Tag Archives: Helena Hedblom

Epiroc to acquire Meglab as part of battery-electric mining equipment push

Epiroc has agreed to acquire Meglab, a Canada-based company with expertise in providing electrification infrastructure solutions to mines, as it looks to further support mining customers in their transition to battery-electric vehicles.

Meglab, based in Val-D’Or, Quebec, Canada, is a technology integrator that designs, manufactures, installs and supports practical and cost-effective electrification and telecommunications infrastructure solutions to customers in several countries. Its products and solutions include system design, substations, switchgears and automation system solutions, enabling the infrastructure needed for mine electrification and equipment charging solutions, as well as for digitalisation and automation of operations, Epiroc says. It has more than 240 employees and had revenues in 2020 of about C$49 million ($39 million).

Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s President and CEO, said: “Epiroc is proud to be the leader in providing battery-electric vehicles for the mining industry, improving customers’ work environment and lowering their emissions while increasing their productivity. The acquisition of Meglab will strengthen our capacity to provide the infrastructure required as mines transition to battery-electric vehicles.”

The acquisition is expected to be completed in the June quarter, with the purchase price not material relative to Epiroc’s market capitalisation, the mining OEM said. The business will become part of Epiroc’s Parts & Services division and will continue to be based in Canada.

In a separate release, Meglab said the two comapanies collective goal is to develop the mine of the future, with the organisations pooling its respective assets and expertise in pursuit of this target.

“Together, we will position ourselves as the leaders of all-electric and intelligent mines,” it said. “This synergy will provide various growth opportunities worldwide, both for Meglab and for the team members that will collaborate with their co-workers in this new expanded team.”

Epiroc commits to ‘next generation’ of underground mining with new Boomer M20

Epiroc has taken what Niklas Berggren, Global Product Manager for Face Drilling Equipment, says is the next logical development step in underground face drilling design by creating a new Boomer with protected hydraulics, sensors and cables.

The Epiroc Boomer M20 is designed and built to minimise unplanned stops and maximise uptime and performance in highly demanding operations by removing what is thought to be the biggest downtime drain in underground face drilling – the need to stop production for hose changes.

Epiroc explains: “A challenging part of underground work is the everyday wear and tear on hydraulic hoses. Falling rocks and debris, and the continuous wear against the tunnel floor and walls, means constant hose repairs.”

The Boomer M20’s heavy duty hose-less boom design minimises unplanned stops for hose repairs, keeping the rig up and running even in the toughest conditions, the company said.

Developed in close collaboration with key customers, the Boomer M20 is the result of extensive research and real-world testing, according to Berggren.

“This is the perfect choice for mining houses and contractors that want to out-drill the competition through innovation,” he said.

High drilling precision and performance are ensured thanks to on-board automation features, tele-remote capabilities and digital drill plans, which give higher reliability and quality of the full drill cycle, Epiroc claims.

By utilising high performance mine development options, such as Epiroc’s ABC Regular for longer rounds, higher accuracy, reduced overbreak and better quality tunnels, the Boomer M20 allows the operator to adjust and download drill plans directly at the face, eliminating the need for adjustments on the surface, Epiroc says.

“With digital drill plan handling, drill rounds will be longer, more precise and give far less overbreak,” Berggren said. “We have seen total cost savings of up to 25% and up to a 40% productivity increase.”

He added: “This is a very well-functioning option; on the Boomer M20, we have reinforced the technology on the face drilling rig itself so that we can utilise this option better in a harsh mining environment.”

The Boomer M20 is designed with safety at its core.

Through tele-remote capabilities, operators can drill from a safe distance away from hazardous areas at the tunnel face, while also keeping production going over shift changes. Multi-functional joysticks mean operators can always keep their eyes on the task. The cabin, reinforced with noise and vibration dampening materials to keep noise levels as low as 65 db, meanwhile, is designed for optimum visibility.

