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Good as gold

June 2, 2015

Brazilian mining company Mineração Caraíba is enjoying high fleet-availability levels thanks to an investment in Atlas Copco equipment and service contracts.

Brazilian mining company Mineração Caraíba S/A is based in the town of Jaguari, in the northeastern state of Bahia. The area, known as the Curaçá Valley, is rich in copper and other metals. Initially state-owned, the company was privatized in 1994 and its underground mine now produces 25 000 tons of contained copper and 4 500 tons of copper cathode a year. The company directly employs about 1 200 people.

In recent years, the company has expanded with projects throughout northern and northeastern Brazil. The Araés goldmine, opened in 2002 in the town of Nova Xavantina in the western state of Mato Grosso, is a showcase of productivity through innovative technologies and a proactive service agreement.

Sidney Fraguas Junior, General Manager of the mine in Nova Xavantina, says Atlas Copco mining machines share several features that increase productivity: They are versatile and easy to maneuver, allowing faster movement and operation in a wider range of situations than rivals; they consume less fuel; and they require only minor maintenance from the company. “In the last six months, the fleet availability index has been at 88%, well above the goal of 70%,” he says.

Mineração Caraíba’s mining services contracts with Atlas Copco are another factor that helps it maintain stable productivity levels. The company takes advantage of Atlas Copco’s decades of experience maintaining underground equipment and drilling equipment.

“The underground equipment is subject to lot of stress, and its availability is essential for productivity,” Fraguas says. “That’s why, besides investing in equipment, we decided to also hire maintenance in a scheduled manner. These contracts include detailed inspection protocols, highly specialized labor and extended guarantees, which maximize availability and productivity. This way we have time to focus on our business, without the need to worry about unpleasant surprises regarding unscheduled downtime and unexpected costs.”

The mine uses four Atlas Copco air compressors. These provide a contribution to productivity through energy savings. The variable speed drive technology of the compressors reduces energy consumption by producing only the required volume of compressed air.

Satisfied with what Atlas Copco is supplying, Fraguas confirms that the partnership will continue to grow. “We are beginning our production in a project with a shelf life of over 12 years,” he says. “We will always seek solutions that increase productivity with minimal environmental impact.”

“This way we have time to focus on our business, without the need to worry about unpleasant surprises regarding unscheduled downtime and unexpected costs.” Sidney Fraguas Junior, General Manager of the Araés gold mine.

Diggin’ it

Compressors Service Productivity Brazil Value creation Mining South America Research and development Underground and drilling equipment