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Twin Super•Cor conveyor crossings adapt to BC copper mine’s needs


As part of a major upgrade for Teck Highland Valley Copper Operations, the largest open pit copper mine in Canada, a new haul road needed to cross two operating conveyor lines. The owner, Teck Resources Limited, needed a safe, reliable and cost-effective solution from a supplier that was capable of adapting to unique situations. A pair of Super•Cor Tunnels with Vist-A-Wall Headwalls, and the experience of the AIL Mining team, met the requirements. 


Challenge #1: Using sand for backfill 
Teck had a large stockpile of natural sand onsite that they wanted used for the backfill on this project. This was an interesting challenge, as we had never before designed a soil-steel structure for a heavy haul road with sand as a backfill. Our engineering team worked with the owner, their engineer and their geotechnical consultant, to determine a safe and cost-effective solution using this backfill.

Having our own Ph.D in Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering on the AIL staff certainly helped us efficiently navigate this situation and, ultimately, enable significant savings on backfill materials.

Challenge #2: Building on a seismic fault line 
The crossing was located close to large open pits within the mine site, with the foundation on a fault line. The potential for settlement and movement of the foundation was a challenge that needed to be faced. Fortunately the Super•Cor and Vist-A-Wall products are designed for such conditions and can handle a certain level of flexibility.  

structural-plate-mining-conveyor haul-road-crossing

We also worked with Teck to supply our base channels and anchor bolts during the previous fall, so that they could install the footings before winter hit. We completed our design and manufacturing in the winter months to have the product ready as soon as it was needed in the spring. 

As part of our contract, we supplied a full-time field reviewer who was on site for the duration of the project, ready to address any issues as soon as they arose. A post project site walk with the owners and the contractors confirmed their satisfaction and we have had continued business with each party since.

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Project at a glance:

Name: Highland Valley Copper - Fitzpatrick Skyway
Location: Near Logan Lake, south-central BC
Owner: Teck  
Engineer: CWA Engineers  
Geotechnical Engineer: BGC Engineering   
Contractor: Acres Enterprises  
Products: Super•Cor Arches and Vist-A-Wall Headwalls (Wire Walls)
Application: Heavy Haul Road Conveyor Crossings
Tunnel Dimensions: Span 6.1 m, Rise 3.1 m, Length 31.7 m 
Installation time: Nine weeks total for assembly of both Super•Cor Arches and Vist-A-Wall Headwalls