Why do we use conveyor belts in mining industry? What is their function?

Mining industry is a kind of natural habitat for SIG and its items, as a matter of fact, it has been supplying rubber conveyor belts all over the world since its day one.

This is mainly due to its wide products range in terms of different carcass construction possibilities and rubber compounds such as abrasion, heat, and fire resistant as well.

The use of rubber conveyor belts in mining industry commonly accomplished two functions:

  • From one side, they must carry and handle just extracted material outside mining site.
  • From the other, they could be used to convey bulk material from mining site to a loading area (normally a port) or to a refinery plant where it could be later refined.
rubber mining conveyor belt

To summarize, rubber conveyor belts for mining industry must handle material to improve and to optimize extracting process, meanwhile they enable end users to cover long distances without using trucks. Two main advantages emerge: 

  • Avoiding hiring a trucks fleet maintenance cost
  • Reducing environmental impact since there will be no Co2 emission. 

What is the most common issue in mining industry? 

Conveyor belts for mining industry are products requiring an extremely detailed design as many aspects must be analysed and considered to provide customers with the most suitable product matching with their requirements.  

The first issue to be tackled is the one about above ground or underground application: as a matter of fact, it is crucial to clarify this aspect to understand if strict safety laws in terms of specific rubber quality must be followed or not.

In case it dealt with an underground installation, it would be compulsory to guarantee that in case of fire explosion the belt would not be an active fire source propagation. 

Afterwards, the second aspect to be analysed is the one concerning belt type construction: based on the overall length of the conveyor system, to reduce problems connected to elongation, technical department will have a key role in suggesting whether the belt must be textile or steel cord.

Normally, if you must handle materials for more than 500 meters, it is recommended to rely on a steel cord belt that guarantees low elongation combined with an excellent longitudinal flexibility

As claimed at the beginning of this paragraph, it is fundamental to determine if the concerned application will be an above-ground or underground one: if the second case was confirmed, to match with strict safety requirements, no other rubber quality than flame resistant ones would be accepted (for more detailed explanation, please read below). 

bauxite rubber conveyor pipe SIG
On the contrary, talking about an above-ground application, it will be possible to choose the best rubber quality according to the conveyed material characteristics: standard or superior abrasion resistance as it happens with iron ore or bauxite (see picture on the left), but also self-extinguish when handling pet coke, sulphur, or coal for instance. 

Are there any differences between above ground and underground mining? Are there strict regulations to be followed connected to safety problems? 

In 2014, the European Union adopted specific laws concerning industrial materials and spare parts installed inside areas where there is a close connection between surrounding atmosphere and explosives. These laws named ATEX must be respected in industrial plants where the above-mentioned connection could cause a potential fire explosion that would be seriously harmful/dangerous for all workers, threatening their lives.

For this reason, on underground site, it is compulsory to rely on one only possible rubber compound to manufacture a conveyor belt.

This specific compound must be a fireproof product (matching with V degree of DIN 22102 laws) because it avoids the belt from burning and from triggering centres of fire.  

SIG study cases 

During the years, SIG has managed to establish its brand as a benchmark in mining industry since it has supplied an incredible number of mines all over the world, handling different many different products, but always satisfying customers’ expectations.

Here below, you could appreciate a summary of SIG most iconic supplies:

  • For two important gold mining sites in East and South Africa, SIG has supplied almost 15km of EP belt, W degree of DIN 22102, in various widths;
  • For one of the most important bauxites mine in West Africa, SIG manufactured more than 15km of steel cord belt, 20-30mm thick, in super abrasion resistant quality;
  • For a new Middle East gold mining and refinery plant, many times SIG has delivered 2km, steel cord belt with special open cord construction to absorb better any impact of the conveyed material;
  • For a West African uranium mine, SIG has been able to produce up to 6km of steel cord belt with double weft to reduce cut and tearing problem;
  • For a big copper mine located in South America, SIG accomplished a crucial supply of almost 2km of extra-abrasion resistant EP and steel cord belts  in two different widths.
SIG rubber conveyor belt for mining industry

If you are willing to discover more about SIG products for mining industry and its references, get in touch at: sig@sig.it


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