Tag Archives: Helena Hedblom

Epiroc to acquire electrical infrastructure specialist JTMEC

Epiroc says it has agreed to acquire JTMEC, an Australia-based company specialising in providing mines with electrical infrastructure, which supports the industry’s transition to battery electrification.

JTMEC, based in Perth, is involved in both underground and surface mines, with an offering that includes high voltage installation and maintenance work, transformer servicing and testing, engineering design, feasibility studies and training. It also manufactures electrical products including substations and mine chargers.

JTMEC has 190 employees and had revenues in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021, of about A$34 million ($24 million).

“Battery electrification represents the future in the mining industry, and the strong team at JTMEC is playing an important role in enabling this vital transformation,” Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s President and CEO, said. “This acquisition will further strengthen our ability to support mining customers on their electrification journey toward less emissions, improved work conditions and higher productivity. JTMEC is also a strong complement to Meglab, which we acquired in 2021.”

The acquisition is expected to be completed in the June quarter 2022, with the transaction not subject to a disclosure obligation pursuant to the EU Market Abuse Regulation.

Assmang orders battery-electric mining equipment for Black Rock manganese mine

Epiroc says a large fleet of battery-electric mining equipment will be deployed at Assmang Proprietary Ltd’s Black Rock underground manganese mine in the Northern Cape of South Africa after the two companies signed an agreement.

Assmang has ordered several of Epiroc’s battery loaders and mine trucks – the Scooptram ST14 Battery and Minetruck MT42 Battery, respectively – for the deployment. The order was booked in the March quarter of 2022 and is valued at SEK120 million ($12.5 million).

The order extends Assmang’s and Epiroc’s collaboration to use state-of-the-art solutions for optimised operations at the mine, Epiroc said. Assmang has previously ordered the same type of battery-electric machines for this mine, and, in 2019,  selected Epiroc’s Mobilaris Mining Intelligence digital solution, which provides superior situational awareness of the mining operation in real-time

“Epiroc is proud to support Assmang on its journey toward lower emissions through the use of our cutting-edge battery-electric machines, while also prioritising productivity and safety,” Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s President and CEO, said.

The Scooptram ST14 Battery and Minetruck MT42 Battery machines, manufactured in Örebro, Sweden, are built to face the toughest conditions and are packed with intelligent features, according to Epiroc. They will be equipped with a Collision Avoidance System as well as with the telematics system, Certiq, which allows for automated monitoring of productivity and machine performance.

Epiroc captures battery-electric, automation order from Odyssey Mine owners

Epiroc has won a major battery-electric and autonomous fleet order from the owners of the Odyssey Mine in Malartic, Québec, Canada.

The order, from the Canadian Malartic Partnership, will be used in the new underground gold mine.

The Canadian Malartic Partnership, a 50:50 JV between Yamana Gold Inc and Agnico Eagle Ltd, is constructing the Odyssey Mine, which will become one of Canada’s largest gold mines when it is fully ramped up later this decade.

The ordered equipment includes a variety of drill rigs, loaders and mine trucks, with some of the machines will be battery powered. Automation features include Minetruck Automation and Scooptram Automation, which are part of Epiroc’s 6th Sense portfolio of digital solutions. By combining these solutions with Epiroc’s Traffic Management System, material handling is optimised within the mine, bringing benefits such as virtually eliminating the risk of collisions, Epiroc said.

Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s President and CEO, said: “The Canadian Malartic Partnership is taking a massive next step with the new underground mine where our battery-electric and other advanced machines with state-of-the-art automation and traffic management solutions will help optimise safety and productivity. Epiroc and the Canadian Malartic Partnership have a history of successful cooperation, and we look forward to continue contributing to their success.”

The equipment order also includes education and training using sophisticated simulators, which was flagged by IM earlier this year.

This is the second equipment order from the Canadian Malartic Partnership. Epiroc also won a large order for drill rigs, loaders, and mine trucks in the September quarter of 2021.

The Odyssey Mine is located just west of the Canadian Malartic Partnership’s open-pit gold mine, which is still in operation, and to which Epiroc in previous years has provided Pit Viper surface drill rigs.

Odyssey is expected to feature an LTE mobile communication network, an automated fleet of 60 t trucks operated from the surface and on-demand ventilation, the Canadian Malartic Partnership has previously stated. All all of the major production fleet, including trucks, drills and LHDs, are also expected to be battery electric.

The Odyssey Mine will be accessed by a ramp and a shaft estimated to be 1,800 m deep. Plans are to extract 19,000 t of ore at an estimated grade of about 2.75 g/t gold and roughly 5,000 t/d of waste rock during peak operations.

