As mining methods continue to modernise, sustainability and safety remain top priorities for operations as they adopt new technologies to boost their overall productivity. For IAMGOLD Corporation’s Côté Gold Project, their willingness to embrace this evolving technology coincides with their vision for zero harm in all operations and activities undertaken by their organisation.
This goal is bolstered by their recent agreement to purchase five autonomous Pit Viper rigs from Epiroc to work at their open pit mine in the Sudbury District of Ontario, which will help keep operators out of any potential danger zones while drilling.
For Epiroc, the agreement marks the first fully autonomous fleet of Pit Viper rigs on Canadian soil. The powerful blasthole drill rigs are also equipped with Mobius for Drills, a digitalisation tool that imports drill plans and collects key data for mining personnel all while enabling multi-machine control which was developed in partnership between ASI Mining (owned 34% by Epiroc) and Epiroc. The solution also introduces Epiroc-owned 3D-P, engaging Epiroc’s wireless networking capabilities into the agreement which enables integration and connectivity with the mines existing networks.
With the introduction of new technologies in both automation and digitalisation, the Côté Gold Project is utilising innovative techniques to ensure operator safety, increased longevity of their machines and a higher output in their surface drilling operation.
“This is an important milestone for Epiroc Canada, we are excited to collaborate with IAMGOLD to continue driving innovation within the mining industry,” said Charlie Ekberg, General Manager Epiroc Canada. “The autonomous Pit Viper fleet has a strong reputation for reliability and this recent agreement shows our shared commitment to operator safety on site,” said Chris Graves, Business Line Manager Surface Drilling at Epiroc Canada.
“The Epiroc Pit Viper fleet is an integral step along the Côté Gold journey to be the first fully automated haulage and drilling mine in Canada,” said Francis Letarte-Lavoie, Operations Manager Côté Gold. “The existing four Pit Viper rigs are progressing towards full autonomous mode, and we anticipate the fifth drill set for delivery in April 2024 will complete the fleet successfully. We look forward to continuing to develop the partnership with Epiroc in order to meet our milestones during this critical time for Côté Gold and IAMGOLD in general.”