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Terex Trucks show true grit

Terex TA400 dumptruck

Irish Salt Mining and Exploration deploy two new Terex TA400 ADTs at Carrickfergus salt mine

IRISH Salt Mining and Exploration’s Carrickfergus mine plays a vital part in keeping the UK’s road network open during winter, with the company’s fleet of Terex articulated dumptrucks (ADTs) hauling extracted salt while coping with corrosive nature of the mineral product plus the temperatures inside the mine.

Situated to the north of Belfast, the Carrickfergus mine was developed specifically to mine de-icing rock salt for winter road maintenance. Founded in 1965, Irish Salt Mining and Exploration (ISME) are in a prime location – thanks to their proximity to the coast as well as the construction of a ship-loading terminal – which has allowed the company to develop a successful export market.

ISME’s 55-strong workforce currently produces between 300,000 and 500,000 tonnes of road salt per year, providing local authorities across the UK with the means to help keep the road network open during the icy winter months. Scottish local authorities are the company’s biggest customer, followed by Ireland and then the rest of the UK.

Mining at Carrickfergus, which at its deepest point reaches 305m below ground level, uses the traditional ‘room and pillar’ method. To extract the mineral, the salt bed is undercut before being drilled and blasted, with each blast seeing three faces advance 3m. The next task is roof scaling using a rotary cutting head designed specifically for the purpose.

The broken salt is loaded into one of ISME’s seven Terex ADTs, including two new TA400s, and hauled to the crushing plant. Crushing and screening are completed underground with the finished product transported, via a 2km long network of conveyors, to the surface where it is treated with an anti-caking additive and stored undercover for dispatch by sea from the company’s own quay, or by road.

ISME’s newest hauler, a 38-tonne capacity TA400 with a six-cylinder Scania DC13 Tier 4 Final engine, arrived on site in February 2016. Before choosing the machine, the company visited the Terex Trucks facility in Motherwell and also saw the ADT in action at an opencast mine in Scotland and at a product demonstration in Malaga.

As part of their after-sales service, Sleator Plant provided a trainer who showed operators at the mine the changes that had been made to the new machine and explained the new maintenance routine to ISME’s workshop staff.

To date, there have been no problems running any of the machines, with ISME adhering to the maintenance and servicing schedule as well as doing daily and monthly checks. The company operates its own workshop to carry out routine maintenance and servicing, with larger jobs, such as an engine overhaul, being carried out by Sleator Plant.

According to ISME, the Terex machines are more than a match for the conditions at the Carrickfergus mine, with their oldest haulers still operating after 25 years.

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