Long haulers: UK truck firm makes 9000km trek for Russia delivery

Terex Trucks used sea, rail and road in getting four dump tracks to a remote diamond mine in east of country

PHOTO: The TR100 rigid dumpers were freighted by sea, rail and then trucks, before being assembled and completing the final 300km. Credit: Terex Trucks

The UK-based Terex Trucks has gone to extraordinary lengths to deliver its latest consignment of haulers, with four rigid dump trucks transported 8,920km across Russia to the Alrosa diamond mine in the far east of the country.

The order was a follow-up, with a number of Terex Trucks dumpers having successfully operated at the mine for three years.

At the Motherwell factory in Scotland, the four completed trucks – painted yellow and with cold weather packs – were disassembled into kit form and shipped to the Russian port of St. Petersburg.

Once offloaded, the kits were loaded onto freight trains and taken by rail over 1,610km to Chelyabinsk, and then onto Ust-Kut. Here the kits were transferred onto a fleet of special on-highway trucks – each hauler needed four trucks to transport – and taken a further 805km to Alrosa’s Udachny Mine.

Workshop facilities here allowed Alrosa’s experienced technicians – assisted by Terex Trucks experts – to assemble the haulers. While the trucks were assembled the three elements of the payload body were expertly welded together and fitted to the machines. Each truck took a week to build.

The machines were then given a pre-delivery inspection and approved as fit for purpose by Alrosa.

The final leg of the journey – a mere 300km – took four days, with the rigid haulers driving along ice roads cut through the forest to the mine site.

“We ran into some difficulties along the way,” said Alexander Bonev, director of Mining Eurasia, Terex Trucks’ dealer in Russia. “The main problem was that the winter roads had begun to thaw and were too soft. At that time in April there is normally three more weeks of severe cold, but not this year. Even with the Terex Trucks’ go-anywhere driveability it was still a challenge to get the dump trucks through safely.”

In operation, the TR100s are working three shifts, 22 hours a day, seven days a week. With winters and extremely cold – the coldest in the northern hemisphere with average temperatures around -47°C in winter – it is necessary for the machines to run almost non-stop, as in severe low temperatures it is better to keep the engine running constantly, only stopping them for maintenance.

The Nyurba mine was established in 2000 to develop the large deposits of the ore field, and the vast mine generates revenues of half a billion dollars annually.

Diamond mining requires incredibly high volumes of material to be moved.

Kimberlite, the rock which diamonds are found inside, yields on average a little over one carat of diamond – weighing a tiny 200mg – per tonne of kimberlite moved.

In 2013 Alrosa unearthed 32 million carats worth of diamonds last year, meaning that the TR100 dumpers, with their 90 tonne payloads, have their work cut out for them.

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