Tag Archives: Boliden

ABB and real progress in mine electrification with eMine™ portfolio

For more than 130 years, ABB has been embedded in industries where emissions are hard to abate and where alternative solutions are either unavailable or difficult to practically implement. The same is true today with mining, with ABB showcasing that the power of bold ideas and pioneering technologies can overcome challenges the sector is experiencing.

In the mining industry, ABB says ‘Real Progress’ means helping customers through their energy transition, with integrated electrification, automation and digital, combined with world-class technologies for hoisting and grinding. The ABB eMine™ portfolio of solutions is one example, empowering companies to convert fossil fuel-reliant mines to all-electric.

ABB’s Mehrzad Ashnagaran, Global Product Line Manager Electrification (left) & Ratna Kanth Dittakavi, Global eMine Sales Manager

In Sweden and Canada, ABB’s eMine Trolley System has been in operation at large, open-pit mines where diesel trucks are retrofitted to run on electric trolley lines while transporting ore. Copper Mountain Mining Corporation (now part of Hudbay Minerals) has reported that the electrified solution has resulted in a 90% reduction in carbon emissions for the electrified trucks running on trolley, compared with the diesel-powered trucks, while they also run at twice the speed.

Also in Canada, the eMine FastCharge high-power electric charging solution for haul trucks is being put through its paces, with the flexible and fully automated solution designed for the harshest mining environments.

IM spoke with ABB’s Mehrzad Ashnagaran, Global Product Line Manager Electrification, and Ratna Kanth Dittakavi, Global eMine Sales Manager, to find out more about the company’s electrification advances ahead of their appearances at The Electric Mine 2024, in Perth, Western Australia, taking place at the Crown Perth Complex, on May 21-23.

IM: It’s been almost three years since ABB launched its eMine portfolio of solutions. How would you say the mining industry’s reception to electrifying their operations has changed over this timeframe?

MA and RKD: At the time ABB eMine™ was launched in 2021, conversation around integrated electrification and automation with multiple vendors working together was in isolated pockets around the globe. Since then, we can say that from a stage of infancy mining operators and their industry partners have grown. The path of technology development and implementation has footprints along it as these collaborators have increased interest and uptake. Electric-driven equipment and electrical infrastructure is now being put in place in certain geographies – in Europe and North America, for example, where access to greener forms of energy is more obvious. Moreover, the industry as a whole is widely agreed that electric systems, combining automated elements, smart solutions and user-friendly interfacing, are the future. It will take time, but legislation and policies from governments are moving in the right direction to support electrification. ABB has seen this first hand through our recent invite on to European Association of Mining Industries (Euromines) committees to support with the promotion and consideration of responsible industry practices.

IM: Over that same timeframe, how has the eMine portfolio of solutions evolved? Have you felt the need to accelerate your solution development to serve the requirements of the industry?

MA and RKD: As well as being a portfolio of solutions, ABB eMine™ is an overall approach and way thinking, and it has been recognized as such. It has a purpose to make the all-electric mine possible and a route to do this with proven methods, electrification and automation systems from mine to port. But, focusing on the technologies in the nearly three years since launch, we have continued to drive, and at times accelerate, developments alongside close partners and customers. Take, for example, eMine™ Trolley System, which has moved on from only being a solution for large ultra-class diesel haul trucks in open-pit mines. It has recently been engineered for use in underground mines in tandem with battery-electric trolley trucks – bringing part of the all-electric mine to life in reality with Swedish partners Boliden and Epiroc. Meanwhile, our ABB engineers have developed eMine™ FastCharge as an engineered solution for customers. The power capacity of the fully automated charging system is now being steadily increased through research and development with the aim of being compatible with some of the world’s largest trucks.

IM: Are you seeing more mining companies opening to collaboration to solve some of the tricker electrification challenges they facing? Is ABB doing the same?