Patrick Mercier, General Manager of the Odyssey Mine, said: “Over the years, Epiroc has clearly demonstrated its willingness to be a leader in the technical evolution of mining equipment, whether in electrification or automation. Obviously, this transition will not happen by itself. We are privileged that Epiroc has proposed us a collaborative approach in order to effectively integrate their equipment into the Odyssey Mine and actively participate in this evolution. The benefits from this collaboration will contribute to making mines even safer and jobs more accessible in the field.”

The equipment ordered during the March quarter includes battery-electric versions of the Boltec (an M10 Boltec, pictured) rock reinforcement drill rig, Simba production drill rig and Boomer face drilling rig (jumbo). It also includes an Easer raise boring rig, Scooptram loaders, and Minetruck haulers. The machines will be equipped with Epiroc’s telematics system Certiq, which allows for intelligent monitoring of machine performance and productivity in real time. Epiroc will also provide service and spare parts, as well as expertise on electrification solutions.

Epiroc, SSAB to partner on fossil-free steel use in mining equipment

Epiroc says it is starting a partnership with steelmaker SSAB to secure fossil-free steel for use in the production of Epiroc’s mining equipment.

SSAB aims to deliver fossil-free steel to the market in commercial scale during 2026, and delivered the first steel made of hydrogen-reduced iron in 2021. It is working with iron ore producer LKAB and energy company Vattenfall as part of the HYBRIT initiative to develop a value chain for fossil-free iron and steel production, replacing coking coal traditionally needed for iron ore-based steelmaking, with fossil-free electricity and hydrogen. This process virtually eliminates carbon dioxide-emissions in steel production, according to the HYBRIT partners.

Epiroc will initially use fossil-free steel for material for a prototype underground machine produced at its facility in Örebro, Sweden, and the plan is to increase the usage of fossil-free steel over time.

“Sustainability is integrated in everything we do, and we are committed to halving our CO2e emissions by 2030,” Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s President and CEO, says. “This exciting partnership with SSAB will support us and our customers on the journey to reach our very ambitious climate goals. It is clear that our innovation agenda goes hand-in-hand with our customers’ sustainability agenda.”

Martin Lindqvist, SSAB’s President and CEO, said: “We are very happy to welcome Epiroc in our partner group and look forward to the fossil-free steel collaboration.It’s a natural next step in our joint efforts to mitigate climate change. Demand for fossil-free steel is increasing, which is one of the reasons for SSAB to bring forward its green transition with the ambition to largely eliminate carbon dioxide emissions around 2030.”

In the shift to a low-carbon economy, development of new technologies like this is crucial for making the transition possible, Epiroc says. The partnership with SSAB fits well with Epiroc’s ambitious sustainability goals for 2030, including halving its CO2e emissions.

In 2021, Epiroc received validation from the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) for its targets to reduce emissions in own operations as well as when customers use the sold products. The SBTi validated Epiroc’s climate targets as being in line with keeping global warming at a maximum 1.5°C, consistent with the latest climate science and the goal of the Paris Climate Agreement. In addition, Epiroc’s 2030 sustainability goals include halving its CO2e emissions in transport as well as from relevant suppliers, having 90% renewable energy in own operations, and offering a full range of emissions-free products.

Last year, Volvo Group revealed what it said was the world’s first vehicle made of fossil-free steel from SSAB, plus announced that more vehicles will follow in 2022 in what will be a series of concept vehicles and components using the material.

Epiroc consolidates ownership in Mobilaris MCE, incorporates solutions into 6th Sense

Epiroc has acquired the remaining share of Mobilaris MCE AB, with the Luleå-based company now 100% owned by the OEM.

Mobilaris Mining and Civil Engineering (MCE) is a leading supplier of solutions that use data from personnel and machines to present real-time positioning and detailed status information in a sophisticated 3D user interface. The solution creates significant benefits for mining and civil engineering including shortening evacuation times, optimising traffic flow, improving work conditions and reducing emissions, the company said.

Epiroc previously owned 34% of Mobilaris MCE and now owns 100%. Mobilaris MCE, which was a subsidiary of Mobilaris AB, has about 50 employees and had revenues of about SEK60 million ($7 million) in 2020.

“Epiroc and the innovative team at Mobilaris MCE are already working closely together to provide situational awareness that boosts customers’ personnel safety and operational productivity,” Epiroc President and CEO, Helena Hedblom, said. “We will now incorporate their solutions fully in our comprehensive offering of 6th Sense digital solutions.”

Epiroc’s battery conversion offering comes to life with Evolution Mining Red Lake order

Epiroc is now offering customers conversion kits that, it says, “seamlessly transform” loaders from diesel-powered to battery-electric driven means, with the company having secured its first order for the solution from Evolution Mining’s Red Lake gold operations in Canada.

The new offering will speed up the mining industry’s shift to an emissions-free future, Epiroc said.

