Reliable ascent

In an underground mine the Motto lift is the principal method of vertical access, of easy movement between levels, both for workers and materials. It can be used for service purposes, inspections of, for example, emergency exits and also for the extraction of material from within the gallery.

The adverse environmental conditions of the mine make it crucial to have a high level of security, durability and reliability in these kinds of lifts, also that they can be adapted to the different circumstances and characteristics of each mine. The installation cost is minimal, with no necessity for a machine room, because each lift incorporates its own machinery for its specific purpose. (...)

Underground exploration or the SLC mining method (among others) are frequently used in the copper belt region of Zambia and Katanga, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Our client contacted us to develop a machine capable of helping and mechanizing upwards ascents. Each ascent, of a 30 metres height, had been done manually by the workers, using temporary ladders in order to perforate, and then explode the rock. The process was slow with a progression of just 1,2 m for each explosion. The cost was also high, needing a specialized team and taking, as an average, 10 complete days. Our client was looking for a special solution which would increase safety and productivity. However the few products available on the market (pneumatic lifts), were difficult to apply in this case.

Customer objectives:

The solution needed to be a strong working platform capable of working in the mining sector, with rack and pinion technology and mobile, which permits the machine to be replace before each explosion, leaving space for the excavator. In general the machine needed to achieve a balance between increasing productivity and security at a reasonable cost. All complying with security standards and regulations within the mining industry.

Motto has developed a special platform, (mast climbing working platform), with special deck dimensions to fit each ascent and to be installed on a mobile chassis which permits its horizontal movement within the gallery. All complying with the regulations of the mining industry. This machine also has the benefit that the mast does not need to be attached to the rocks, thus facilitating the assembling and disassembling of the mast sections.

The step taken are as follows:

  1. Install the machine, level the stabilizers, raising of the machine and installation of the first mast section, (using jib), to reach the rock, start the perforation process and install the explosive.
  2. Remove the mast section and move the machine
  3. Explode the rocks and remove the rubble with excavator
  4. Take the machine to the ascent, install mast sections to reach the rock level, drill and install the explosives.
  5. Disassemble mast sections and remove the machine, explode the rocks as in step 3, drive the machine back as detailed in step 4

Materials and custom-made certification:

  • The client possesses many vehicles capable of moving the machine.
  • A special motorized jib is installed on the deck to reduce installation time of the mast
  • All the motors and control boxes must be certified for mining test purposes


The initial productivity was 30 metres in 10 days. With the new SLC platform the client was able to more than double productivity, achieving a complete ascent in 4 days.