Tag Archives: Dave Taylor

Byrnecut rolls out first Sandvik battery-powered jumbo in South Australia

Contract miner Byrnecut has taken the next step on its journey towards expanding its battery-electric equipment fleet with the roll-out of the Sandvik DD422iE development drill with dual controls at the BHP-owned Prominent Hill mine in South Australia.

The drill is the first battery-electric Sandvik development drill in operation in Australia.

Byrnecut took delivery of the battery electric jumbo at Prominent Hill copper mine in December 2023. The machine was put to work alongside Byrnecut’s existing fleet of diesel-powered equipment, including Sandvik development drills, production drills, cable bolters, trucks and loaders. Five months on, drill operators and Byrnecut management alike are impressed by the jumbo’s reliability and its contribution to a cleaner, quieter underground environment, Sandvik reports.

Technical Services Manager at Byrnecut, Dave Taylor, said th Sandvik DD422iE jumbo has “fitted in exactly” as a diesel-powered drill would have, working as it is designed to.

“It’s got all the pros that you would expect, just without all the fumes that come out of the diesel engine,” he added. “We always want to be at the forefront of technology and to look for ways to reduce emissions and diesel particulates – and this is one way of doing that.”

Taylor says the roll-out was simplified, as the Sandvik DD422iE charges by using the same electrical infrastructure used to power the rock drills on the diesel-powered jumbos. “The jumbos we currently have use their diesel engines to tram around but are plugged in and the rock drills run off thousand-volt power via a trailing cable,” he says. “There’s was no additional infrastructure because the DD422iE is charging using what’s already there in the diesel version.”

In a typical scenario, the Sandvik battery-electric jumbo will tram to the work site using electricity stored in its battery. While drilling is underway, the battery is recharged via the patented Sandvik Charging While Drilling technology, allowing the machine to tram away once the drilling cycle is completed.

General Manager for Byrnecut Australia, Craig Barendrecht, says the feedback he has received on the drill is positive despite some initial reservations. “It’s fitted in seamlessly and we’ve had no dramas with operating a battery drill amongst the standard diesel fleet.”

Barendrecht says with Byrnecut planning to increase their battery-electric equipment fleet, the performance of the jumbo is encouraging. “We’ve never previously seen a massive market for the battery jumbo because of the restrictions around tramming distances,” he says. “This is helping to dispel some of those preconceived concerns with how to actually fit an electric jumbo in amongst the traditional diesel fleet.

“This is just an incremental step in getting to that ultimate point where we run a full electric fleet of drills and loaders and trucks.”

Maintenance Superintendent, Mark Noden, says there was an initial learning curve around maintenance requirements for the battery electric rig. However, from an operator perspective it is simple to step from the diesel model to the electric. “I have had no complaints and the support from Sandvik is always good,” he says.

Nathan Cunningham, Business Line Manager for Underground Drills at Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, says Byrnecut has consistently demonstrated that it is a forward-thinking mining business, and the purchase of the Sandvik DD422iE reinforces this. “Byrnecut’s trust in the Sandvik product has paid off with the rig operating exactly as it was expected to.”