Battery conversions are already underway in Canada, with Epiroc’s Scooptram ST1030 loader being the first vehicle to undergo the transformation. Evolution Mining, earlier this year, ordered the conversion of two diesel-powered Scooptram ST1030 machines for use at Red Lake, in Ontario. In addition, it also ordered two new Scooptram ST14 Battery loaders and one Minetruck MT42 Battery to add to the fleet at Red Lake.

The company has been helped in this electrification pursuit by Ontario-based FVT Research, a Canada-based company with expertise in converting diesel-powered mining machines to battery-electric vehicles. Epiroc announced plans in September to acquire the company.

Kits to convert the Scooptram ST1030, one of Epiroc’s most popular loaders, are now available to order through most of Epiroc’s Customer Centers worldwide, the OEM said. Conversion kits for other machines will follow, including for the Scooptram ST14 loader, which is already being tested as a converted version.

Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s President and CEO, said: “Converting existing diesel machines to battery electric will be a smart and cost-efficient alternative for mining companies that want to electrify their operations. It will be an important part as we together continue the drive toward emissions-free operations.”

The conversion involves removing the diesel engine, adding the battery and changing to an electric drive line. The end result is the same or higher performance level as diesel machines with all the added benefits of battery technology, which includes zero emissions and a healthier underground environment for operators, Epiroc said.

Epiroc’s service organisation will offer a quick turnaround time for the conversion, which is included in a midlife rebuild and puts machines back on site ready for heightened performance without unnecessary disruptions to production, it added.

Epiroc confirms mining market growth, automation uptick in Q3 results

The trend of equipment automation is no longer confined to certain regions or sectors; it is a global phenomenon. That is the impression Epiroc has provided in the last few months, as well as in its September quarter results, the latter of which was released today.

Having reported a swelling order book for this quarter – including record orders received of SEK12.2 billion ($1.4 billion) and a 29% year-on-year improvement in operating profit to SEK2.4 billion – the company’s fortunes continue to be representative of a wider uptick in the mining industry.

This was characterised by several large orders in the three-month period, five of which were valued at more than SEK100 million.

The variety of these orders – representing greenfield and brownfield operations – was interesting, reinforcing the idea that the equipment and service sales were attributed to growing – as opposed to sustaining – production levels from the industry.

What was also worth pointing out was the increased levels of automation that came with these bookings.

IAMGOLD’s order for six Epiroc Pit Viper 231 blasthole drill rigs for its Côté Gold operation in Ontario, Canada, included plans to use them in a “fully autonomous” mode; one of the Boltec machines being supplied to LKAB’s underground mines in Sweden will be equipped with a new automated pumpable resin system; and some of the drill rigs ordered by Eti Bakir in Turkey and Dazhong Mining Co Ltd in China will come fitted with Epiroc’s Rig Control System, which makes them ready for automation and remote control.

“We see that there are high levels of interest for automation,” Helena Hedblom, Epiroc President and CEO, told IM shortly after the results were released. “Depending on the site, there is always a consideration around automation.

“These are step-by-step developments, though.”

This is likely to mean some companies progress to the highest levels of automation, while others reap the benefits from tele-remote operation.

In addition to the productivity and safety benefits that companies are receiving from this operating transition, there is also a sustainability advantage, according to Hedblom.

Diesel-powered machines with automated elements are being fitted with more energy efficient components and are burning less diesel through optimised operation of equipment.

Ahead of a full on move to battery-electric machines – which are not yet automated – these benefits are important for an industry looking to decarbonise.

“Energy efficiency has always been a priority in our R&D investments,” Hedblom said on an analyst call on the same day. “We’re working on that with our diesel machines too.

“That is the fastest way we can have an impact on CO2 emissions for the industry.”

By continuing to work on the base machines – improving their efficiency as much as possible – the company is ensuring each new machine has a positive impact.

And, of course, the company is now offering an electrification roadmap to miners with existing diesel-powered fleets.

This is where the recently announced acquisition of Canada-based FVT Research is relevant.

“We see this transaction as a strategic move to transform the sector,” Hedblom told IM.

FVT played an integral role in a recent project to convert a diesel-powered Epiroc Scooptram ST1030 loader to battery-electric mode, and Hedblom sees the company helping create a much larger battery-electric rebuild program.

It also slots nicely into the company’s wider electrification plans, as Hedblom outlined on the analyst call.

“We can then take on a project, do the electrical mine infrastructure with the Meglab capabilities, we can convert some of the machines (FVT Research) and, at the same time, add new machines and then bundle it with Batteries as a Service,” she said.

Also of note in the results was the continued growth of Epiroc’s aftermarket business. In the three-month period, it represented 72% of revenues, up from 69% in the same quarter a year ago. For service, orders received increased 21% to SEK4.8 billion, corresponding to 13% organic growth.

