Nevada Northern & Railroads of White Pine County


Concentrate Storage Bin and Loader

BHP Copper North America
Robinson Project - Ruth, NV



June Shaputis of Ruth, NV ( was kind enough to fulfill my request and both take and send these two photos of the storage bin/loader used to transfer the product of the BHP Robinson Mill -- copper concentrate -- to railroad hoppers for its journey to the smelter in San Manuel, AZ.

Thanks also to Mike Cripps of Ely, NV, agent-emeritus of the BHP Nevada Railroad, for his kind hospitality and his willingness to share information and patiently answer my many questions.



The ore deposits in the open pit mines near Ruth, NV contain approximately 0.5% copper. Ore bodies are located by exploratory drilling and then blasted. The broken rock is hauled to the crusher and stockpiled. It then travels to the concentrator -- the processing plant -- where it is ground and subjected to chemical and column floatation processes and filtering. The end product from the mill is concentrate containing about 28% copper.

The conveyor from the mill processing building to the concentrate storage bin and loader can be seen on the left in the above photo.

Photographed Sept 1999.
June Shaputis collection
Used with permission




The concentrate is black with the consistency of finely ground flour. Presumably due to its high content of Cu, one can discern a slight dark green tinge under certain sunlight conditions. The concentrate has a density about 4-times greater than raw ore and also contains a high percentage of pyrite (iron). Because of its high density and the maximum limit of 95-97 tons per railroad car prescribed by the track conditions, hoppers are generally between 1/4 - 3/4 full, depending on their load limit and geometry.

BHP Nevada Railroad motive power (ex-Southern Pacific SD-9's) are stored on the concentrate loader track in the Riepetown yard since the closing of the Robinson project in the Summer of 1999.

Photographed Sept 1999.
June Shaputis collection
Used with permission





From the bin storage, the copper concentrate is moved across a belt scale and gravity fed into open hoppers. The cars are then pulled out to a dynamic scale to determine shipping weights before being moved to the "Sunshine Siding" for shipment north to the UP interchange at Shafter.

Hopper cars on the Sunshine siding 21 June 1999. The Sunshine dump is in the background.
Copyright © 1999 by Keith Albrandt






Last modified 18 August, 2001 -/-