ABB has recently been contracted to supply gearless mill drive (GMD) systems for two 38 ft SAG mills at the Serra Azul iron ore mine in Brazil. The Serra Azul mine unit, owned by MMX Mineração e Metálicos, an EBX Group company, is located in the iron quadrangle of Minas Gerais near Belo Horizonte. The Tico-Tico and Ipê mines form this unit with a current production capacity of 8.7 Mt/y of iron ore. ABB’s scope of supply includes two GMD systems for 38 ft 23 MW SAG mills comprising transformers, ring motors and complete containerised electrical houses (e-houses).The variable speed drive solution allows for optimisation of the grinding processes for ores with varying properties and different mill loads. The GMD eliminates the need of critical high maintenance mechanical equipment such as gearbox, ring gear and pinion. It enables operational optimisation, energy and costs savings, high system efficiency and availability while reducing maintenance needs at the same time. This order is ABB’s first GMD reference in iron ore processing. ABB believes that a ombination of its “strong presence in Latin America and its state-of-the-art grinding solutions” helped to secure the contract. TheSerra Azul order will be ABB’s 7th installed unit in Brazil and the 48th in Latin America. The order was part of a multi billion dollar mine expansion, projected to increase annual iron-ore processing capacity to over 24 Mt by 2015, allowing MMX to triple its output at Serra Azul. The expansion involves construction of an iron ore enriching plant and a railroad terminal. MMX Mineração e Metálicos, established in 2005 as part of the EBX Group, operates and owns high quality iron ore mines in Minas Gerais and Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. In addition, MMX plans to expand its operations to Chile, where it currently also holds mining rights.