MA and RKD: Electrification has enormous potential for the mining industry in terms of operational cost savings, future-ready mine designs and shoring up energy supplies in the face of uncertainty around global supply chain issues for fossil fuels. An electric mine looks very different to a traditional mine on paper and over the landscape, so ABB has found that mining companies are looking to us from the earliest stages of planning. If, together, we have a chance to think about mine power requirements, ehouses and substations, truck routes, ramps and inclines, stoppages where charging could be carried out, people and equipment movements, it has a better result than trying to force or retrofit technologies. Once a mine is laid out, it’s not easy to change. eMine has been a door opener to effective conversations around not only electrification, but automation, digital solutions and service because the best planning is holistic. ABB can help customers to find out what will fit to the mine operations, often with inputs from key technology partners. In terms of electrical technology, it could be conveyor versus haul truck, or hoist versus conveyor and trucks. The combinations have to be investigated and agreed for the specific mine operation.

IM: Would you say the collaborations you have in place with Antofagasta Minerals and Boliden/Epiroc – which will be showcased at The Electric Mine 2024 – are representative of this shift in mindset?

MA and RKD: When we speak about customers in as diverse regions as northern Europe and South America, there are significant distinctions to be made, of course, but we have seen that customers worldwide are taking on the challenge of electrification, using resources available to their regions and adapting technologies to suit their environments. It’s well-documented that Sweden is a technology leader in mining, with established use of hydro power and some of the most advanced electrification and automation embedded in their operations. The new developments with Boliden and Epiroc are one example of ABB’s involvement in continuing to push the boundaries alongside industry peers. Taking the challenges in South America, mining companies are often working with remote sites at high altitude that don’t have well-connected infrastructure or reliable electrical grids. As a technology provider we consider the specifics of each location, such as where the nearest medium voltage connection is or how we can support operators to make adjustments from the safety of operations centers far from harsh natural environments.

IM: More widely, how do you define ABB’s unique offering to the mining sector when it comes to electrification? Where is the company’s expertise and offering proving decisive on projects?

MA and RKD: In terms of heritage, ABB has more than 130 years of history in the electrification of mining, beginning when our company first electrified a mine hoist in Sweden in the 1890s. But, since then, ABB has passed on expertise in electrical engineering from generation to generation and has driven innovations and advancements. We use technologies as an enabler, but always with the awareness that change should be expected – every technology we are speaking about today is developing. Mining companies are basing their decarbonization initiatives, strategies and planning on the expectation that these solutions with acceptable technology readiness levels will be available in time aligned with their decarbonization goals and road map. Through early engagement and by working together on industry-agnostic, interoperable solutions that can be adapted in line with new technologies gives a level of peace of mind. We work with customers to deploy the best available and bring the future ecosystem today – combining electrification, automation and digitalization for the highest levels of productivity, safety and sustainability.

IM: In addition to what you have already discussed above, what can attendees of The Electric Mine 2024 look forward to hearing about next week?

MA and RKD: In a world first, ABB and Epiroc, will take to the stage to jointly share the background, technical details and vision from the implementation of their underground trolley system for battery-electric haul trucks at Boliden’s Kristineberg mine in Sweden. Since announcing the technology milestone this year, we’ve engaged in important industry conversations signalling that this is just the start of a new era. Together with Franck Boudreault, Underground Application Expert – Electrification, Epiroc, I (Mehrzad) will speak on this exciting project. Further to this, we will share further details of decarbonisation in the all-important copper segment in South America, focusing on the role of collaboration in hitting net zero. Tomás Nass, Decarbonization Manager, Antofagasta Minerals, Chile, will host the presentation in partnership with myself (Ratna). Finally, Dr Fabiana Cavalcante, Global Head of Mobile e-Power, ABB Traction, is set to present a view on diesel to electric drivetrain conversion activity with Nuh Cement’s zero emission dump truck in Türkiye. The mining industry is ready for electrification and we look forward to engaging with contacts, colleagues and delegates at this major event.

