material they are actually processing and the tonnage that will be processed,” said Variant general manager Paul Chamberland.
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