The safe bolting platform is another great safety feature that avoids operation under unsupported rock.

Such options set the Boomer M20 up to “take the lead for face drilling automation features into the future”, Berggren said.

Epiroc is continuing its charge towards electrification in underground mining with the new Boomer M20, providing a battery-electric driveline option to allow the machine to tram to the drill location on battery power and carry out drilling while plugged into the mine’s electrical infrastructure.

“A battery-powered Boomer M20 brings additional savings on health, maintenance, ventilation and cooling,” Epiroc said.

Berggren added: “With the on-board charger, the operator does not need to plan for charging as it automatically takes place while connected to the grid for drilling. Thanks to the high-capacity battery, the Boomer M20 has a fantastic driving range, and there is nothing to disturb the drift cycle.”

Epiroc President and CEO, Helena Hedblom, who stars in a campaign video for the Boomer M20 that sees the face drill balancing on its booms on a mountain top, said: “The Boomer M20 is another great example of how we make a difference through innovation.”

The Boomer M20 is available for commercial sales in the September quarter of 2021, and will shortly head to a customer site in Australia for tests, followed by trials at customer sites in Spain and Sweden.

Epiroc says it plans to rollout the new internal hydraulics design across the future Boomer range.

Epiroc continues to build equipment order book in Q4

Epiroc continued to register strong demand for its equipment in the December quarter, with the mining OEM’s order intake increasing both in the underground and surface mining segments, the company reported today.

Headline numbers from the December quarter included a 1% year-on-year increase in orders received to SEK9.3 billion ($1.1 billion), a 5% drop in revenues to SEK9.8 billion, a 10% increase in operating profit to SEK2.2 billion and a higher operating margin of 22.6%, compared with 19.6% a year earlier.

In terms of its equipment, Epiroc said orders received increased 26% organically to SEK2.97 billion in the last quarter of 2020.

Speaking to IM shortly after the results were released, Helena Hedblom, Epiroc CEO, explained: “The equipment orders…were across our portfolio, and the good thing is there were not that many large orders in the quarter; it was many small- and medium-sized orders.”

This would imply the strength in equipment demand – which came from both the underground mining and open-pit mining segment – is broad across the industry, coming not just from the major miners.

This pattern was also seen in the September quarter of 2020 when the company recorded a 25% year-on-year organic increase in equipment orders in the period, with the majority of orders coming from small- to medium-sized contracts of, say, one or two pieces of equipment, Hedblom said at the time of the results release.

Looking at the wider equipment and service segment of the business – which provides rock drilling equipment, equipment for mechanical rock excavation, rock reinforcement, loading and haulage, ventilation systems, drilling equipment for exploration, water, oil and gas, as well as related spare parts and service for the mining and infrastructure industries – Epiroc said the share of orders from equipment in this segment was 43% in the December quarter. Service, meanwhile, represented 57% of the orders.

Epiroc said it expected demand, both for equipment and aftermarket, to remain stable in the near term, while cautioning: “Uncertainty, however, still remains regarding the COVID-19 development and any further related restrictions.”

In the results release, Hedblom said automation, digitalisation and electrification solutions were in high demand over the quarter, with the company connecting more and more machines over this time frame.

“We continue to win orders and we are proud of our market-leading solutions that are globally deployed and proven,” she said. “They enable increased productivity, safety and sustainability for our customers.”

When questioned about the planned acquisition of MineRP, announced late in the quarter, Hedblom said the combination of the MineRP platform with its own digital solutions would allow Epiroc to “become a better productivity partner” in a mine’s digital journey.

IM also got Hedblom’s thoughts on if there was a regional difference in the speed of uptake of ‘new technology’ in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak. She said: “I see this technology shift coming in a different light with the pandemic. Sustainability is coming in; digital tools are becoming more and more natural as we need them.

“There is maybe an acceptance that the technology is here to stay, is available and customers want to jump on this journey now. I see it across all regions, which is a bit different to how the mining industry has adopted new technologies in the past.

