More than a hundred Volvo machines are working at the biggest open cast coal mine in Asia.
Korba is the industrial hub of Chhattisgarh state and the power capital of Central India. Its landscape plays host to a number of giant power projects, but its show piece – the Gevra mine – is India’s and Asia’s largest open cast coal mine project.
India has some of the biggest coal reserves in the world – with more than 90% produced by state-owned companies. The Indian power sector relies heavily on coal for the generation of electricity, and with electricity demand rising so must its coal production.
Sainik Mining, established in 1989, is one of India’s largest mining and logistics companies. It’s known for being a major player in the mining of India’s eastern and central coal belts but also has overseas operations.
The Gevra mine is located to the town of the same name and opened in 1981. It currently has a production capacity of more than 35 million tonnes of coal a year, and there are plans in place to raise capacity to 44 million tonnes. To keep up with demand, the company owns a fleet of Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) machinery – an integral part of production at the mine. “The Gevra Project is the most challenging site we have ever worked at, so our army of Volvo CE excavators, motor graders and wheel loaders are greatly appreciated,” says Capt. Sindhu, director of Sainik Mining.
Sainik Mining got its first Volvo machine in 2001 and now has an impressive fleet of equipment consisting of 42 excavators, seven motor graders and more than 20 wheel loaders in a variety of models. The company also recently placed an order for 21 Volvo EC480DL excavators and G930 motor graders.
Volvo’s heavy-duty Volvo EC480 DL excavators are powerful machines that feature peak torque at low engine speeds, as and high pump flow, resulting in high performance and greater fuel efficiency. The machine’s Volvo Care Cab also provides greater comfort, resulting in reduced fatigue and increased productivity. The cab features Roll Over Protective Structure (ROPS) safety certification, providing more operator safety and peace-of-mind when operating in tough environments.
“We are very happy with our Volvo excavators,” says operations manager Satish Kadian. “Because of their longevity and reliability, we want to purchase more of these machines as we gradually retire the older ones.”
The machines are used across the mining site for many applications, including digging and general earth moving, coal transportation and soil removal – all tasks made more challenging given the tropical conditions of Chhattisgarh, where temperatures can reach 48°C. The machines also load coal into railway cars, where it is transferred for boiler firing at power plants around India.
The company has three Volvo wheel loaders that have each clocked more than 50,000 hours. A Volvo L120E wheel loader purchased in 2004 has reached 51,000 hours and a L120D wheel loader has hit 54,000 hours. The machines work 16 hours a day, seven days a week.
“You don’t achieve success overnight in the mining business,” adds Sindhu. “You earn your stripes over time with consistent performance, improved productivity and better cost efficiency. We can always count on our Volvo machines to deliver this. Volvo excavators are also more productive than other brands because of their better swing capabilities and cycle times. Volvo machines as a rule are extremely fuel efficient and easy to maintain. The aftermarket service provided by Volvo is also quite simply the best in the business. And, when you add everything up based on overall cost-per-tonne, Volvo offers us the lowest rate going.”
Picture 1: Surrounded by Gevra’s vast open cast coal mine
Picture 2: The Volvo G930 grader collects its operator