With dozens of mines throughout the state, Nevada produces 79% of all gold in the US, and would be the sixth largest sovereign producer of gold in the world. ATC offers solutions for general process control, including mining processes, such as at the Rawhide mine. This gold mine wanted to upgrade its capacity so as to increase the amount of ore crushed per day. To do this required a reliable programmable control system to ensure facility productivity and safety.
As is true at any production plant/facility, mining equipment must stay online because equipment downtime directly translates to lost revenue. The Rawhide mine is located 55 miles from the nearest city, and 118 miles from our office, and so must run reliably because access is limited. Safety is also of the utmost concern, while individual pieces of equipment work in concert, using knowledge of the operation of equipment both up- and down-stream.
The programmable control system at Rawhide Mine enables and monitors variable-speed rock crushers, hundreds of feet of conveyor belts, screens, feeders, and a variety of other specialized mining equipment. ATC worked closely with mine managers and operators to build a custom operating sequence that increases ease-of-use and minimizes downtime. We installed touch-screen displays that host custom graphics where we provide real-time information to operators in a single easy-to-interpret location. To ensure reliable operation and minimize downtime in such a remote location, we designed the system with an ability to be monitored remotely, allowing us to make critical changes to operations immediately.
Operators at the Rawhide mine are now producing record tons of ore. Our system has made the work of 3 men manageable by a single person. This has reduced cost in both manpower and energy, increased facility safety by decreasing reliance on communication between men during critical times. The mine received reimbursement for some of the cost of upgrading to energy-efficient control from the local energy supplier, NV Energy, through their SureBet program. ATC continues to maintain a relationship with mine managers and operators and will continue to automate other equipment while minimizing production downtime.