Metso Insights Case studies Mining and metals refining Wear part development increases safety and uptime at the Milpillas copper mine in Mexico
Dec 31, 2019

Wear part development increases safety and uptime at the Milpillas copper mine in Mexico

The Milpillas mine, part of Grupo Peñoles, is an underground copper mine in Sonora, Mexico. Production started in 2006, and currently, the mine produces more than 20,000 tons of copper per year.
Three men talking at the Milpillas site.

Safety is a top priority for Grupo Peñoles, and one way to increase it is to minimize the amount of time spent on maintenance. Wear parts that require less frequent change-outs play a key role. As an added benefit, equipment availability is higher, while the cost per produced ton of copper is lower.

Milpillas has collaborated with Metso to develop the wear parts of their underground Primary Gyratory Crusher as well as their surface screening process.

Stationary crushing station at Milpillas site.

Increasing concave segment lifetime from 6 months to 2 years

“The starting point was that we had frequent, long maintenance stops which affected the availability of the primary crusher,” says Iván Rangel, Maintenance Assessor at Milpillas.

The optimization that Metso provided involved switching to a different alloy and changing the design. The wear life increased to 4 times the original.

“With these new concave segments, we have increased the crusher’s availability, and hence the processing and crushing of material in our processes. By moving from stops every six months to once every two years with the new concaves, our production costs have gone down considerably,” Iván Rangel explains.

“Lower maintenance times and fewer maintenance stops have led to greater production. Above all, and this is fundamental for our group, the maintenance staff are exposed to risk for less time,” he continues.

According to Iván Rangel, the collaboration with Metso has been a win-win situation.

“The collaboration we have had with Metso has been fundamental in reducing production costs, improving the equipment’s availability, and exposing our staff to less risk,” he concludes.

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Slashing the number of annual media change-outs to a third

Inadequate wear life of the screening media was another challenge the mine faced. The modules had to be replaced all too often.

“The availability of the screens is very important for us. If one screen stops, our entire crushing process stops, and the following stages as well,” says Edgar Leonel Sánchez y Sánchez, Maintenance Assessor at Milpillas.

As a solution, Metso provided media with a better material. Now, the wear life is longer, and as a result, the uptime is higher.

“For the secondary screen, the downtime to replace a module has been reduced to a third. Before, we had to do it 3 times per year, and now we only do it once per year. In the tertiary stage, we used to replace the modules 3-4 times a year, and now, only once per year,” Edgar Leonel Sánchez y Sánchez says.

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