ABB is a Gold Sponsor of The Electric Mine 2024, with the company having a major indoor display in the exhibition hall. Both Mehrzad Ashnagaran and Ratna Kanth Dittakavi will be on stage at the event as part of joint presentations during Day 1 of the event. Find out more about The Electric Mine 2024 by going to www.theelectricmine.com

ABB on the final piece of the electrification puzzle

Every train, industrial, or transportation vehicle needs a unique traction powertrain for operation, with ABB, through its Traction division, holding a complete and flexible product portfolio that, it says, allows it to build the perfect electrification solution for operators to transition businesses to more sustainable and lower cost operations.

Each of these solutions can be tailored to customer requirements and the operating conditions of each vehicle that it powers, enabling maximum energy efficiency, zero carbon emissions and high reliability.

The company is able to leverage high-tech e-mobility and rail system traction converters, energy storage systems and electric vehicle charging solutions as part of its offering, complementing this with enhanced expertise to help accelerate the transition to all-electric operations.

One project where its impact has been felt is at Nuh Cement in Turkey where ABB is working jointly with the company to convert 10 mainly Euclid/Hitachi dump trucks with an average 160 ton capacity, which have completed their 30-year service life, from diesel engine power to electric.

This is one of the first mining truck battery conversion projects of its kind in the world and will be discussed in more detail during a presentation at The Electric Mine 2024.

Ahead of the event, taking place at the Crown Perth Complex, on May 21-23, we spoke with Fabiana Cavalcante, Head of Mobile e-Power at ABB, to find out more about the offering.

IM: ABB’s Traction division is working within a very competitive landscape when it comes to e-mobility in mining. What would you say are your unique selling points to the industry?

FC: We bring over 130 years of experience in mining electrification, combined with extensive expertise in electrification and charging infrastructure for cars, buses and trucks. This allows us to extend our capabilities to the final piece of the puzzle: electrifying mobile equipment.

Fabiana Cavalcante, Head of Mobile e-Power at ABB

Our journey began by utilising our unique knowledge in rail propulsion systems and adapting it to the harsh environment of mining. Our roots in electrifying the Swiss railway network over a century ago have established us as leaders in sustainable transportation solutions. We have translated this experience to increase energy efficiency, reliability and reduce emissions across rail networks, electric buses and other heavy vehicles. The building blocks of the technology are similar, making for a smooth transition.

Besides this, what truly sets us apart is our capacity to execute customised customer projects. Battery-electric propulsion requires more personalisation compared to diesel, and our history as an independent supplier has equipped us with the skills, mindset and a perfect portfolio of proven base components to adapt quickly and in larger quantities than any other company.

IM: You work with multiple OEMs and solution providers across the globe looking to electrify their operations. Are most of these companies looking to electrify their offerings during a similar timeframe?

FC: Many mining operators have ambitious sustainability targets, aiming to reduce their Scope 1 and 2 emissions by at least 30% by 2030. By 2050, many operators aim to achieve net-zero emissions, and the only path to that is by electrifying their mining vehicle fleets. If every truck in every mine were electrified, we could remove 198,000 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere each day. Mining operators and OEMs recognise the potential to minimise their carbon footprint, and while this transition won’t happen overnight, we’re excited to partner with them and guide them on their electric journey.

IM: How often are you interacting directly with the operators during these types of projects? At this stage, is it often a collaboration between ABB, the OEM and the client?

FC: The level of interaction varies from project to project. In some cases, we have limited direct engagement with the mine operator, while in others, we are heavily involved. A recent example is our collaboration with Boliden and Epiroc, where we worked together to create the first battery-electric trolley truck system for underground mining. This close partnership was crucial to bringing this innovative project to life.

IM: In this regard, how does your work with Nuh Cement on converting its diesel powered fleet to electric power stand out from the work you normally carry out? Why is Nuh Cement able to collaborate directly with ABB on such a project?

FC: Nuh Cement approached us with the goal of converting their existing mining fleet of Euclid/Hitachi dump trucks to electric power and we officially began the project in 2022. We have vast experience in retrofitting vehicles for the rail business and we followed the same approach and procedures for the haul trucks.

