The isolated Jerooy gold mine in the north of the Kyrgyz Republic is located 60km from Talas City at between 3000-3600m.a.s.l. The challenges at this altitude would deter most from expedition, but with estimated gold reserves of 83.98t as of 2009, joint venture company Jerooyaltn took on the extreme conditions.
In doing so, Jerooyaltn required tough, reliable equipment, so employed a range of Dressta construction equipment to ensure a successful operation. 534E wheel loaders along with TD-25M and TD-40E crawler dozers were assigned to the project, with Dressta providing specialized versions to overcome the environment.
The machines arrived at the Jerooyaltn base, 1800m.a.s.l., before travelling 30km uphill to the eventual worksite via the only suitable connection road. Here, at 3800m.a.s.l., the machines were required to work night and day, through summer and winter, in temperatures that varied from +40°C to -35°C. The altitude exacerbates the unpredictability of the conditions, for example snow in summer, and temperature differences of as such as 30°C between worksite and base.
Summer & Arctic Package
Dressta specialized its wheel loaders and crawler dozers to be able to cope with the adverse weather and extreme temperature diversity. This was achieved by equipping the machines with an air conditioning system for summer and its ‘Arctic Package’ SFR for winter.
The Arctic Package was designed to protect both the machines and operators from the rigours of operating in sub-zero temperatures as low as -50°C. For the cab, double glazed windows, outer thermal protection of the engine compartment, tight side sheets, a regulated radiator louver and an Airtronic air heater ensured the operators were sufficiently warm.
For the machines themselves to retain their optimal performance levels, several heating systems were implemented for the fuel, oils and coolants, as well as a pre-heating system for the engine.
Tough Ground, Tough Blades
Tough climatic conditions were coupled with equally demanding ground conditions. The Dressta machines had to cope with exceptionally hard rock that attains 9-11 units in the 12-unit Protodiakonov scale.
To tear through the abrasive rock, the dozers were specified with reinforced blade systems, including blade plates and pusharm wear plates. Additionally, extreme-duty replaceable blade side cutters were used, enabling optimized dozer performance when cutting the hillside in the construction and building of essential service roads on side-slopes.
The necessity to build these service roads often meant the machines and their operators were working on the edge of a several hundred-metre abyss. Such fine margins required optimal machine balance and stability with no room for error – an application that Dressta crawler dozers are renowned for.
Under such a severe climate, with high working site altitude and constant side-slope operation, the technical condition, reliability and serviceability had to be at 100% at all times. For this tough Kyrgyzstan gold mine project, the 534E, TD-25M and TD-40E Dressta machines assigned by Jerooyaltn were essential in achieving safe, efficient and productive operations.