CSA Mine achieves major milestone in mill project

Main photo: The first of the CSA Mine’s two new grinding mills was lowered into place on site over the weekend. Insert photo: A 500t crane was used to lower the machinery into place. ▪ Photos contributed

CSA Mine’s mill replacement, a huge logistical project which involved the coor-dination of various parts sourced from around the world, recently reached a ma-jor milestone.
A 500t crane lowered the first of the mine’s new grinding mills into place on site over the weekend.
The new mills have been designed and sup-plied by Finnish industrial machinery compa-ny, Metso Outotec.
CSA Mine’s projects manager Tom Mackay said the project also included new drives and an upgrade to the electrical supply.
“The project design work formally com-menced in 2020 with off site fabrication of gears in France, shells and castings in China, bronze bearings in Brazil, motors in Japan and gearboxes in Germany.
“Orchestrating fabrication and freight liter-ally across the globe during the Covid-19 pandemic has been somewhat challenging for the team and having the equipment finally all come together is rewarding,” Mr Mackay said.
The original SAG grinding mills at CSA were installed in 1965/1966 and have operat-ed reliably for over 55 years clocking up an estimated 270 million revolutions.
The replacement of the mills had become necessary due to cracking in the shell which could not be repaired economically.
“Deconstruction and removal of the old mill in July was with mixed feelings.
“Many of CSA’s team have grown up with these mills having learnt their trades or devel-oped skills and knowledge of grinding circuits typical to the mining industry,” he said.
Executing the work required an army of contractors who worked around the clock.
“This has presented logistical challenges for the CSA operation and stretched accommoda-tion availability in Cobar for the past couple of weeks,” Mr Mackay said.
“The new design takes advantage of modern technology introducing variable speed drives as well as safety and maintenance improve-ments.
“CSA’s design team nominated a design life for the new equipment of 25 years with high hopes that a +50 year life can be achieved.
“With the new mill now into position, the size of the workforce will now reduce as the replacement of the first mill nears the com-missioning phase.”
The planned startup of the first mill is ex-pected to take place next week with the sec-ond mill replacement to be carried out next April.