The steep ramps with up to 20% gradient required us to pay close attention to ensure that the electric trucks could meet the expected performance and efficiency levels. This involved intense collaboration between both parties to translate simulations into practical, real-world solutions. Working closely with Nuh Cement, we tailored our solutions to fit their specific operational requirements and made sure our technologies aligned with their vision for a sustainable future. We hope many more mine operators will soon start to electrify their fleet and we’re excited to closely partner with them throughout their journey.

IM: Are you able to provide a sneak preview of what you will present at The Electric Mine 2024 in Perth about the Nuh Cement project? How has this project advanced since it was announced back in 2022?

FC: I’m excited to share the results of our groundbreaking collaboration with Nuh Cement at the event. Our partnership led to the successful electrification of a haul truck, demonstrating ABB’s ability to retrofit diesel-powered vehicles into fully electric ones – a milestone with significant implications for the mining industry. This transformation of a 30-year-old vehicle into a net-zero haul truck sets a new standard for sustainable mining practices worldwide.

Additionally, attendees will hear from Nuh Cement’s CEO, Kamil Gökhan Bozkurt, who will provide insights into this key project.

IM: In addition to what you have already discussed above, what can attendees of The Electric Mine 2024 look forward to hearing about next month?

FC: I encourage everyone to visit our team at booth 58 during the conference. Attendees will have the chance to explore our latest technology and innovations, including a preview of our new energy storage system, which offers exceptional lifespan, power and safety. We look forward to seeing you all there!

ABB is a Gold Sponsor of The Electric Mine 2024, with the company having a major indoor display in the exhibition hall. Fabiana Cavalcante will be on stage at the event presenting, ‘Powering progress: ABB and Nuh Cement’s zero emission dump truck’ during Day 1 of the event. Find out more about The Electric Mine 2024 by going to www.theelectricmine.com

Boliden selects Radtonics industrial 5G network as comms backbone for Garpenberg automation advances

Boliden has entered into an agreement with Radtonics, regarding the creation of a private industrial 5G network at its Garpenberg mine, in Sweden.

Among other things, the private 5G network will play an important role as a communication channel in a project for autonomous transport initiated at the mine.

Boliden is working strategically to use modern technology that automates processes, increases operational reliability and lays the foundation for long-term sustainable mining operations, Radtronics says. By implementing Radtonics’ industrial 5G network, the company adds an important component to that strategy.

Boliden chose Radtonics after a procurement process where several 4G and 5G options were evaluated. In the end, it was Radtonics’ solution for private industrial 5G networks that best met Boliden’s stringent requirements, the company says.

With Radtonic’s solution, Boliden Garpenberg gets its own private network that is both easy and flexible to implement. A private 5G network provides better transparency in the network and facilitates monitoring and data utilisation, according to Radtonics.

Radtonics is a Swedish company with global ambitions that has developed a unique solution for private industrial networks for 5G. With its technology, the company develops and builds high-quality industrial networks in a simple, automated and cost-effective way. The agreement with Boliden is another important strategic step in the company’s expansion.

Patric Lind, CEO and co-founder of Radtonics, said: “The fact that Boliden chooses Radtonics as its industrial 5G partner in this strategically important project is a confirmation that our technology and knowledge meet the industry’s requirements for robustness, reliability and innovation.”

Rio Tinto backs BEV use at Kennecott Underground with growing Sandvik fleet

Rio Tinto is progressing its mobile equipment electrification move at the Kennecott underground operation near Salt Lake City, Utah, having transitioned from using Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions battery-electric loaders and trucks in a proof of concept to commercially deploying Sandvik battery-electric TH550B trucks and a Sandvik LH518iB loader.

Just last year, Rio Tinto approved $498 million of funding to deliver underground development and infrastructure for an area known as the North Rim Skarn (NRS). Production from the NRS is due to commence this year and is expected to ramp up over two years, to deliver around 70,000 tonnes of additional mined copper over the next 10 years alongside open-pit operations at Kennecott.

