Renowned Bisie Tin project opts for Osborn apron feeder

Renowned Bisie Tin project opts for Osborn apron feeder

One of the world’s most significant tin mines will employ a heavy duty, high quality apron feeder manufactured in South Africa by leading mining equipment specialist Osborn.

The company’s export order to the new Bisie Tin Mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) reflects the growing global demand for Osborn’s tough, reliable apron feeders, asserts area manager Joe Sequeira. It is Osborn’s first order to new client Alphamin Resources, supplied to the Bisie tin project through the venture’s EPCM (engineering, procurement and construction management) contractor DRA, he adds.

Sequeira reports that a 1.2m x 6.5m Osborn D4 heavy duty apron feeder has been supplied to the mine. It follows several apron feeder orders from around Africa and as far afield as Spain, where a Spanish copper mine recently opted for an Osborn machine. “Customers are increasingly choosing Osborn’s apron feeders, which combine competitive pricing with exceptional quality,” he states.

Situated approximately 180km west of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s North Kivu Province, Bisie is considered to be one of the largest tin deposits in the world and among the most advanced tin projects being developed. “The tin ore body outcrops on the western slopes of the Bisie ridge, called the Mpama North resource. A box cut excavation is required to allow mining access via a portal decline to the tin ore body. A 30 000 tpm concentrator plant, mine and associated infrastructure is being constructed to produce tin concentrate,” Sequeira expands.

The Osborn machine is the project’s main tip apron feeder. Sequeira outlines its features: “The Osborn D4 heavy duty apron feeder features a fabricated heavy duty main frame with rolled steel joists as main members cross-braced with heavy rolled steel sections. These in turn support heavy longitudinal channel sections. Its leakproof design employs overlapping cast steel flights that bolt directly on to the chain. There are impact rails underneath the deck. The unit is equipped with D4 support and return rollers. It features head and tail shafts supported by spherical roller bearings housed in heavy-duty plumber blocks. Segmented sprockets mounted on a hub provides for ease of replacement. The unit is equipped with a torque arm and bikon coupling, including a guard over the bikon coupling. A manual hydraulic chain tensioning device is included.”

With its heavy duty construction, the Osborn apron feeder is ideally suited to the harsh operating conditions at Bisie, which is located in a remote area of the DRC’s Walikale Territory. The robust machine is designed for a 20-year mine life, Sequeira states.

The Osborn apron feeder was shipped to the Bisie project via sea freight to Mombasa, then via road to site. The machine had to be stripped to under 11 tons due to the bad road conditions and weight restrictions.

“This is a significant order for Osborn and we are proud to be able to add the notable Bisie tin project to the sites around the world where Osborn apron feeders are operating successfully,” Sequeira concludes.

Osborn offers a complete range of standard and extra heavy-duty apron feeders suited for the most testing conditions encountered in the mining and quarrying industries. Ranging in size from 900mm wide to 3 500mm wide, Osborn apron feeders can be supplied in lengths to suit customers' requirements. They are offered with either electro-mechanical or hydraulic drives. The cast steel or manganese flights are designed to overlap, to reduce spillage. The machines are constructed using traditional D4, D6, D7, D8 and D9 track components.

Osborn has, over many decades in business, developed a formula to determine the ideal size apron feeder for a customer’s requirements. Factors like flights and chain type; start-up and running torque; chain factor of safety; start-up conditions; and running conditions are all considered in the calculation. For drive sizing, breakaway torque; running torque; absorbed power; installed power; head shaft speed; and chain pull are calculated. Osborn’s vast experience and expertise ensures that end-users get the best machine and optimal performance.