The world’s first pit to ship loader has been introduced at Puerto Mejillones, loading copper concentrate. 

With mines and bulk terminals in the becoming more conscious of their environmental standards, they are innovating to find new ways to be more efficient & sustainable when handling bulk commodities.

At Puerto Mejillones, in Chile, the port has adopted the latest evolution of the Revolver system to help with their bulk unloading process.

The port owns 2400 purpose built bulk containers, which are the Chilean standard. At the Chilean mine, containers are filled with copper concentrate, sealed shut and then transported to the mine via train.

Bulk Handling Process

  • Once the containers arrive at the port, they are stockpiled at the yard, waiting for the arrival of the shipping vessel (this arrangement prevents loss of the copper or exposure to the environment). 
  • Upon arrival of the vessels, the containers are transported to the warehouse, where the terminal’s hoppers are held.
  • 2 warehouse gantry cranes with rotating spreaders lift the containers from the trucks and remove the lids from the containers in a semi-automatic process. 
  • Containers are rotated 360 degrees by the Revolvers, unloading the copper concentrate swiftly into the warehouse hoppers (the 360 rotation ensures all commodity is decanted from the containers).

The cycle is repeated in a continuous loop, allowing the hoppers to feed the commodity into the port’s ship loader, where 1500 tonnes is unloaded per hour. 

Like many other mining logistics, containerised bulk handling using Revolver has proven how it can flexibly integrate into existing port infrastructure to improve efficiency. This is the world’s first pit-to-ship loader operation giving zero material loss. Not only does this boost the port’s sustainability but also increases revenue due to product integrity not being degraded or lost.

During a visit to the port, Eddie Mills, from RAM, commented: “This is the first project to unload the containers into a hopper to feed a ship loader directly at 1,500 TPH”. 

Stacked ISO sealed containers.
containerised bulk handling on bridge crane

Blending Copper Concentrate 

When ports and traders sell concentrate, they often need to blend to meet their client’s required specifications. Some clients require more moisture or a different blend of minerals than other clients.

By using containers, you can store and segregate specification grades of concentrate effectively. Once you know the required grade, you can blend each hatch much more effectively using this system.

Puerto Mejillones also has the option to blend minerals recording the container reference vs concentrate to know what is going in the hoppers, and then take a sample of the commodity, on the conveyor system before it enters the ship.

Frequently Asked Questions 

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What is a RAM Revolver?

The RAM Revolver is a rotating spreader that can lift, rotate, and unload bulk containers in a fast and efficient way. It is designed to handle various types of bulk commodities, such as copper concentrate, iron ore, coal, and grains.

What benefits did Puerto Mejillones see when using the RAM Revolver?

Blending capability: The port can blend different grades of copper concentrate to meet the specifications of different clients. By using containers, the port can store and segregate different grades of concentrate effectively. The port can also record the container reference and take a sample of the commodity before it enters the ship.

Zero material loss: The containerised bulk handling system prevents any loss of copper or exposure to the environment during transportation and unloading. This increases revenue and sustainability for the port and the mine. 



How can I learn more about the rotating spreader for handling bulk materials?

Port operators interested in refurbishment services can contact RAM Spreaders at our request a callback page or head to our ccontainerised bulk handling equipment page.