This followed a September 2022 announcement where Rio Tinto approved development capital totalling $55 million to start underground mining in an area known as the Lower Commercial Skarn (LCS) at Kennecott. Underground mining within LCS started in February 2023 and is expected to deliver a total of around 30,000 tonnes of additional mined copper through the period to 2028.

These two investments will support Kennecott in building a world-class underground mine which will leverage battery-electric vehicle (BEV) technology, following a trial with Sandvik equipment in 2022 involving an LH518B loader and Z50 truck.

The first LH518iB loader in North America has just been delivered to site, with the automation-capable vehicle equipped with Sandvik’s patented self-swapping battery system, including the AutoSwap and AutoConnect functions, to minimise infrastructure needs and enable the loader to return to operation significantly sooner than ‘fast-charge’ mining BEVs, Sandvik claims.

Since launching the vehicle in March 2023, Sandvik has confirmed orders or made deliveries of the LH518iB to operations owned by LKAB, Boliden,Torex Gold, Foran Mining, Rana Gruber and Byrnecut.

Rio Tinto will complement these machines with a fleet of Sandvik TH550Bs, some of which are already operating on site. This 50-t payload truck combine Sandvik’s 50 years of experience in developing loaders and trucks with Artisan™’s innovative electric drivelines and battery packs. The electric drivetrain delivers 560 kW of power and 6,000 Nm of total torque output, allowing for higher ramp speeds for shorter cycle times and an efficient ore moving process, according to the OEM. All of this comes with zero emissions.

They also come with AutoSwap and AutoConnect functions that Sandvik has refined for battery swap processes that take only a few minutes.

Rio Tinto has previously stated on battery-electric vehicle use: “BEVs create a safer and healthier workplace for employees underground, increase the productivity of the mine and reduce emissions from operations.”

Boliden to implement Hypex Bio climate-friendly explosives at Kankberg mine

Boliden says it has become the first mining operator to sign an agreement for the production and delivery of a newly developed explosive from Hypex Bio with significantly improved environmental and climate performance.

In the process, the company’s need for nitrogen treatment of water is being reduced and its climate performance is improving by around 400 t of CO2 per year, it says.

Peter Bergman, General Manager of the Boliden Area, said: “For us, it is important to be part of technology development in many areas and, when it is successful, we also want to be early with implementation. Together with the electrification of transport and other machines, this means another important step towards being able to conduct mining operations that are, in principle, fossil-free.”

The agreement with the Swedish explosives supplier Hypex Bio is for the production and delivery of nitrate-free and environmentally friendly explosives to Kankbergsgruvan, Boliden. Boliden and Hypex will cooperate on the production and delivery of nitrate-free and environmentally friendly explosives to the Kankberg mine, which includes the establishment of a production facility at the mine as well as a delivery and service agreement.

The supply and service agreement for Hypex’s explosives solution spans five years, starting in 2024. The production quantity is expected to amount to 400-450 t and, thus, largely meet the Kankberg mine’s annual needs. In addition to the fact that the explosive drastically reduces the need for nitrogen treatment of water, the climate impact is reduced by approximately 400 t of CO2 per year (Scope 3), Boliden added.

The collaboration between Hypex Bio and Boliden has been ongoing since 2020, where the nitrate-free explosive has been developed and tested in the Kankberg mine. The technology has proven to meet Boliden’s requirements for safety, performance, environment and reduced carbon dioxide emissions. Tests have also been carried out in the Garpenberg mine and are to be started in the Aitik copper mine, the company says.

Back in October, Omnia Holdings announced a strategic partnership with Hypex Bio and the acquisition of a minority equity stake in the company.

Sandvik looks to shape the surface drilling electrification conversation

“We are showing what technology can do today.”

These were the words Mats Eriksson, President of Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, during the Capital Markets Day in Tampere, Finland, last week when describing the launch of Sandvik’s latest battery-electric concept surface drill rig.

This rig is representative of more than just technological advances in the mining industry, also acting as a tangible example of Sandvik’s efforts to become a leader in the surface drilling space.

It has been four years since Sandvik announced this ambition, with the company having made significant headway on achieving this goal.

