7495 loading
7495 loading

Cat Rope Shovels Achieve Highest Availability in the World

See how Cat electric rope shovels at Southern Peru Copper Corporation's Cuajone mine achieved record-setting availability.

By Caterpillar | Posted December 12, 2022

Southern Peru Copper Corporation (SPCC) has a reputation for setting — and achieving — ambitious goals. Its parent company, Grupo Mexico, boasts the highest copper reserves in the industry. Led by an experienced management team, the company delivers consistent strong operational and financial performance thanks to a focus on continuous improvement and contributing to Peru’s development.

SPCC takes that commitment from the executive office to the mine site, focusing on achieving low-cost operations at its two mines, located southeast of Lima.

Consider the company’s Cuajone mine, for example. Located at 3500 meters (11,500 feet) above sea level in the rugged Peruvian Andes, working conditions at Cuajone are challenging. Yet today the brownfield mine is one of the largest and most efficient base metal mine complexes in the world.

Cuajone operations consist of a 930-meter-deep (3051-feet-deep) open pit and a concentrator located in southern Peru’s Moquegua Region, which is also home to Cuajone’s sister mine, Toquepala.

Cuajone represents one of the largest copper reserves in the world, with estimated reserves of 1.6 billion tonnes (1.76 billion tons) of ore. In 2020, the mine produced 371 000 tonnes (409,000 tons) of copper and 4200 tonnes (4,630 tons) of molybdenum.

Building a reliable production fleet

One of the key contributors to a mine’s operational efficiency is the reliability of its equipment fleet. When machines are down, production can grind to a halt. Quality maintenance practices are essential.

Cuajone follows a do-it-with-me approach to maintenance — planning and performing the majority of repairs and maintenance itself, while partnering with local Cat dealer Ferreyros for technical support. This year, Ferreyros marks its 100th year in Peru, where it is the leading company in the heavy equipment industry.

Ferreyros has mechanical and electrical engineers working full time at both sites and provides remote support in Lima for SPCC’s nationwide fleet of rope shovels. In addition, Cuajone takes advantage of several Customer Value Agreements that support warehousing, logistics maintenance and shop repairs.

“We are proud to have served Cuajone for several decades, staying one step ahead with them as they obtain maximum productivity and safety,” said Ferreyros Account Manager Jose Atho.

To-date, Ferreyros has achieved more than 1.5 million hours with no lost-time accidents and zero COVID-19 cases on site. “This is great motivation for us to give this large global player world-class support in its continuous improvement efforts,” Atho said. “Cuajone is a very important part of our history.”

Shovel maintenance efforts at Cuajone are successfully led by Angel Herrera, Mine Superintendent; Jesús Castro, Mine Manager; and Marco Antonio Figueroa, Director of Operations. Cuajone has a strong focus on continuous improvement, reliability, low-cost processes and high productivity.

That achievement is no more evident than in the availability of the site’s Cat® loading and hauling fleet, which includes three Cat 7495 Electric Rope Shovels, 18 Cat 797F Trucks and two Cat 798 AC Trucks.

The 7495s had the highest physical availability of any 7495s in the world in 2021, and the 797s continue to achieve above-average availability results. What makes this achievement even more impressive is that the shovels have been operating for over 10 years. All of the SPCC shovels located at Cuajone and Toquepala have gone through a major repair process — a key contributor to the high availability.

“These electric rope shovels regularly achieved physical availability greater than 93% in 2021, compared to the average of 88 to 90,” said Caterpillar Product Support Manager Chris Wieland. “What’s even more remarkable about this achievement is that it was accomplished in the teeth of a global pandemic.”

Focusing on the future

SPCC, Caterpillar and Ferreyros have a long relationship that is expected to grow even stronger over the next decade as the company continues its quest to mine as efficiently and productively as possible.

SPCC recently began a trial of six new Cat 798 AC electric drive trucks — two at Cuajone and four at Toquepala — configured with a high-altitude arrangement that provides 3052 kW (4,150 HP) of power, making them ideally suited for the mine’s location in the Andes.

Top focus areas in the coming years will be increasing production, incorporating new technology solutions, and finding ways to reduce environment impact and operate more sustainably.

Ferreyros has had a maintenance and repair contract with SPCC for nearly a decade and is working to add even more machines to the scope. To-date, the agreement covers 20 pieces of ancillary equipment, 49 797F trucks, four 794 AC trucks and six 798 AC trucks.


Learn more about our electric rope shovel models, as well as the aftermarket services, upgrades and technologies that support them, when you visit the electric rope shovel family page.

Visit Page
Electric rope shovel family
Electric rope shovel family