Copper connects

Jana’s internet search, the video conference between Frankfurt and Madrid, and Amelie and Chris’s YouTube channel – they’re all connected by an element extracted from the earth using high-tech processes: copper. Thanks to mining technologies and processing equipment from thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions, mining for the red metal is sustainable and safe.

Almost every electrical device – from phones to laptops – contains copper. The red-colored semi-precious metal came to prominence as a material for making tools and vessels thousands of years ago. And it’s an essential part of our daily life to this day. That’s because of copper’s excellent electric conductivity – 58 · 106 Siemens per meter (S/m). For comparison: the conductivity of steel is just 8.6 · 106 S/m. Without copper our high-tech world would practically grind to a halt. The shiny red metal is extracted from copper ore, mined from deposits around the world.

Energy-saving mining equipment

The inventive genius of thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions ensures that the mining of ores and other metallic and mineral resources is as efficient and eco-friendly as possible. For example, the introduction of crusher/belt systems, designed for continuous or discontinuous operation, minimizes the use of trucks, and in some cases can remove the need for them altogether.

This technology began life in the 1950s, when thyssenkrupp built the first continuous crusher/belt system for a customer. At its heart was a 250 tons-per-hour mobile crusher which reduced the size of the rock blasted in the mine so that it could be transported on a belt conveyor.

In discontinuous crusher/belt systems, the rock is loaded from the excavator onto trucks for transportation to a semi-mobile crusher. To shorten the distance the trucks have to travel, the crusher is positioned as close as possible to the mine face and moves in sync with mining progress. Here too belt conveyors are used for the next stage of transportation.

Copper mines primarily use semi-mobile crushers with large gyratory crushers. However, over time the depth of an open-pit mine increases and work has to be carried out below ground. Due to their height, gyratory crushers cannot operate here. But thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions has developed a solution for this too with its eccentric roll crusher (ERC). With its flat and robust design, the ERC is ideal for use underground, where space is severely limited. An integrated screen upstream of the crusher separates the fines from the coarse material. The fine material is screened out to prevent it from clogging the crusher. This saves energy and increases the service life of the facility.

In surface mining, innovations from thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions set new standards. Coal, phosphate, potash salts … all these raw materials can be extracted from open-cast mines, for example with the help of the barracuda compact bucket-wheel excavator. Like a hot knife through butter, the wheel of the barracuda cuts through the layers of earth at speeds of up to 7,500 lm3/h. In continuous operation, up to 3,000 tons of material per hour can be cut into pieces less than 20 centimeters in size. Sensors ensure that everything runs smoothly and throughput is monitored. There’s no need for cost-intensive drilling and blasting or for surface miners. That’s good for the budget and good for the environment.

The bottom line: Jana’s internet search, Marco and Saskia’s video conference, and Amelie and Chris’s next hip-hop video… all require valuable raw materials such as copper. Technical innovations from thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions ensure these raw materials can be produced in a safe and sustainable way.