Sandvik doubled its order intake for rotary drills from 2019 to 2022. Over this three-year period, the company launched the Leopard™ DI650i down-the-hole (DTH) drill rig to support fully autonomous drilling operations and went on to capture major autonomous drilling contracts in Latin America, Australia and Finland.

The OEM is looking to at least double its surface mining revenue from 2022 to 2028. Key contracts in 2023 from Boliden and MACA have already provided early positive momentum towards such a goal.

There is potential for Sandvik to steal a march on its competitors in this space – companies who have already been able to automate the largest blasthole drills in key markets in the Americas and Australia – by leveraging the electrification expertise it has built up underground.

This was highlighted by Eriksson last week and was reiterated further when IM spoke to the company’s experts in Tampere in front of the second battery-electric surface concept rig.

The concept vehicle is the first in its size class, capable of drilling DTH holes up to 229 mm in diameter and blending the autonomy of battery with the continuous endurance of power cable, Sandvik says.

Dan Gleeson, IM Editor (centre), with Petri Virrankoski, President of the Surface Drilling Division (left), and Lauri Laihanen, Vice President, R&D of the Surface Drilling Division (right)

Flexibility and optionality are the name of the game, with the rig equipped with a battery able to carry out seven hours of tramming or one hour of drilling based on Sandvik research, plus plug into electrical infrastructure with a  37-mm diameter, 180-m-long tethered cable.

Lauri Laihanen, Vice President, R&D, Surface Drilling Division, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, told IM at the Sandvik Capital Markets Day event last week: “The main benefit of this battery-electric solution is the ability to tram independently for up to seven hours.

“When you need to move the rig after drilling a certain portion of the pit ahead of blasting, you can disconnect the cable and tram the rig away from the pit independently without worrying about managing the cable logistics. Then, when you have carried out the blasting and explosives loading process and are ready for the next drilling sequence, you can tram back without recharging in between.”

Petri Virrankoski, President of the Surface Drilling Division, added: “The application where these drills are used is somewhat different to rotary drills. To a degree, they are used in production drilling, but in a very dynamic way – carrying out pre-splits or blasthole patterns on smaller benches, for example.

“They need to manoeuvre around more, so there are more demands placed on them from a flexibility and cable management perspective.”

There are other potential benefits Laihanen talks up – the ability to carry on drilling or tramming during “black outs” and, on mine sites where cable-electric equipment is already used, connect the rig to the grid after diesel-electric blasthole drills and cable shovels have started up (to avoid power surges).

“For some of our frontrunner customers that have already adopted electrification on surface and have the infrastructure in place, they would only need to add one transformer to lower the voltage level from what their larger pieces of equipment are working off to start using this rig for drilling and tramming,” he added.

This type of talk – more practical than conceptual – is representative of Sandvik ‘making the shift’ when it comes to electrification in surface mining.

It has only been just over a year since the company unveiled its first electric concept rig, based off a much smaller top hammer drill rig meant for urban construction, but the understanding of what it may take to electrify these large rigs has grown tremendously.

“From a technology development and demonstration point of view, it is crucial to understand the framework that you have from the lower and upper end of the drilling portfolio,” Laihanen said. “This helps you track it with the customer base and finalise your productisation plan to hit that 2030 goal of having an electrified offering for the whole range.”

Eriksson says the company is confident in being able to offer electric surface drilling products across its range by 2030, with Sandvik’s continued advances in underground mine electrification spurring this on.

It is worth, therefore, noting some of the numbers that came out of the Capital Markets Day from the underground load and haul division.

Brian Huff, Vice President of New Technologies for the Load and Haul Division within Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, said the company had won more than 75% of the tenders it had been involved in from January-October this year, with more than 15% of the company’s load and haul order intake over this period representing battery-electric equipment.

One can also add sales of the company’s underground battery-electric drills, which started to be offered to the market from 2016, to these numbers.

