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El Teniente Mine, Chile - Sprayed concrete Optimisation

Reduced process cost, increased quality, and skilled operators for the future with Normet’s training




Sprayed Concrete





The Project 

Zublin is one of the biggest contractors in Chile and has developed a wide range of projects in mining, energy, infrastructure, civil engineering works and construction.  

Zublin was awarded a new mine development contract for three years in El Teniente mine. As part of the contract, Zublin is required to spray around 2,500 cub mt of concrete monthly. Four sprayers and 16 operators are needed. 

The Challenge 

The mine development is under high rock mass stress and the owner, Codelco, pays extra attention to the quality of the sprayed concrete and thoroughly monitors the sprayed concrete process.  

Zublin has a constant focus on quality issues, amount of rebound and consumption of accelerator. Normet worked full time with the Zublin team at the site, first on the actual process evaluation followed by the design of an improvement solution recommended for each stage of the sprayed concrete process.  

Main opportunities for improvement were a higher-than-ideal water cement ratio in the concrete mix, an improvement opportunity of process knowledge by supervisors and sprayer operators, a higher-than-anticipated percentage of rebound and a higher-than-expected dosage of accelerator.  

These improvements combined would produce a significant upside opportunity for sprayed concrete quality and reduction of consumption of materials. 

Quick Facts

  • On-site sprayed concrete training designed by Normet and tailored for the customer needs
  • Rebound reduced on average by 17%
  • Accelerator consumption decreased by 3%
  • Developing operator skills shows Normet’s process insight in action

The Solution 

With Zublin’s encouragement, Normet designed a sprayed concrete process training program.  

The on-site training program was tailored for a total amount of 36 persons for a duration of four months. The program covered all stages of the process, from the aggregates selection for the concrete mix to quality controls of the sprayed concrete on-site. 

The program was designed to educate the supervisors and operators, including the batching plant, transmixer and sprayed concrete operators and internal quality control personnel. The Normet simulator was used to evaluate the operators’ performance and to further develop their skills. 

Project Outcome

After four months of hard work, Normet together with the customer team was able to achieve an important reduction on the process cost, and an important increase on the sprayed concrete quality.   

Rebound was reduced on average by 17% and accelerator consumption decreased by 3%. Continual, incremental improvements in performance are expected downstream as the Nozzlemen become adept with their new knowledge and skills. 

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