The Economics of Individually Motorized Railcars in Block Caving Applications

Abstract Cost evaluation models constructed specifically to evaluate the economic potential of an individually motorized railcar system of ore and waste transport demonstrate that the approach may be considerably more cost effective than traditional rubber-tired haulage methods. The system design places a motorized drive unit on each railcar, as opposed to the more common configuration where a series of un-motorized cars trail behind a single locomotive. These motorized railcars are directed to various load and dump points by an electronic dispatch system, and as such have the advantage of operating unmanned. In addition, the tractive effort of the rail-type drive system is noticeably more efficient than that of the rubber-tired mode of transport. The savings are realized primarily through comparative reductions in the requirements for labor and, to a lesser degree, energy.
Keywords: Economics, Cost estimates, Block caving, Underground mining, Haulage, Railcars
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