Hedblom mentioned the company has continued to gain market share in this area, as it focused on keeping machines out in the field up and running.

Increased connectivity to these machines has helped support this, with the number of units delivered with connectivity increasing by more than 30% year-on-year, according to Hedblom.

More details of this development are likely to follow in the company’s December 1 Capital Markets Day, but Hedblom said this increased connectivity was underlining product performance, providing optimisation opportunities and showing potential market prospects.

LKAB to boost remote drilling operations with new Epiroc Boomer, Boltec and Simba rigs

Epiroc says it has won a large order for a variety of underground mining equipment including Boomer face drilling rigs, Boltec rock reinforcement rigs and a Simba production drilling rig from LKAB in Sweden.

LKAB, Europe’s largest iron ore producer, is set to use the rigs at its Malmberget and Kiruna underground iron ore mines in northern Sweden. The order is valued at SEK105 million ($12.2 million) and was booked in the third (September) quarter of 2021.

“Epiroc and LKAB have a long history together as partners around innovative technologies, always aimed at optimising operations in the most productive and sustainable way,” Epiroc’s President and CEO, Helena Hedblom, said.

The machines include many advanced automation features, according to Epiroc.

For example, the Simba production drill rig will be operated remotely from a control room in the Kiruna mine. This rig adds to LKAB’s existing fleet of six Simba production drill rigs that are remotely controlled from the control room and two that are remotely controlled in the mine environment.

One of the Boltec machines (an example pictured) will also be equipped with a new automated pumpable resin system, a key component in Epiroc’s automated bolting development. All the machines come with Epiroc’s telematics system Certiq, which allows for intelligent monitoring of machine performance and productivity in real-time.

Epiroc to provide IAMGOLD’s Côté mine with autonomous blasthole drills

Epiroc says it has won a large order for surface mining equipment from IAMGOLD Corp in Canada that will optimise safety and productivity through advanced automation at its greenfield Côté Gold operation in Ontario.

The order includes several Pit Viper 231 and SmartROC D65 drill rigs for the open-pit gold development, which is currently under construction and expected to start production in the second half of 2023. The Pit Vipers will be fully autonomous, while the SmartROC D65 rigs are prepared for remote operation.

The order is valued at approximately SEK130 million ($15.1 million) and was booked in the September quarter of 2021.

“IAMGOLD, a returning Epiroc customer, is taking safety, sustainability and productivity extremely seriously,” Epiroc’s President and CEO, Helena Hedblom, said. “As IAMGOLD is preparing a new exciting mine project, we are proud to contribute to their success with our advanced machines and solutions for autonomous operation.”

IAMGOLD has previously employed different levels of autonomous drilling at its other operations using Epiroc Pit Vipers. It launched the first automated drill rig in West Africa with assistance from Epiroc back in February 2020 at its 90%-owned Essakane mine in Burkina Faso. This followed a series of automation steps carried out on the company’s fleet of Epiroc PV235 blasthole drills, beginning with the ‘Operator Assist’ phase back in 2016.

The Pit Viper 231 and SmartROC D65 surface drill rigs are built to face the toughest conditions while optimising productivity, safety and fuel efficiency, according to Epiroc. Advanced features include Epiroc’s telematics system, Certiq, which allows for automated and intelligent monitoring of productivity and machine performance.

Epiroc to supply Turkey’s largest mining company with drills, loaders and trucks

Epiroc says it has won a large order for mining equipment from Eti Bakir in Turkey, which includes a variety of drill rigs, trucks and loaders.

The machines will be used to expand three underground copper mines – Kastamonu Küre, Artvin Murgul and Siirt Madenköywhile – making the operations as productive and safe as possible, the OEM says.

The equipment order is valued at approximately SEK140 million ($16 million) and was booked in the September quarter of 2021. In addition to the equipment, the customer has also ordered service, spare parts and consumables.

Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s President and CEO, said: “Epiroc has a long-standing, strong partnership with Eti Bakir, and we are happy to play a key role as the company expands its operations while focusing on safety and productivity.”

“We are proud that 42 t underground trucks with ejector box in copper mines will be used for the first time in Turkey,” Gokhan Zengin, Eti Bakır Machine Manager, said. “Our cooperation with Epiroc has a long history; we also have a component agreement since six years and we started using Epiroc MD20 rock drills for underground operation development as of last year.”

The machines ordered include Boomer face drilling rigs, Simba production drilling rigs, Boltec rock reinforcement rigs, Scooptram loaders and Minetruck haul trucks. Most of the units will be equipped with Epiroc’s telematics system Certiq, which allows for intelligent monitoring of machine performance and productivity in real time, and some of the machines will have Epiroc’s Rig Control System, RCS, installed, which makes them ready for automation and remote control.