Torex chooses MacLean for Media Luna ancillary BEVs

MacLean Engineering has got the nod to supply ancillary underground battery electric vehicles to Torex Gold at its US$875 million Media Luna gold project in Mexico after Sandvik was recently confirmed as the primary fleet vendor with a $63 million order.

Canadian manufacturer MacLean said it would supply its EV Series explosives chargers, elevated work platforms, graders and material transporters to Media Luna.

Company president Kevin MacLean said when the Ontario company initiated its full fleet electrification program in 2015, “we knew that the industry as a whole was going to take some time make the transition away from diesel-powered rubber-tyred fleets, given air quality and ventilation cost concerns that only get more acute as mines go deeper around the globe”.

“What we didn’t realise was how quickly this shift would actually happen and with over 50 MacLean BEVs shipped around the world and over one quarter of a million operating hours logged, we’re now expecting that within the next few years, half our capital builds will be battery electric,” he said.

Torex Gold said this week Media Luna development was tracking “to overall schedule and budget” towards its planned late-2024 production start and 2025 commercial production target.

“Detailed engineering and procurement activities increased significantly during the quarter, with several key purchase orders awarded, the most significant being the order for the primary mine production fleet,” CEO Jody Kuzenko said.

“The fleet consists of 35 pieces of equipment including 15 battery electric and 20 diesel powered machines.

“First deliveries under the purchase order are expected later this year, in line with the project schedule.

“The schedule critical Guajes Tunnel has exceeded the 4km mark, with 18 active headings opened up within the deposit, and civil works for future infrastructure on both sides of the Balsas River in various stages of progress.”

Torex said it had incurred $191.1 million of project expenditures (22% of total) by the end of the March quarter this year, with $298.9m of capex committed and incurred (34%).

As at the end of April, the Guajes Tunnel had advanced 4080m, with daily advance rates averaging 7m in the past three months, “including a record average daily rate of 7.4m in February”, the company said.

“At South Portal Lower, development rates have increased throughout 2023 with a three-month average daily advance rate of 4.3m through April – including 5.1m per day in April – compared with an average rate of 3.8m over the last 12 months.

“The increased rates reflect improved ground conditions now that tunnelling has moved into the competent granodiorite lithology from the less competent shale and limestone lithologies encountered last year. With the lower access tunnel completed on the south side, development of the main lower spiral ramp is underway and is on track for completion by the end of June.”

Mobilisation of the successful underground construction contractor was anticipated during Q2 2023, the company said.


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