Wheel loader boosts lithium production at WA mine

Australia is one of the biggest producers of lithium, accounting for about half the world’s supply. With the global lithium battery market predicted to grow at 12 per cent from 2017 to 2024, demand for the rare metal is booming.

Ravensthorpe Haulage, an earthmoving and haulage company based in Western Australia, is using an L260H wheel loader from Volvo CE to assist with the mining and processing of lithium at the Galaxy Resources site, one of Western Australia’s largest lithium mines. The 35-tonne wheel loader loads 5000 tonnes of lithium daily.

“Our operators like the L260H wheel loader’s performance. It’s powerful for loading and provides good visibility, which enables them to be more precise when operating,” said Wayne Daw, owner of Ravensthorpe Haulage. “Plus, operators say the ergonomic seat and control positions allow them to work in comfort.”

The L260H is fitted with a powerful 310kW Stage 3 Volvo D13 engine to deliver more power and torque – by up to five per cent on earlier H-series models. It also offers a 15 per cent increase in payload and larger bucket sizes, and is capable of a 2343Nm torque at low engine speeds to minimise emissions and fuel consumption.

The vehicle has a high breakout force of 284kN, a dump height of 3.1m and a 50mm longer wheel base, along with Z-bar linkage for strong, powerful digging in hard materials. The L260H’s load-sensing hydraulics are designed to enhance the responsiveness of attachments and improve the lifting and lowering speed of the boom.

For faster cycle times, the new HTL310 transmission works in harmony with the powerful engine and axles, and the new converter delivers increased torque output, resulting in better performance.

The loader is equipped with two bucket options – the rock bucket and the rehandling bucket. The 6.4m³ rock bucket features a longer floor and can hold 11.5 per cent more material than before, resulting in up to 25 per cent greater productivity.

The redesigned 7.3m³ rehandling bucket is easy to fill, and the convex sides minimise spillage, for up to five per cent greater productivity.

On site since June 2018, the L260H loads lithium into a plant for processing, and helps load the final product into stockpiles.

Daw says most of the processed lithium is shipped to clients in China.

Ravensthorpe Bulk Haulage has a fleet of eight Volvo CE machines, which are all working at the Galaxy Resources lithium mine.

“We selected the L260H wheel loader for its reliable performance,” Daw said. “We also appreciate Volvo’s strong aftermarket service support.”

The L260H was launched in the Australian market in 2018. It is a two-pass loader, purpose-built for tough jobs, and has been upgraded with innovative technology and increased payload capacity for greater productivity compared to its predecessors in the H-series range.

The loader can be fitted with an optional boom suspension system (BSS) to enhance productivity by up to 20 per cent. By absorbing shock and reducing bounce and bucket spillage when operating on uneven terrain, the BSS enables faster cycle times and extends the machine’s lifetime.

The L260H can be fitted with Volvo CE’s optional Co-Pilot intelligent machine service.

Co-Pilot is an onboard 254mm (10”) touchscreen display system that powers intelligent machine services such as load assist, dig assist, compact assist and pave assist to deliver real time information.

Each Volvo Assist program helps operators monitor progress and output in real time, enhancing productivity.

CJD Equipment is one of Australia’s leading privately owned equipment suppliers and the Australian distributor for Volvo Construction Equipment. Its relationship with Volvo CE has endured for more than 25 years.

This strategic partnership provides businesses with access to Volvo’s ever-expanding line of construction equipment, with machines and features designed specifically to cater to the requirements of each industry segment.

CJD Equipment’s dealer network supports Volvo CE customers, with branches throughout Australia. Together, Volvo CE and CJD Equipment offer numerous services, including telematics machine monitoring and parts availability, plus local knowledge and global experience – all of which optimises productivity while minimising operational costs.

Source: CJD Equipment

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