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Perilya breaks new ground with BH3

Monday, 8th October, 2018

MacLean Engineering’s Jamie Lachapelle, Rhett Parry, Charlie Piller and Steve Thomas in front of the company’s new BH3 machine at Perilya’s South Mine. PICTURE: Callum Marshall MacLean Engineering’s Jamie Lachapelle, Rhett Parry, Charlie Piller and Steve Thomas in front of the company’s new BH3 machine at Perilya’s South Mine. PICTURE: Callum Marshall

By Callum Marshall

A first-of-its-kind underground mining machine has just been delivered to Broken Hill’s South Perilya Mine courtesy of Canadian company MacLean Engineering. 

The MacLean BH3 (Block Hole Unit) specialises in breaking up large rocks which’ll help release trapped mineral reserves and prevent ore-flow blockages in mining draw points without endangering workers.

Accounts Manager at MacLean Engineering Steve Thomas said the BH3 was unique due to its remote-radio control (RRC) feature, which was something the company had been looking to integrate into one of their machines for a long time. 

“This machine is the first in the world with a factory-fitted remote control unit on it,” he said. 

“Our employee Jaime came out from Canada because he’s the radio-control technician. It was his company that we bought and assimilated into MacLean.

“We’d been looking for a remote-control company for a while.”

Combined with the remote-radio controlled aspect, the other main feature of the BH3 was a large rollover protection structure which housed the control station.

Mr Thomas said the application of both not only provided greater safety in the mine, but was able to successfully fulfil all the tasks prior machines had been able to do but much more efficiently.

“The other main feature is a large rollover, which is what controls the boom and the feed swing. It’s got an upgraded, modified rollover,” said Mr Thomas.

“It’ll mean you can do the functions quicker and more safely because you’re not on the machine and you’re be able to adapt it to parts that are on site. 

“It’s got a Drifter Atlas 1238 (rock drill) on it, which is what they use (here) on site.”

“Now that we’ve purchased Jaime’s company and we’ve updated that rollover (protection system), this’ll now be a standard template that MacLean and this unit, the BH3, (will follow.)”

Parts availability was another major aspect of the BH3 said Mr Thomas. 

“The machines in the past were built with certain assemblies, such as axles that are no longer available and (that) we’ve had to upgrade,” he said.

“Keeping the BH3 alive for a longer period of time is probably the greatest aspect to it.

“If you’ve seen an underground machine and what they look like compared to what this new one looks like, they’re chalk and cheese.”

With Perilya’s South Mine the beneficiary of the first BH3 in the world, Mr Thomas said there were no plans to move it on elsewhere.

“It’s staying here. Jaime and Rhett are here to train and commission the staff here and then it’ll be going down the decline to work,” he said.

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