“We have good traction everywhere now when it comes to new technologies.”

And, on the subject of ‘new technology’ uptake, IM asked Hedblom if she saw any parallels between the evolution of automated equipment adoption in the mining sector – which started with solely new autonomous equipment purchases to improve operations and moved towards a combination of retrofits and new equipment as the technology gained traction – and how companies may look to leverage mine electrification underground.

She answered: “I think it is too early to say yet. If I look into the coming 5-10 years, conversion of existing fleet will be one way to speed up the electrification journey. That is also why we are investing and developing these types of products to allow us to offer retrofits as part of the mid-life rebuild process, for example.”

The company confirmed back in November that its battery-electric retrofit solution for diesel-powered machines is expected to launch in the March quarter of 2021.

Epiroc strengthens digitalisation offering with MineRP acquisition

Epiroc has agreed to acquire MineRP, a software company majority owned by Dundee Precious Metals that specialises in increasing productivity for mines through integrated planning, execution and analytics.

MineRP has offices in South Africa, Canada, Australia and Chile. The company supports large and medium-sized mines globally in strengthening and optimising their operational efficiency by providing a software platform solution that integrates all technical mining data and other information such as machine data and ERP systems. MineRP has about 200 employees and had revenues of about $16 million for the 12 months ending June 30, 2020.

Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s President and CEO, said: “This acquisition fits well into Epiroc’s focus on supporting mining companies on their digitalisation journey. The combination of MineRP’s platform capabilities with Epiroc’s digital solutions, partners and global presence has the potential to transform the way that mines operate.

“MineRP is a high-quality software provider with significant experience of connecting mines from pit to port and, together, we will continue to make mining customers’ operations even more smart, safe and seamless.”

The business will become part of Epiroc’s Digital & Technology division.

While Epiroc did not disclose the acquisition price, in a separate press release Dundee Precious Metals said the consideration for its fully-diluted 70% equity interest in MineRP and the repayment of DPM shareholder loans included:

  • Around $40 million in cash representing the estimated portion payable to DPM on closing of the transaction; and
  • Potential additional payments in the form of an earn-out of up to $28.7 million representing the portion payable to DPM upon the achievement of certain MineRP revenue targets in 2021 and 2022.

The acquisition is expected to be completed, after regulatory approvals, in the first half of 2021.

Epiroc’s battery-electric experience continues to expand as it targets retrofit market

Epiroc has been prepared to electrify the underground mining industry for more than 30 years, so it is no surprise its battery-electric solutions are now firmly taking hold in the sector.

Anders Hedqvist, Vice President of R&D at Epiroc’s Underground division, and Franck Boudreault, Electrification Transformation Lead for Epiroc’s Underground division, made this clear during The Electric Mine Virtual Conference, hosted by International Mining Events, yesterday.

In a presentation titled, ‘From one generation to the next – learnings from zero emission mining’, the pair discussed the evolution of the company’s battery-electric offering. While the company’s first Scooptram ST7 Battery was manufactured in 2013 (then under Atlas Copco), the electrified thinking started decades before this, according to Hedqvist.

“In the 1980s, we had the first [electric] concept available, but the market was not ready then,” he said.

The market is certainly receptive now, according to Boudreault.

“Initially, we had a relatively small market segment for these battery-powered vehicles; now, we’re much more into a global offering,” he said.

This has seen the company deliver battery-electric vehicles to six continents, he said, including North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia.

And, in the process, Epiroc has amassed more than 120,000 operating hours from battery-electric machines that include 7 t, 10 t and 14 t LHDs; 20 t and 42 t trucks; and a range of battery-electric mid-sized drilling equipment including face drilling, production drilling and rock reinforcement rigs. The company also offers a 4 t LHD to the Chinese market, and has plans to test an 18 t battery-electric LHD at the LKAB-led Sustainable Underground Mining (SUM) project, according to Hedqvist.

