The MT65, Atlas Copco’s new 65 tonne underground haul truck has been on a four-month trial with Australian mining contractor Byrnecut at St Barbara’s Gwalia Mine in the WA goldfields. For over 2,000 hours, the truck carried an average 65.7 tonne payload at speeds comparable to the existing Minetruck MT6020s.
Gwalia Mine at 1,620m deep is one of the deepest mines in the Goldfields and with a haul distance of 10 km there are substantial gains to be had by bringing up more dirt. Byrnecut had been closely watching the truck’s development from day one.
“We have a large underground trucking fleet including 20 Atlas Copco trucks and have a good working relationship with Atlas Copco, so when the first prototype was built we sent people over to Atlas Copco’s factory in Sweden to have a look,” says Max Woods, Group Plant Asset Manager for Byrnecut.
“Our primary input was around maintenance. Atlas Copco have been the leaders in ground level serviceability and we wanted to see that continue with this truck,” says Woods.
Byrnecut’s feedback was incorporated into the new truck's design and maintenance was given a high priority.
“Ease of maintenance should lower costs, the filters are grouped together for easy access and ground level servicing is safer and more efficient. And, the MT65 has the same major components as the MT6020 so the maintenance people are familiar with them,” says Woods.
Wayne Symes, Business Line Manager with Atlas Copco says, “The MT65 was built on the large knowledge bank from the worldwide MT6020 fleet. To increase the payload it was important to maintain the speed on grade of the MT6020 and as much of the MT6020 componentry as possible.”
The Minetruck MT65 is fitted with Atlas Copco’s RCS control system, so the regulation of transmission, engine, and hydraulics and so on should be smarter, which also improves the energy efficiency in the MT65. RCS also means the truck is automation ready. “The operators have been very positive about the truck and it has been performing well and now is over 2,000 hours.”
Although early days, Woods is confident in the trucks long term performance. “Our existing Atlas Copco MT6020 trucking fleet ranges between 4,000 and 24,000 hours and we’ve had various issues with them, but over time, working with Atlas Copco we’ve addressed them and have lowered operating costs,“ says Woods.
The Minetruck MT65 had its worldwide debut at MINExpo 2016 in Las Vegas.