Udokan Copper, the developer of Russia’s largest and one of the world’s biggest copper deposits, has received the first batch of 136-tonne BelAZ dump trucks as it prepares to begin industrial copper mining. The company will also consider using electric hybrid trucks in the future to reduce emissions during the works.
The trucks are designed to transport quarried materials in difficult climatic and mining conditions and will provide the technological capabilities to develop the Udokan copper deposit, located in Russia’s Far East near the border with China. The vehicles, each weighing 107 tonnes, are highly manoeuvrable and can operate under temperatures ranging from -50 to 50ᵒC, while ensuring the safety and comfort of their drivers.
In July 2020, Udokan Copper started developing the deposit as part of the works at the Western mine pit. The Company plans to develop two sections of the mine pit during the first phase of the project. The BelAZ trucks will enable open-pit mining at the site to reach a projected 15 million tonnes per year. A total of 15 vehicles will be delivered by February 2023, rising to 58 by the end of 2023, to be used to transport ore for crushing, floatation, and smelting at the mining and processing plant.
Aleksei Yaschuk, First Deputy CEO and COO at Udokan Copper, said:
“As part of our mining and capital works, we have already set up the sites, roads, and dumps needed for excavating overburden. As of today, we have excavated more than 2 million tonnes of by-product at the mine pit. In the future, the Company is ready to consider using BelAZ diesel-electric hybrid dump trucks, which will allow us to reduce atmospheric emissions and operating costs by saving fuel.”
Udokan Copper was founded in 2008 to develop the Udokan copper deposit. It is part of the diversified holding company USM. The Udokan deposit, with over 26 million tonnes of copper reserves, is the largest new deposit in Russia. The JORC compliant copper grade is 1.05%.
The deposit is located in the Kalar district of Transbaikal Krai in the Russian Far East, 30 KM from Novaya Chara station on the Baikal-Amur Mainline. As part of the project, a mining and metallurgy facility will be commissioned to produce copper cathode and sulphide concentrate. The volume of production will be 135,000 tonnes of copper per year.