Excavators, Extra-large Excavators

Refurbished Liebherr R 996 mining excavator goes back to work

Queensland miner Yancoal has undertaken a restoration of its Liebherr R 996 mining excavator

Australian coal mining company Yancoal has refurbished a Liebherr R 996 excavator, putting it back to work at its Cameby Downs mine in Queensland.

For the past 13 years the excavator worked at Yancoal’s Yarrabee mine in central Queensland. After coming to the end of its working life, having moved over 110 million cubic metres of material, the decision was made to undertake the crane’s refurbishment over a period of three months.

After the excavator was stood down at the Yarrabee site, it was broken into its modules and sent to Mackay, where the modules were further disassembled. While some parts remained in Mackay to be refurbished by specialists in the area, the engine modules were sent on to Liebherr’s Mount Thorley branch in New South Wales.

“The machine needed to be in the dirt by early July,” Cameby Downs production manager Greg Woolard says.

“We met with Liebherr on a daily basis – sometimes more – to double check the lead times for parts to ensure that the deadline was met.”

Once the refurbishment process was complete, all modules were sent to Cameby Downs, where the R 996 was then reassembled and is now removing the top layers of overburden in the pit, with an expected lifespan of 30,000 hours.

“It isn’t uncommon to see our R 996 excavators reach 100,000 working hours or more once they have been reconditioned,” Liebherr Australia excavator specialist Matt Charley says.

“In Australia, the longest serving R 996 has bypassed 98,000 service hours and, in Indonesia, there is a machine that has almost reached 148,000 hours. Both machines are still going strong.”

The R 996 was first introduced to the market in 1996 and was the biggest and most advanced mining excavator of the Liebherr portfolio at the time, it says. Despite entering the market more than 25 years ago, there are still dozens of units in operation in countries all over the world, with the majority of these in Australia.

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