IPCC – just another acronym?

The main considerations are that open pit is the dominant mining method for 80 percent of all minerals.

The main considerations are that open pit is the dominant mining method for 80 percent of all minerals.

Our industry loves acronyms. Enter yet another: I-P-C-C. IPCC stands for In-Pit Crushing and Conveying but what this really means for FLSmidth and our customers is innovation and customised solutions in this sector of the material handling industry.

IPCC is the crushing of ROM (Run of Mine) ore or alternatively overburden in order for it to be conveyed out of the pit in open pit mines to a waste stacking system, in the case of overburden, or over a distance via overland conveyors, which are usually several or tens of kilometres in length, to the processing plant. This is of great interest to mining companies as an alternative to the traditional method of trucking the material out of the pit or from the pit rim due to the increasing costs of operating and maintaining truck fleets and associated equipment.

What is driving the need for the IPCC market? 
There are a number of factors driving the IPCC market. The main considerations are that open pit is the dominant mining method for 80 percent of all minerals. And with the future higher consumption and price of metals and coal we will see much higher mining rates and lower ore grades. This will result in larger excavation volumes and increased waste and overburden removal creating larger, deeper pits and effectively increased haulage, utilising larger trucks and shovels.

Another important factor that is driving an increased interest in IPCC is the volatility of fuel cost. IPCC methods are less dependent on oil and fuel prices, tire availability for trucks (there have been two year backlogs in the past), the availability and cost of trained operators (averaging 6.5 people required per truck) and the increasing environmental and safety requirements such as emissions taxes.

IPCC wins over trucking
Why is IPCC versus trucking becoming so attractive? Trucks are 40-50 percent of Mine Capital Expenditure (CAPEX). If the typical CAPEX of IPCC is similar to trucking CAPEX, the real motivator is not in the upfront costs, but rather in the Operating Expenditure (OPEX). Approximately 45 percent of mine OPEX for the life of the mine is for haulage. Considering that conveying over a distance and lift of more than around 2,000 m and two 15 m mine benches, respectively is less than half the cost per ton/kilometre when compared to trucking the same material, it starts to become fairly obvious why mining companies are looking toward innovative IPCC systems.

FLSmidth’s newly formed IPCC Technical department has developed some economic models and in some preliminary study examples looked at the effect of both conveying versus trucks, as well as the effect of fully mobile crushing stations versus semi mobile stations. The numbers can be staggering. Numbers will vary depending on the client’s mine plan, location, costs, etc., but in some conservative, real life examples, OPEX savings could be in the order of as much as USD 1bn or more over a 20 plus year mine life. Now you can see why this is going to be a hot topic in the near future.

Add to that environmental considerations. A typical crush/conveying system will use one fourth of the total overall power of the truck system and emit one fifth the amount of CO2. An IPCC system willtypically use 35-50 percent less water, as well as emit 30 percent less dust and noise than trucks. We can see why FLSmidth’s Materials Handling Group considers thisa major growth area.

Innovative technology
FLSmidth’s entry into the IPCC arena has been successful, for the most part, through innovative customised solutions. We offer solutions that include our Triple TrackMobile Sizer, Dual Truck Mobile Sizer,  Semi Mobile Crushing Station and Mobile Sizing Rig.

IPCC technical group innovates for the future
Is IPCC just another acronym? Not for FLSmidth! In-Pit Crushing and Conveying is a major growth sector for the industry and FLSmidth’s Material Handling team. The recently formed IPCC Technical team reporting to the Wadgassen, Germany Technical Centre, will continue to promote and support the innovative culture within the Materials Handling Group that has lead to world leading innovations.

CONTACT: Paul Emerson