Lovat is to refurbish two of its TBMs long held by Russian contractor Transtonnelstroy to prepare for a series of future projects in the growing market, including excavation work in a coal mine in Vortuka.

The refurbishment work is to be supervised by Lovat in Russia and has been scheduled for completion about the second quarter of 2008. The company originally supplied the machines in the 1980s.

In performing complete refurbishment of the RME222SE machines (Series 9100 and 9200 units), Lovat plans to retrofit them with new safety equipment, control systems, modify the cutting heads and sealing systems, and increase their diameters from 5.64m to 5.94m.

A further, key, modification to each machine – “Polina” and “Olga” will see new screw conveyors fitted to enable them to operate in EPB mode in pressures up to three bar.

For the future coal mine project it is planned that a 2.691m long tunnel be excavated by Transtonnelstroy.

Lovat said the refitting to EPB mode and size increase is needed because of the planned future tunnel projects in Russia.