Altonorte Copper Smelter

Client: Glencore
Location: Chile

Altonorte is a custom copper smelting operation located near the port of Antofagasta in northern Chile.

HMR was contacted by Glencore regarding a grinding mill main motor bearing failure. These
bearings had recently been changed out, but the set had failed again within an hour of operation. HMR advised the client to shut the plant down and arranged to have a technical specialist on a plane to Chile within 12 hours.

On arrival at the site, HMR removed and scraped the white metal bearings, restoring them to an as-new condition. The bearings were reinstalled and the plant then ran successfully without any further issues.

HMR saved the plant from additional damage as well as providing a highly efficient response time and reducing the shutdown duration significantly.


HMR was asked to provide technical advice at the Altonorte site in relation to a Kumera Steam Dryer which was at risk of running off its axis.

Prior to consulting HMR, the client received an initial proposal by the OEM to shut the plant for 10 – 12 days, allow it to cool down and lift the whole machine, which involved the purchase of hydraulic equipment to the value of $500,000. HMR suggested an alternative approach of rotating and jacking the machine over during controlled isolation and shutdowns of three hours at a time.

The client requested HMR to oversee the operation and the steam dryer was shunted back into position in a total of two hours from the commencement of work.

HMR’s efficient approach was highly commended by the client and the Kumera representative on site based on the time and cost savings achieved as well as preserving the longevity of the machinery overall by carrying out the works without prior cooling.

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