Newcrest Mining's Cadia Valley Operations (Cadia) has recently completed the replacement of its Semi Autogenous (SAG) Mill Motor - the first time a gearless mill motor and foundation of this size anywhere in the world has been completely removed, replaced and upgraded.
The SAG Mill Motor Replacement project, which was more than five years in the making, was developed and executed by Cadia's engineering and project teams, with the support of major contracting partners.
At its peak, more than 150 personnel were working on the project at any one time.
Cadia General Manager, Aaron Brannigan, said that now the project is complete, the additional power of the new motor, along with a secondary crusher currently under construction through the Cadia Expansion Project, will allow Concentrator 1 to increase its production by over 1Mtpa.
"This project was unique in that it's the first time that a gearless mill motor of this size anywhere in the world has been removed, replaced and upgraded to the extent that the concrete plinths it rests on had to be lifted away in 80-tonne blocks and re-cast in-situ," he said.
"The project posed numerous technical challenges, which the team successfully worked through, with teamwork, patience and tenacity.
"I am particularly proud of the commitment to Newcrest's values which were critical to the project's success. The values of 'working together' and 'caring about people' were the most important, especially with the diversity of contractors and pressures that border closures imposed on many individuals."
Originally commissioned in 1998, the original Cadia SAG Mill Motor was once the largest gearless motor drive in the world.
In 2015, the mill had to be taken down to repair age-related damage to the motor windings.
Over the next few years, more age-faults appeared, necessitating more frequent and longer downtime for maintenance and repairs.
"Newcrest purchased an upgraded spare motor in 2016 and held it in storage until last year when the project to replace the old motor was approved," Mr Brannigan said.
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