Looking at these numbers in more detail, it is clear to see the company’s electrification efforts have accelerated.

Back in November 2018 when the company launched its second generation of zero emission equipment, Epiroc said it had more 65,000 hours of battery-electric operations under its belt. It has almost doubled that amount in the space of two years.

This pace is expected to step up again in the future, with Boudreault saying the company is now taking aim at the retrofit market.

“We’re not only satisfied by selling new equipment; we have quite a huge fleet out in the world that has left our factory with a diesel engine,” he said. “What we are doing is creating conversion kits so machines can be converted from diesel to battery power out in the field, meaning we are actually reducing the utilisation of diesel in the mining industry in an active way.”

Helena Hedblom, President and CEO of Epiroc, told IM recently that the company had developed its first battery retrofit kit for a diesel-powered ST1030 LHD.

Boudreault was also keen to point out that Epiroc’s OEM-agnostic message extended to electrification of equipment outside of the company’s current offering.

“We don’t have all of the products that our customers may require, so we are partnering up with other companies that don’t have the strength of developing their own electrical solutions,” he said. “We are basically taking our (electric) solutions and putting them on other OEMs’ machines.”

After Boudreault concluded the presentation with the benefits that came with adopting the company’s battery-electric equipment – an up to 70% reduction in energy consumption and 10% boost in productivity – Hedqvist responded emphatically to a question about the potential for Epiroc’s third-generation machines: “The beauty with electrification is the sky is the limit in terms of what you can do, speaking freely.

“This is not only about batteries, but also about electric drive lines and technical solutions that can enable you to design a machine that is completely different to the design of the original diesel versions.”

As miners look to mineralisation at increasing depths to sustain operations, a major equipment design overhaul from one of the industry’s biggest OEMs could be just what is needed to generate an economic mine plan.

Epiroc surprises with positive Q3 financials and automation, electrification advances

It is fair to say Epiroc’s September quarter results surprised on the upside.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, orders received held up, dropping just 2% to SEK9.37 billion ($1.07 billion) compared with orders in the September quarter of 2019. In fact, on an “organic basis”, orders received were up 10% year-on-year.

At the same time, operating profit remained stable, only decreasing by a little over 5% year-on-year to SEK1.82 billion.

The Epiroc management team took the view that this performance was no exception, issuing a plan to propose a second dividend of SEK1.20/share at the Extraordinary General Meeting on November 27.

Investors viewed these numbers positively: its Stockholm-listed shares closed 8% higher.

While the revenue numbers were dominated by the company’s aftermarket business, which generated 69% of the SEK8.7 billion, it was on the equipment side where some very interesting developments were observed.

The company recorded a 25% year-on-year organic increase in equipment orders in the period, reinforced by a few large orders such as those from Norilsk Nickel. The majority of orders were small- to medium-sized contracts of, say, one or two pieces of equipment, according to Helena Hedblom, President and CEO.

“More customers have taken the decision to invest,” she told IM, adding that this development followed two quarters where mining companies were hesitant to commit.

Within these new orders were several automation agreements, the company said, alongside new battery-electric equipment and digital bookings.

Epiroc has continually committed to advancing technology related to digitalisation, automation and electrification, and it appears the fallout from COVID-19 and the sector’s sustainability drive are strengthening demand for these products.

“I see clearly the interest and demand for automation and tele-remote solutions is increasing in light of the pandemic,” Hedblom said of how COVID-19 had impacted the company’s product focus.

“The key to success for us is we have built up these regional application centres that have given us the capability to deploy automation and teleremote systems without international travel.”

Still on the topic of automation, Epiroc revealed even more today.

The first snippet of news, which Hedblom snuck in during the webcast, was that the company had secured an order for an autonomous fleet of surface drill rigs from an unnamed customer in southern Africa.