The company’s Test Mine in Tampere, which IM visited last week, has played a key role in this growing Sandvik underground battery-electric population, and the recent announcement that Sandvik will look to replicate this on surface with the Sandvik Test Pit – some 40 km away – is another indicator of how serious the company is about becoming an open-pit drilling major.

Virrankoski explained: “If you look at the peak capabilities that have enabled us the successes underground, one of these is the Test Mine. This has been helpful for testing and developing not only the drill rigs, but also tooling, digital tools, automation, rock drills, etc.

“It became pretty clear about four years ago that we needed a similar capability for surface.”

This location just outside of Tampere was chosen due to the “good rock” availability, the ability to offer significant scale where the company could test out all boom and rotary drill rigs up to the DR413 class at the same time as providing customer showcases both on electrification and automation, the ability to cross-fertilise underground learnings from the existing Test Mine with surface drilling developments, and the continued development of existing and new Sandvik surface mining engineers.

The Sandvik Test Pit, which has previously served as a quarry, will be developed by its own drilling plan

The company already has multiple rigs, both boom and rotary, at the site – which is still being setup for testing – with the new electric concept rig expected to soon join it.

“The next action after that is to begin customer trials next year,” Laihanen said. “We have had preliminary discussions with several customers, but we need to finalise our own internal development testing before locking in these trials.”

This is indicative of the emphasis the company is placing on surface mining and the opportunity it has to shape the battery-electric conversation in the surface drilling space.

“For us, it is important to have a physical specimen to have these conversations with customers,” Laihanen said. “When you have something available, it makes the conversation around capabilities and limitations a lot easier, taking these discussions to a whole new level.”

Virrankoski added: “This will lead to a conversation around maintenance processes, the skills requirements, the service models, etc.

“Having a machine that can play in a real-life sandbox is very different to showing a model on a screen.”

Sandvik has laid its surface drilling marker down. The market will now decide if this is the direction it wants to move in.

Boliden introduces ‘sustainable’ game-changer: Low-Carbon Sulphuric Acid

Sweden-based Boliden has taken what it says is a significant step toward a greener future with the launch of Low-Carbon Sulphuric Acid.

The new product increases Boliden’s collection of low-carbon offerings, joining the likes of Low-Carbon Zinc, Recycled Zinc, Low-Carbon Copper and Recycled Copper within the Green Transition Metals portfolio.

Sven Hjelmstedt, Director Sales at Boliden, says: “Our long-term work with sustainability empowers Boliden and our clients to create products with significantly lower carbon footprints. We support our clients’ sustainability goals and support them in reducing their Scope 3 emissions, contributing to an improved environmental performance for their industries.”

Low-Carbon Sulphuric Acid showcases Boliden’s strong commitment to sustainability, the company says. It has a minimal carbon footprint, measuring less than 25 kg of CO2 per tonne – well below the EU average.

What sets Boliden apart is that the company produces sulphuric acid from the same raw materials used to produce metals using a green energy mix, making it highly resource and CO₂ efficient, compared with the majority of global sulphuric acid production, which mainly relies on raw materials from oil refining.

Hjelmstedt added: “For clients, the benefits are twofold. Low-Carbon Sulphuric Acid helps reduce their carbon footprints while providing a sustainable product independent of fossil fuels. This is particularly valuable for industries reliant on sulphuric acid such as the global fertiliser and wood-based product industries.”

Boliden looks to strengthen biodiversity ties with Sarkanenä Sustainability Park near Aitik

In order to strengthen biodiversity and create accessible nature experiences for the public, Boliden has today inaugurated the Sarkanenä Sustainability Park close to its Aitik mine in Sweden.

The company’s aim is for additional sustainability parks to be introduced in connection with active or decommissioned sites, it says.

Åsa Jackson, Executive Vice President People and Sustainability at Boliden, said: “Mines inevitably have an impact on the environment and the local community in which mining takes place. However, by restoring the land or setting aside other land and initiating efforts to promote biodiversity, we can strengthen the overall natural values and contribute to long-term solutions for both ourselves and others.”

