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Media / Application stories / Atlas Copco Boomer 353E Rigs Power Jinping Hydropower Station Project

Atlas Copco Boomer 353E Rigs Power Jinping Hydropower Station Project


At 305 m, Jinping I will be the world’s tallest traditional hydropower dam and have a total capacity of 3 600 MW to produce between 16 and 18 TWh (billion kW/h) annually. The Jinping II hydropower station will spin eight 550 MW turbines in an underground complex on the outlet side of the Yalong River bend. Once it has been used for power generation, the water will then be released back into the river.

Atlas Copco China - Boomer 353E Rigs Power Jinping Hydropower Station Project, Sichuan, China
To bridge the gap between growth and energy supply, China turns to hydropower in a big way. The Yalong River now provides the scene as Jinping I and II near their completion.
When the Three Gorges Dam on theYangtze River opened in 2006, it was a testament to China’s successful efforts to harness the energy of its big rivers on a gigantic scale.
Now, all eyes are fixed on the nation’s next mega-project in renewable hydropower, the Jinping Hydropower Staion set on the Yalong River bend in the Sichuan province. 
The location has kept several of China’s hydroelectric engineering institutions busy for more than 50 years, studying its power generation potential and how to effectively tap it.
In November 2005, construction began on the Jinping project which consists of two power stations, Jinping I and Jinping II. With a total installed capacity of 3600 and 4800 megawatts respectively, the facilities will provide a main supply of electricity from Sichuan Province to the east China region.
With industry, urbanization and population on continuous growth curves, hydroelectricity is already essential in supporting the nation’s expansion. As the largest producer of hydroelectricity in the world, China currently generates 17 per cent of its domestic electricity use from hydropower –but it is a figure that is set to increase.
When Jinping is fully completed, its arch dam wall will be the tallest in the world, standing at 305 m, corresponding with massive drop in elevation between the upstream and downstream point where the Yalong River turns back on its course and comes within just 16 km.
At the west side of the Jinping River Bend, a 37 m tall, 162 m long sluice dam will divert water into four 12 m diameter, 16.6 km long diversion tunnels toward the Jinping II power station. Of the four diversion tunnels, two are being excavated with tunnel boring machines, and two by drill-and-blast. The work is being done by China’s No.18 Bureau of China Railway Tunnel Engineering Co. Ltd.
Tunneling full speed ahead
A fleet of Atlas Copco hydraulic rigs are working on the project, including 25 units of the Boomer 353 E hydraulic face-drilling rig, one unit of Boomer XL3 D and seven ROC D7 surface drills.
Drilling and blasting is performed in two stages, starting with the upper 7.5 m excavated with Boomer 353 E. After the entire top half of the tunnel is removed, the lower level will be excavated using ROC D7 surface crawlers.
The company operates two 12-hour shifts and the tunnels advance at the rate of 9 –12 meters per day.

"Everything is working as it is supposed to. I have no complaints," says Project Manager Quan Li and emphasizes the excellent performance of the equipment.
  Li has been an Atlas Copco customer since 1984 when he was working in the Hong Kong area. With the best tunneling equipment on the market, he says, Atlas Copco enables him to work full speed ahead.
And he adds: "The Boomer 353 E is made for this type of work. The rigs are simple to operate and the best size for these tunnels."
Safety gets priority
Li concedes that finding skilled people to join the workforce is not easy. Many come from the countryside where jobs are scarce, looking for new opportunities. It can take up to six months before they are proficient at operating the drill rigs.
The benefits of added safety features are another reason why Li likes Atlas Copco equipment, whose company has four men in each drilling crew. “No one gets hurt here. That is important for us because we care about our people,” he says.
Had the tunnels been drilled by the traditional jack-leg method, workers would not have had the benefit of distance from the rock face, and the extra length of the BUT 35 boom is further reassurance, Li points out.

The operator moves smoothly from control station to control station operating all three booms at once. He has no problem keeping all three COP 1838 rock drills, equipped with their 45 mm Secoroc bits, working simultaneously.
To secure the roof bolts, five Boltec LD rigs are used to install bolts every 1.2 m. Additional security for the walls is provided by shotcrete over wire mesh. Once the drilling is complete, the tunnels are lined.
With its sluice dam, spillway structures, power tunnels, a powerhouse complex and the four 16.6 km diversion tunnels, Jinping II project is an even more complex undertaking than Jinping I.
When completed, the tunnels will rank among the world largest. The total construction period is estimated at eight years with two tunnels due to come on stream in 2012 and the remaining two to start up in 2015.


For further information, please contact:

  • Caroline He
    Marketing Communication Specialist
    Atlas Copco Mining and Rock Excavation Technique
    Phone: +86 10 6528 0517     

Atlas Copco is an industrial group with world-leading positions in compressors, expanders and air treatment systems, construction and mining equipment, power tools and assembly systems. With innovative products and services, Atlas Copco delivers solutions for sustainable productivity. The company was founded in 1873, is based in Stockholm, Sweden, and has a global reach spanning more than 170 countries. In 2011, Atlas Copco had 37 500 employees and revenues of BSEK 81 (BEUR 9). Learn more at

Atlas Copco’s Mining and Rock Excavation Technique business area provides equipment for drilling and rock excavation, a complete range of related consumables and service through a global network. The business area innovates for sustainable productivity in surface and underground mining, infrastructure, civil works, well drilling and geotechnical applications. Principal product development and manufacturing units are located in Sweden, the United States, Canada, China and India.