Brett Murray, engineering manager for Ulan West, Glencore

Ulan West Underground (ULW) was a new underground longwall operation expanding the Ulan Complex’s underground operations to a second active longwall. ULW commenced development in 2012 with first LW coal in 2014. Key to the success of the new underground operation at the Ulan Complex was the extended gate roads, up to 9 kilometers (km), and subsequent longwall blocks in excess of 14 metric tons (mt) to provide continuous coal production removing the “off coal” windows associated with longwall relocations. The method for development of the gate roads traditionally includes a continuous miner (CM) and shuttle car (SC) haulage. Due to the longer gate road drivage and to ensure the economic viability of a longwall operation at ULW, a key consideration for ULW’s planning was to minimize haulage constraints associated with using SC haulage by purchasing the 4FCT (flexible conveyor train). Ulan identified this as a key risk early on in the project and in consultation with Komatsu procured a whole integrated development system. This system included 1 x 4FCT; 2 x DMU (Dynamic Move Up) configured to include the panel ventilation system components, DCB, etc., including integration into the panel conveyor; 1 x ventilation and services monorail; and longwall conveyor belt. This paper discusses the challenges faced with the implementation and of the 4FCT currently operating at Ulan West over the previous MG03, MG04 and M05 gate roads where the FCT has been used. Details will be provided of the installation, startup and operating performance of the 4FCT since delivery to ULW.

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