Boliden’s sustainability parks are areas within our land holdings consisting of forest land, decommissioned sites or land adjacent to active sites that can be opened to the public. The sustainability parks reflect the conditions at the site in question and will demonstrate the site’s history and Boliden’s association with it, historically, today and in the future, the company said.

A meeting place protected from weather will be available at all parks, along with nature experiences in the form of trails, playful elements, activities and more to learn about biodiversity. The information provided is also based on ecological, economic, socio-cultural and legal aspects, such as the natural values associated with the site and how these can be recreated and strengthened.

Sarkanenä Sustainability Park is located about 10 km south of Gällivare along the road to Nattavaara and includes, in addition to other features, a circa-2 km hiking trail with an experience trail.

Volvo and Boliden partner on autonomous transport and load solutions

Volvo Autonomous Solutions (VAS) and Boliden have entered into a long-term collaboration that will see the pair take on various projects, the first of which will be the implementation of an autonomous transport and load solution for a dam project in Garpenberg, Sweden.

The MoU also includes an agreement by VAS to deliver an autonomous transport solution that will move rock fill from an on-site quarry.

As a part of the implementation, VAS will deliver a complete autonomous transport solution that includes vehicles, hardware, software, control room, repair and maintenance, and training. The solution will be based on the OEM’s in-house developed virtual driver and the Volvo Trucks’ premium truck range.

To prepare the site for the implementation of autonomous trucks, Boliden will adapt its operations and build the necessary infrastructure.

Nils Jaeger, President of Volvo Autonomous Solutions, said: “Whether it is removing people from hazardous environments, 24/7 operations unencumbered by working hours or reducing emissions through better utilisation of resources and assets – autonomy offers several benefits that can help the mining and quarrying industries address its most pressing challenges. We are excited to partner with Boliden and support their journey towards a future where autonomous vehicles and humans work side by side to make Boliden’s operations safer, more efficient and sustainable.”

Mikael Staffas, President and CEO of Boliden, said: “Autonomous solutions benefit both safety and productivity. The partnership with VAS is therefore of great strategic importance and we are of course delighted with the project in Garpenberg already underway. Demand for base metals will increase going forward and sustainable as well as competitive solutions will be key in the value creation of mining.”

Think & Act Differently Cohort set to revolutionise in-situ recovery

The Think & Act Differently (TAD) incubator, powered by BHP, has announced its support for a new cohort that has come together to develop an innovative technology roadmap for in-situ and alternative extraction options, the company says, lower the impact of mining and processing.

In collaboration with its partner, Unearthed, the TAD Cohort was curated through a venture-style selection process, which also involved selection of members from the TAD Ecosystem.

This cohort is supported and funded by BHP, Boliden, Rio Tinto, South32 and IGO, as part of the TAD Collaboration that is commited to unlocking new technologies and reimagining lower impact mining and processing to find value in overlooked resources.

The TAD Cohort comprises a diverse group of companies ready to apply new ways of thinking to in-situ recovery. It includes:

  • Auric BioRecovery: using bio recovery processes to release metal from tailings;
  • Clean & Recover: ElectroClear recovery of water from acid mine drainage;
  • Destiny Copper: Using high activation potential and chemistry to eliminate electricity requirements for plating copper;
  • Draslovka: A ‘green’ recyclable lixiviant, selective in leaching base and precious metals from host minerals (pictured in a test lab above);
  • Eden GeoPower: Rock preconditioning technology to enable in-situ solution mining;
  • Ekion: Enabling the in-situ extraction of metals using electrokinetics;
  • EnviroGold Global: Clean-technology process for metal recovery from sulphide mine tailings and smelter residues; metal recovery includes strategic, critical, base and precious metals;
  • LeadFX: Metal recovery with CO2 capture;
  • Loop Hydrometallurgy: Clean technology unlocking copper, rare earth elements and other metals from tailings and concentrates;
  • Muon Vision: Cosmic ray sensing for tailings and heap leach monitoring; and
  • Precision Periodic: Enabling industrial scale chromatography using novel filtration media to recover and concentrate elements in mining applications and treatment of wastewater.