The second, which she teed up in the official results release, built on in the webcast, and expanded on for IM, was the successful deployment of “unique solutions” for OEM-mixed fleet automation.

In surface mining, the company, in tandem with ASI Mining, has retrofitted automation on Caterpillar haul trucks running at Ferrexpo’s Yeristovo iron ore mine, in Ukraine. The market had already been told about this.

Solutions for OEM-mixed fleet automation underground was very much representative of ‘news’.

“For underground, we have deployed very advance traffic management solutions for mixed fleet automation where we have automated our loaders and then machines from another OEM,” she said. “That is a breakthrough.”

While Hedblom was not able to say too much more about the project, she did acknowledge the solution was a few years in the making and had been advanced with an existing customer.

“The traffic management solution is based on the partnership we have with Combitech,” she explained. “It is a traffic management system being used in airports and subways in the big cities of the world, so is a highly advanced solution.”

Such a partnership dates back to 2017 when Atlas Copco (the Epiroc predecessor) signed an agreement with the Saab subsidiary to advance its digitalisation and automation initiatives.

There was also some news on the battery-electric front, too.

Back in November 2018 at the company’s Power Change Days event in Örebro, Sweden, Erik Svedlund, Global Marketing Manager – Electrification, mentioned the potential for retrofitting battery-electric technology on Epiroc diesel equipment. He said there was also the potential for such a solution being employed on other OEMs’ machines.

IM asked Hedblom about this.

“We have developed the first retrofit kit for a ST1030,” she replied, explaining that the company was “coming close” to releasing such a solution to the market.

While the company has electrified its Scooptram ST7 and its Scooptram ST14, the 10 t payload LHD has been, to this point, only available in diesel-powered form.

She added: “We have also partnered up with a couple of other OEMs that will use our battery system.”

This could be similar to how Railcare, a Swedish manufacturer of machines that keep railways safe and clean, will use Epiroc’s modular and scalable battery-electric technology platform (including batteries supplied by Northvolt) to power its Multi-Purpose Vehicle for rail maintenance applications.

“It goes very much hand-in-hand with the OEM-agnostic approach that we strongly believe in,” Hedblom said.

Those words are backed up by some substantial actions.

Epiroc reinforces order book with Norilsk Nickel contract

Epiroc has won an order from Norilsk Nickel for underground mining equipment that, the OEM says, will strengthen safety at three of its mines in Russia while ensuring highly efficient mine development.

Norilsk Nickel, one of the world’s largest producers of nickel, palladium, platinum and copper, has been investing in automation and digitalisation for the past several years. This has seen it introduce advanced digital technology in mine engineering, as well as in planning and operational control of mining activities, through its Technology Breakthrough program.

As part of this order, the miner has secured Epiroc’s Boltec M (pictured with with pumpable resin option) and Cabletec M rigs for use in the Oktyabrskiy, Mayak and Komsomolskiy mines to reinforce the underground rock in the safest and most productive manner, Epiroc says.

Quality and productivity are key features of these machines, Epiroc says. “For example, several of the Boltec machines will be equipped with the new automated pumpable resin system, a key component in Epiroc’s automated bolting development. The pumpable resin system, when combined with self-drilling anchors, is particularly effective in difficult and unstable ground conditions.”

One of the more difficult rock reinforcement tasks in underground mining and tunnelling operations is how to install long-term rock bolts in poor rock conditions, Epiroc says. As a result of this difficulty, rock bolting traditionally has often been the bottleneck within the drill and blast cycle.

“To resolve this, Epiroc in 2019, launched a pumpable resin system for underground rock bolting, allowing for a faster, more reliable and cost-effective bolting alternative for long-term rock reinforcement in difficult ground conditions,” the company said.

The Norilsk Nickel order exceeds SEK100 million ($11 million) in value and was booked in the September quarter of 2020. The equipment will be delivered from the company’s Sweden operations in the December quarter, Epiroc said.

