The Midas touch
Use of the latest Atlas Copco technology is helping Turkey’s largest gold mine increase its productivity.
Though it has long relied on expensive imports of the precious metal, today Turkey is becoming an important producer in its own right.
Atlas Copco is aiding the development by supplying cutting-edge equipment and materials to the country’s biggest gold mine.
Located in the western province of Usak, the Kisladag gold mine began commercial production in 2006. Since 2008, the mine has been owned and operated by the Turkish subsidiary of Eldorado Gold Corp., which uses Atlas Copco rigs and hammers.
According to the mine’s manager, Ahmet Raci Uslu, production has increased steadily since the Atlas Copco rigs were introduced. Notably, from the 2 million grams of gold that were extracted in 2006, the total rose to 3 090 million grams for only the first six months of 2009. “The amount of meters we drill is crucial for us to maintain production,” says Uslu. “In June, 2009, we drilled nearly 48 000 meters – we aim to maintain this level of production. That’s why we chose Atlas Copco.”
The Atlas Copco rigs, hammers and bits provide unrivalled penetration rates through the volcanic rock that covers the mine area. They contribute to an anticipated production capacity of 1.73 million tons a month.
To extend the life of its drill bits, Kisladag uses an Atlas Copco Secoroc grinder; each bit is reground two or three times. This care of the drill bits results in less wear and tear on each rig’s drill string. “We have our own maintenance shop and crew,” says Uslu, “but we get good maintenance support from Atlas Copco and a good supply of parts and consumables. That makes life easy for us.”
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