Cat Electric Rope Shovels Help Oil Sands Customers

Setting Records

With Cat® 7495 Electric Rope Shovels

Mines in the Canadian Oil Sands face a lot of common challenges: Like brutally cold winters and harsh geological conditions. Abrasive silica sand and sticky bitumen that take a toll on heavy equipment. Strict regulations that impact their license to operate and require a never-ending search for solutions that mitigate the effect they have on the environment.

Despite these conditions and challenges, a number of mines in the Oil Sands are setting production records. Which leads to one more thing they have in common: Cat® 7495 Electric Rope Shovels. Nearly 20 of these 1360-tonne (1,500-ton) shovels are the exclusive loading tools on three out of four of the top producing sites.

With a payload of 109 tonnes (120 tons), the 7495 is an ideal loading solution for the challenging Oil Sands conditions. Plus, they’re ideally matched to load ultra-class mining trucks like the 363-tonne (400-ton) Cat 797. More than 300 797s are currently hauling ore in these tough conditions.

“Our goal is not only to build a shovel that can withstand these tough conditions, but also one that can efficiently and productively work in these environments,” says Dale Blyth, electric rope shovel product manager. “Loading tools have a profound impact on our customers’ cost per ton and overall production. We’re pleased that our customers in the Oil Sands are finding the 7495 to be the right tool to help them achieve – and exceed – their production goals.”

Setting records

Oil Sands Magazine — an online resource that provides information on mining activities, the energy market, and projects in the region — recntly identified 2018’s top producers in the Oil Sands. Statistics showed that three of these top producers were well above their planned production.

In first place were two mining facilities known collectively as Albian Sands, owned by Canadian Natural Resources (CNRL). The Jackpine operation has a production capacity of 100,000 barrels a day (bbl/day), but averaged 132,000 bbl/day in 2018. The adjacent Muskeg River mine produced 162,000 bbl/day, 7,800 barrels more per day than its planned production.

The second operation to surpass production goals was Imperial Oil’s Kearl mine. The mine hit its design capacity in 2017, averaging 223,000 bbl/day, just 3,000 barrels above its 220,000 planned capacity. But by the end of 2018 the mine increased its planned production to 240,000 bbl/day.

In total, these three sites produced 517,000 bbl/day compared to the planned production of 475,000 bbl/day. “With an ore to oil conversion of 2 ton per 1 barrel of oil sand ore, that equates to approximately 1,034,000 tons per day moved by Cat 7495 electric rope shovels,” said Blyth. “Compared to their plan of about 950,000 tons per day, that’s about 9% above their tonnage plan.”

“If you translate that increased production into dollars, the numbers are quite impressive,”Blyth continued. “Assuming the price of oil sand is $42.64 a barrel, we’re looking at an additional $22 million in revenue generated for CNRL and Imperial Oil combined. We are extremely proud that customers are achieving such high productivity using Cat 7495 shovels.”

Discover Cat® Electric Rope Shovels

Electric rope shovels offer the lowest cost-per-ton loading solution for long-life mines. They can load more material – more efficiently and more cost-effectively – than any other loading tool on the market. 

Cat® Electric Rope Shovels are designed to have an operating life of 120,000 hours, making them a viable option for mines with estimated lives that meet or exceed a timeframe of 20 years.

The electric rope shovel’s immense payload capability, low maintenance requirements, and high reliability make it Caterpillar’s lowest total-cost-per-unit loading tool available.

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