The purpose of mining operations in Paragominas, Pará, is to extract bauxite, an element used to make aluminum. Operations started in March 2011 and are still ongoing. Since the beginning, the SM 2500 model Wirtgen Surface Miner capable of moving 800 t/h and work up to 650 mm deep, has been used at the site.
One of the mine’s features is its annual stated capability to yield 9.9 million tons. The rainy season in the Amazon area, a natural local characteristic, demands a faster extraction rate in the dry season. That is why Mineração Paragominas S.A., in charge of the work, has chosen to use the Wirtgen Group’s equipment which optimizes processes and increases the mine’s production capabilities.
The SM 2500 does not require the use of excavators or front-end loaders, which reduces the total amount of equipment. Additionally, it is able to take the crushed material directly to the transportation vehicle, decreasing the consumption of tires and fuel by the equipment that would be used in other methods and eliminates the use of explosives, which consequently lowers noise levels.
The equipment also brings green advantages as it, for instance, keeps surfaces clean and benches stable without water pools, conserves natural resources, and respects the community’s quality of life.
Agnus Delagado, Mineração Paragominas general manager, talked about the surface mining’s importance for carrying the process in Paragominas: “It brings together economic dynamism and environmentally correct practices. That is one of the main challenges faced by the company and a landmark of our management”.
To provide support to the equipment during the excavation work, Deltamaq, Ciber and Wirtgen Group’s local dealer, has an on-site unit that supplies technical assistance and maintenance and operation services. Today, the team is staffed by engineers and mechanics. Additionally, the company has invested in job training for the team working at the site. The workers were taken to Wirtgen’s factory in Germany to learn about the mining machine. Ciber technicians have also been deployed to the site to provide support, along with a Wirtgen Group expert aiding in the process.
Equipment operating data are gauged and reviewed by the engineering team of Norsk Hydro ASA – the Norwegian company controlling Mineração Paragominas S.A. – and some operating data are collected concurrently and sent to Wirtgen.