The BHP Copper Mine is the largest underground copper mine in the world. It produced 282 million pounds of copper in 1995. Due to economic conditions in the copper mining industry, BHP made a strategic decision to close down its San Manuel facility. The company wanted to protect the mine operation equipment from corrosion, in case the mine would need to be reopened or sold.
Equipment included: a block-caving underground copper mine, a 62,000 ton per day concentrator, a heap leach, and in-situ leach, an SX-EW plant, a 1,300,000 ton smelter, a 3,000 ton per day acid plant, a 345,000 ton per year electrolytic refinery and a 180,000 ton per year rod plant.
The customer needed help to shut down the mine and protect the equipment. BHP was especially worried about corrosion that would inevitably occur on idle equipment left unprotected. They needed a vendor that could provide a “One-Stop” solution for the protection of their various systems. Their requirements included the large mining equipment the plant used on a daily basis. The protection was also needed for the cooling tower and boiler systems, pumps and compressors, locomotive engines, electrical/electronic systems, gearboxes, manual transmissions, differentials & transfer cases, bearings and bushings.
The shutdown and layup program had to provide:
a. Protection for up to two years
b. Ability to restart with minimal effort
c. Environmentally sound products
d. Technical support and service during the life of the project
Cortec® Corporation and their Arizona distributor designed a Total Corrosion Control program for the BHP mine. Cortec’s solution addressed all of BHP’s needs. The system of products would protect for up to two years, require no removal before start-up and incorporate Cortec’s biodegradable, non-toxic and non-hazardous products.
The following is a description of each of the products in the system and how they were used.
Cortec® Total Corrosion Control solution will protect the mining equipment from corrosion for a minimum of two years. The projected Return on Investment is 122.5%. Using Cortec® Corporation’s layup expertise, BHP will gain approximately $25 million with a small investment.
San Manuel, Arizona
BHP Copper Mine