It wasn’t in their scope of work, but a Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. team working at a Utah copper mine saved the day earlier this year when they stepped in to help repair a crawler transporter moving a 1,600-ton crusher.
Kiewit was responsible for the heavy civil scope of work on the Rio Tinto Kennecott Crusher Relocation (RTKC) project, which included preparation and maintenance of the main haul road for relocation of the crusher at the copper mine.
Kiewit’s work, which began in March 2020, set the stage for the main event: the operation to move the crusher from its old foundation to its new foundation in a location four miles away. This operation was time-sensitive because the move would cause the main haul road to be closed for ore truck traffic, effectively shutting down the entire copper mine during transport.
“Kiewit was scheduled to complete its civil scope for the new crushing and conveying system in 18 months,” said Chris Miske, area manager. “But everything we did came down to the 48-hour time period this past April when the crusher was moved.”
The client, Rio Tinto Kennecott Utah Copper Corp., had hired a specialized transport subcontractor to move the crusher. During the move, the unthinkable happened — the crawler transporter had mechanical issues and stopped moving in the middle of the haul road. It was a catastrophic mechanical failure, and the client called Kiewit for help.
Kiewit’s maintenance team was quick to arrive, and the mechanics worked around-the-clock to perform a major repair on the crawler transporter. They understood the importance of getting the crusher moving again and reopening the copper mine for the client as soon as possible.
“Without Kiewit, it would have been hours or even days of delay to get different mechanics to the site,” Miske said. “When you’re dealing with such a short time frame, that’s big.”
This repair assistance is a good example of helping the client solve a problem that could likely have cost them several days and millions of dollars in mining production if Kiewit had not responded.
Kiewit’s ultimate success on the project was the result of solid client relationships developed over more than a year by Project Sponsor Joe Cook, Project Manager Jaron Withers and Project Engineer Jake Herron.
“Due to those relationships and Kiewit’s performance during the crusher move, the client viewed Kiewit as the go-to contractor who was trusted to ensure successful completion of the overall project,” Miske said.