A mining hopper is a valuable component of the transport chain within the mining industry. This is especially true in a country like Australia with a rich mineral industry. 

Hoppers, also called ‘underpans’ or ‘chutes’ are structures used in industrial processes to collect and release particulate matter (such as gravel, sand, ore or waste) onto conveyor belts for transportation. They are constructed in rectangular, round or trough shapes to suit specific loads and materials. Their sides are generally sloped to allow gravity to push the material towards the feeding mouth. 

mining hopper

Built from reinforced concrete, metal, composite material or plastic, mining hoppers need to be heavy-duty, insulated, weather and moisture-resistant, and temperature controlled. They come in a variety of volume and weight capacities, depending on their purpose. 

mining hopper

How are mining hoppers used on-site? 

Mining hoppers are either built directly into the process line for loading and unloading materials or as an independent on-site reserve. They are filled manually or automatically at the top by hopper feeders. When needed, they dispense the material onto conveyor belts which transport the material into another stage of the process. They receive and supply materials through either continuous or cyclical action, depending on the loading and unloading mechanisms. 

They can be stationary, semi-stationary or portable structures, based on their application and capacity requirements. The four main purposes of mining hoppers are: 

  • Storage: they are loaded with particulate matter, separated into different partitions by type and size 
  • Blending: they are loaded with different materials which they dispense a mixture
  • Batch loading: they serve as an interface between batch and continuous material flow
  • Metering: they supply material at adjustable feeding rates

Mining hoppers in Australia

Australia is one of the world’s leading producers of aluminium ore, iron ore, lithium, gold, lead, diamond, uranium and zinc. In all states, except for the Australian Capital Territory, you can also find significant amounts of black coal, manganese, nickel, silver, cobalt, copper and tin. 

These metals and rare earth elements need to be guarded against moisture and temperature fluctuations when stored in these large industrial containers. Australia’s unique climate conditions demand high-performing mining hoppers, with insulated walls that protect the content from external conditions.

Industrial Plastics has a long history of serving Australian mines with UHMWPE-lined hoppers. Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) is an industrial thermoplastic that is highly resistant to abrasion, weather conditions and impact which makes it the perfect material for the inside of a mining hopper. Similarly, HDPE also exhibits these characteristics which is why all of our mining hoppers, chutes and underpans are constructed using HDPE.

Australian Mining Hoppers Explained

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At Industrial Plastics, we are determined to innovate our approach to fabrication by employing the most efficient technology, guaranteeing we make the highest quality plastic products on the market. Our experienced team is always searching for ways to improve customizability through our advanced machinery and process knowledge. We understand how imperative plastic products are too many businesses. Backed by our ISO 9001 accreditation, you can put trust in Industrial Plastics’ fabrication. If you are in the market for your own mining hopper, chute or launder contact us via [email protected] or call 1300 465 888. 

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