A New 1.4 km long ropeway with buckets for carrying materials has gone into operation at the Buriticá gold mine.
Zijin-Continental Gold Sucursal Colombia is developing the Buriticá gold mine in the northwest of the country, approximately 72 km from the city of Medellin.
The area where the mine is located is mountainous and therefore logistically challenging. The reusable residues of the gold extraction process are used in an underground backfill, which is why they must be taken from the bottom of the valley to the mouth of the mine at 1,700m above sea level, thereby covering a difference in altitude of approximately 646m.
The use of a materials ropeway makes what would be an arduous and long journey for trucks with an abundance of exhaust emissions into a swift and efficient job.
In October 2017, Austria’s Doppelmayr was awarded the contract to build the 1.4 km long ropeway with a transport capacity of 175 tph. The system was conceived as a continuous bi-cable ropeway. It has a fixed tensioned track rope for the materials buckets with their carriage to travel on. The buckets are driven by the continuously moving haul rope loop to which they are attached via detachable grips.
To allow for the haul rope to be run at a constant speed, the buckets are detached from the loop in the stations and braked before they are loaded via a chute. Once a bucket has been filled, it is accelerated to running speed again and re-attached to the haul rope before leaving the station.
In the unloading station, the bucket is once again taken off the haul rope. At the designated unloading point a special mechanism unlocks the latch on the bucket, the bucket is tipped, and the material is safely transferred onto another chute. The bucket then returns to its original position. It is locked again and re-attached to the haul rope before travelling back into the valley empty.