“Norilsk Nickel has been an Epiroc customer for many years,” Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s President and CEO, said. “We are proud to play a key role as this forward-looking mining company now takes the next step in its commitment to safety and productivity with our latest technology.”

Epiroc in Q2: Australia service business, automation/digitalisation projects stay strong

There were some bright spots in Epiroc’s latest COVID-19 affected quarterly results that bode well for those companies serving the mining industry.

The headline figures were a 23% year-on-year drop in orders received to SEK8.105 billion ($913 million), a 20% fall in revenue to SEK8.458 billion, and a 37% cut in operating profit to SEK1.418 billion.

As President and CEO, Helena Hedblom, explained in the quarterly results: “The COVID-19 pandemic impacted us significantly in the quarter, yet we managed to quickly adapt our way of working, lower our costs, show resilience in our profitability, and deliver a strong cash flow.”

This cash flow – SEK1,963 million – was actually 30% higher than a year ago, which has no doubt been helped by its rationalisation and cost cutting.

Epiroc is a slimmer organisation than it was a year ago. As of June 30, 2020, 13,967 employees and 1,145 consultants/external workforce employees were on its books. This is 702 people lighter than it was at the same time in 2019.

On June 2, Epiroc announced it was giving notice of termination to 425 employees in Sweden in response to lower global demand from mining and infrastructure companies amid the pandemic and to position the company better for the future.

This followed an announcement in April that it was to consolidate the manufacturing of exploration drilling tools in Canada, gradually moving its base from North Bay to Montreal and Sweden over the course of 2020, with 65 employees affected.

Outside of Europe and North America, there were some positives for the company and the wider mining industry to consider.

For the company’s service business, which makes up the majority of its revenues, the orders received decreased 3% organically (year-on-year) to SEK3.719 million. This is a mild contraction compared with the 29% year-on-year organic drop it experienced for equipment orders.

This shows that while companies are not, on the whole, buying new equipment, they are still spending the money to keep their fleets going.

Compared with the previous year, service orders in local currency decreased in all regions, except Asia/Australia, another brightspot.

Helena Hedblom expanded on this trend when speaking to IM: “In general, the activity levels in mining in Australia have kept up very strong in the quarter. That is the only region where there has not been a big drop in the activity level; if we look at the other regions in the world, there are only a few countries with the same development, maybe Chile and Brazil as I said on the call (with analysts and investors).

“Mining in Australia has held up better than the rest of the world.”

With its main workshop and distribution centre for parts in Perth, Western Australia, servicing major gold and iron ore mines in the state, and various other facilities across the country, the company’s deliveries have also not been affected by the border issues related to COVID-19, Hedblom said.

Australia was arguably quickest out of all mining regions to adapt to COVID-19-related operational changes and its government has prioritised keeping the sector open throughout the entire pandemic.

With commodity prices such as gold and copper relatively strong and more governments in various countries now realising mining’s positive contribution, one would expect other places to follow suit in the upcoming months and quarters.

Epiroc’s quarterly results also provided some evidence of COVID-19 potentially speeding up the digitalisation and automation trend.

“In the quarter, we received multiple orders for automation solutions for both underground and surface applications, including a large order in Chile of equipment with 6th Sense solutions for automation, connectivity and information management,” Hedblom said in the results statement.

The Chile order referenced was for Codelco’s Chuquicamata underground mine, which included multiple units of Scooptram ST1030 and ST18 loaders, the Boomer S2 face drilling rig, the Boltec M bolting machine, and the Minetruck MT65.

On top of being equipped with 6th Sense, these machines come with Epiroc’s Rig Control System, RCS, which makes the equipment ready for automation and remote control, and Epiroc’s Certiq system, which allows for intelligent monitoring of machine performance and productivity in real time.

Speaking to IM, Hedblom said: “I think the pandemic has clearly increased the interest [in automation and digitalisation]. The mining companies, of course, are trying to minimise the number of people on site, and here digitisation, tele-remote, as well as automation, can offer support for that work. We are seeing more and more interest in that.”

