Surrounded by a picturesque backdrop of mountain ranges and eucalyptus forests, the fertile soil of Australia’s Hunter Valley region produces some of the world’s best wines. It’s also an abundant source of coal, a vital part of the region’s economy for nearly two centuries. While tourists enjoy the nearby wineries and golf courses, miners and machines at Mount Thorley Warkworth (MTW) are hard at work, producing 12 million metric tons of coal annually.
Going to great lengths
Compared to other mine sites with rich, deep coal seams, the ore at MTW takes more time to mine. Large volumes of waste rock must be blasted and removed in order to reach and extract the coal. “There’s a lot of hard work to get to the coal,” says Shane Saunders, Senior Engineer, Yancoal Australia. “For every eight tons of dirt, there’s one ton of coal. In addition, the site’s steep 10% grades put a heavy toll on the engines. The trucks run at full rpm about a third of the time they are in the field.”
It’s critically important that MTW’s fleet of haul trucks are fully equipped to handle the worksite’s challenges. The mine produces one million metric tonnes of coal every month. With any amount of downtime, the operation slows down and revenue is lost. To get the job done, MTW has a fleet of Komatsu 830E mine haul trucks at their command, each capable of hauling 220 metric tons per load.
«Engine service life is over 10,000 hours longer than we were expecting.»