The Weeks Island underground mine produces 2,000,000 tons of salt annually. Current mining operations are on the 1,500′ and 1,600’ Levels, however all product was processed, stored, and hoisted from original facilities on the mined out 1,200′ Level. The mine began installation of a new salt handling system at the 1,500′ Level. The salt handling systems include the crushing and screening tower, tripper conveyor, stockpile and reclaim tunnel, and the loading flasks and surge bin. All processing and handling will now be on the 1500’ level.
The engineering, procurement and construction of the new salt handling system at the 1,500’ level started approximately six years ago. The project integrated multiple designers and contractors, ultimately leading to an incomplete and inadequate system. AMS employed the services of a third-party engineering firm specializing in bulk material handling and processing solutions, to review the structural, mechanical, and electrical systems. It was determined that there were numerous deficiencies in all systems and additional engineering was required. AMS, with Morton, worked to develop a plan to incorporate all the existing infrastructure while bringing the design to current engineering codes and standards.
AMS has since constructed the modifications to the system including, suspension of the tripper deck from the salt back with consideration to the ground movement, installation of 120,000 lbs. of additional steel bracing for vibration and seismic mitigation, completion of 200 ft of shaft guides and dividers, as well as additional shaft upgrades, and installation of the mechanical and electrical systems through system commissioning.
Working on an accelerated schedule, AMS assisted Morton on the completion of the new handling system. Maintenance and preservation of the original facilities was important in order to ensure reliability and continue to meet production goals. During the duration of the project, AMS has also reviewed and addressed the creep characteristics of the salt as it pertains to ground control. In conjunction with Morton, AMS has employed the services of RESPEC, a leader in 3D geology and mine modeling to develop a ground support plan that addresses the fluidity of salt while providing ground support with a predicted life span of 30 years.
- Mining & Civil
- April 2018
- Morton Salt
- New Iberia, LA