Elphinstone acquires the Beltor Mine Extraction Device (MED)

Elphinstone recently acquired the proven Beltor ‘Puller’ – an underground Mine Extraction Device (MED) designed to safely recover buried equipment.

While attending Austmine 2023, Dale Elphinstone was awarded the Champion of Innovation award, recognising his significant contribution to innovation in the METS sector.

The award celebrates an individual who has pioneered and championed innovation and has changed the course of the mining industry through their outstanding vision, inspirational leadership, passion for innovation and advancement of mining equipment, safety, technology and services.

Dale is the Executive Chairman of Elphinstone Pty Ltd and his legacy of over 45 years in the underground mining realm continues in the ethos and values of the company he founded in 1975.

Operator safety and mine productivity have always been a priority at Elphinstone which has a long and successful history designing and manufacturing underground hard rock mining equipment from its headquarters in Burnie, Tasmania.

The company’s ongoing commitment to safety and mine productivity was demonstrated in March of this year when it announced the acquisition of MED Pty Ltd, the owner of the intellectual property for the underground Mine Extraction Device (MED) also known as the “Beltor Puller”, developed by the founder of Beltor Engineering, Aldo Beletich back in the 1980s.

The MED was invented in response to a need by underground miners to extract buried or bogged equipment in a safe and efficient means without damaging the mine or negatively impacting production.

When Aldo invented the first Beltor Mine Extraction Device – or MED Puller as it’s commonly called – back in the 1980s, mining equipment was much lighter than it is today.

Pictured Clockwise: 1) The control station and hydraulic hoses are moved into position and connected. In this case, the auxiliary implement controls on an IT loader are used to operate the MED. 2) The tow slings and other equipment are moved into position. 3) Racks are being located and pinned together using the front Hiab. The connecting link is secured to the pulling rack using the load pin. 4) Tension is applied to the tow slings and the extraction process commences.

The first MED, with a pulling capacity of 90 tonnes, was introduced to the market in 1988 to meet the needs of the underground thermal coal miners in and around Newcastle.

With the increase in the size and weight of underground mining equipment, there was a need for larger extraction devices to recover buried or bogged equipment.

As a result, higher capacity MEDs were introduced to ensure that underground mining operations could return to full production with minimum delay.

Subsequently, the 150-tonne (MED150) and 210-tonne (MED210) versions of the device were introduced in line with the industry’s growth.

In addition to the retrieval of buried equipment, the higher capacity models are also capable of extracting drill rods embedded in the rock face.

The expansion did not stop there, in 2020 the largest version of the extraction device was launched, the MED360 with a pulling capacity of 360 tonnes for much larger underground coal and hard rock machinery.

The MED range has revolutionised the way buried underground equipment is extracted and made this process safer.

“What makes the (Elphinstone) MED unique is that it eliminates the need, damage and disruption of using other production equipment to remove the buried machine and operates in a more controlled and safe way,” says Tim Mitchell, Elphinstone’s Global Sales and Marketing Manager.

“When the MED is towed into position in the mine, the boom is raised against the roof and the wheels are lowered on the floor, effectively wedging the machine into position.  A bridle assembly is interlocked into the teeth of the MED racks which are then pulled via hydraulic cylinders”.

“The process is conducted in relative silence allowing the operators to hear and see exactly what is happening during the extraction, a stark contrast to the traditional method with wheeled or tracked tow vehicles that produce noise and dust,” says Mitchell.

The MED will be sold and serviced by Elphinstone Pty Ltd direct to end users from the company’s manufacturing facility in Burnie, Tasmania.

About Beltor Engineering:

Beltor Engineering has been providing solutions to the Australian and New Zealand mining, industrial service and bulk material handling industries since 1975.  Based near Newcastle N.S.W., the business was initiated by providing fabrication services to the newly constructed local power stations and underground coal mines. Since then, Beltor Engineering has broadened its products and services and is now a valued partner to the world’s largest mining and bulk materials handling companies.

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