She added: “We have been able to continue to deploy our automation projects because we have invested in automation centres regionally out in the different markets, on most continents. That has supported us to continue with this journey even though we can’t travel from Sweden to other countries at the moment.”

Summing up the results and the company’s broader offering during these pandemic-hit times, Hedblom concluded: “We have been focusing on lowering our cost in light of the pandemic and, as we have talked about, investing more in innovation than we have ever done. That is our commitment to the industry; to continue to come up with new products with better solutions from a productivity, safety and sustainability standpoint.”

Epiroc looks to halve CO2 emissions from customers’ use of equipment

Epiroc has launched new sustainability goals for 2030 that, it says, further advance the group’s ambitions on issues such as climate change and diversity.

Sustainability is already integrated in Epiroc’s business operations and, this year, the group has established long-term sustainability goals that support the Paris Agreement and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, it said.

The new sustainability goals for the next decade include halving CO2 emissions from operations, transport and major suppliers, as well as from customers’ use of Epiroc equipment.

Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s President and CEO, said: “Since the majority of the CO2 emissions occur in the use phase of our products, it is crucial that we not only limit our own emissions in operations and transport but also take on the greater challenge to reduce the emissions when the products are in use. We are working together with our customers to reduce the impact on climate.”

Epiroc says it is continuously innovating to make its equipment as climate-friendly and safe as possible.

Its new generation of battery-electric mining machines, which is generating strong interest from customers globally, is one example. Epiroc’s package of digital solutions, 6th Sense, including automation, also goes a long way to reduce customers’ environmental impact as well as to improve health and safety conditions, it added.

“With the new sustainability goals for 2030 we are taking our ambitions in this area to a new level,” Hedblom adds. “Epiroc is proud to help making the mining and infrastructure industries as sustainable as possible.”

Other examples of Epiroc’s new goals for 2030 include doubling the number of women in operational roles, substantially reducing work-related injuries, and further strengthening the group’s commitment to the company’s Code of Conduct.

Epiroc slims Sweden workforce following COVID-19 related demand drop

Epiroc has provided a notice of termination to 425 employees in Sweden as it looks to adapt to the changing COVID-19 demand situation in the mining and infrastructure sectors.

The move is in response to lower global demand from these sectors amid the pandemic, and to position the company better for the future, it said.

Some 350 positions are expected to go at the company’s Örebro facilities, with 75 positions being removed in Fagersta, Sweden, of which half are positions in production, the company said.

Örebro is a main manufacturing and research and development hub for Epiroc’s underground and surface equipment as well as for service and spare parts supply, while Fagersta is home to Epiroc’s rock drilling tools business. Epiroc has about 3,100 employees in Sweden, out of a global workforce of some 14,000.

Epiroc said: “The action is the result of Epiroc facing a significant drop in demand from customers due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on the global economy. The work reductions are also part of Epiroc’s continuous effort to become as agile and efficient as possible and follows various efficiency measures taken worldwide since 2019.”

The company, in April, announced it would consolidate the manufacturing of exploration drilling tools in Canada, gradually moving its base from North Bay to Montreal and Sweden over the course of 2020, with around 65 employees in North Bay, Ontario, being affected.

Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s President and CEO, said: “We are taking these actions to adapt to the new market situation following the COVID-19 pandemic and to make us stronger and more resilient for the future. Unfortunately, we must take such a drastic action as giving notice of termination. We regret the negative consequences this will have for our colleagues and those close to them, and we will support our employees in this difficult situation.

“These actions will allow us to continue to prioritise innovation and to develop our technology leadership in order to support our customers’ operations and improve their productivity.”

Epiroc’s innovation investments have led to the mining and infrastructure industries becoming more productive, safe and climate friendly, according to the company, following the adoption of its automation, digitalisation and electrification solutions.