Tag Archives: Helena Hedblom

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.

Epiroc bolsters battery-electric conversion expertise with FVT Research acquisition

Epiroc has agreed to acquire the business and assets of FVT Research Inc, a Canadian company with expertise in converting diesel-powered mining machines to battery-electric vehicles.

FVT Research, based in Vancouver, Canada, designs diesel-to-battery conversion kits and rebuilds mining machines to electric versions. The company has also recently been part of a successful project to convert the diesel-powered Epiroc Scooptram ST1030 loader to battery electric.

FVT Research has about 25 employees and had revenues in 2020 of C$4 million ($3.2 million).

“Bringing the strong team at FVT Research into the Epiroc Group fits perfectly into our strategy to provide emissions-free battery-electric vehicles,” Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s President and CEO, said. “Our customers are increasingly discovering the significant benefits that come with using battery-electric vehicles, and FVT Research’s technical expertise and competence will be key assets for Epiroc as we continue to provide more solutions in this area.”

The acquisition is expected to be completed in the second half 2021, with the transaction not subject to a disclosure obligation pursuant to the EU Market Abuse Regulation.

Epiroc drills, bolters to help Dazhong Mining expand Chinese iron ore mines

Epiroc says it has won a large order for mining equipment and service from Dazhong Mining Co Ltd in China as part of a plan to expand two of its underground iron ore mines in the most “safe and productive manner possible”.

Dazhong Mining has ordered a variety of rigs for face drilling, production and rock reinforcement for use at the Zhouyoufang and Zhongxinji mines in the Anhui Province. The order is valued at about SEK200 million ($23 million) and was booked in the September quarter of 2021. In addition to the equipment, the order includes on-site service and training including sophisticated simulators, which provide a safe and realistic environment to enhance the skills of machine operators, Epiroc says.

The machines ordered include Boomer face drilling rigs (including the Boomer S2 Face Drill), Simba production drilling rigs, and Boltec and Cabletec rock reinforcement rigs.

Dazhong Mining is rated as a national Green Mine Enterprise, meaning it is recognised for its sustainable way of mining, according to the OEM. The company also purchased a large number of machines from Epiroc in 2020.

“Epiroc is happy to team up again with Dazhong Mining so it can expand its operations further while strengthening safety, sustainability and productivity,” Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s President and CEO, says.

The Head of Dazhong Mining said: “Our operations have truly become more safe, environmentally friendly and efficient through Epiroc’s equipment and service. We are happy that this model will continue to be applied to the expansion of two mines. We have a good long-term partnership with Epiroc as this supports us with a high-level technical resource which promotes the sustainable development of the mining industry.”

The machines for Dazhong will be equipped with Epiroc’s telematics system, which allows for intelligent monitoring of machine performance and productivity in real time, and most of the units will have Epiroc’s Rig Control System, RCS, installed, which makes them ready for automation and remote control. The equipment will be delivered in 2021 and 2022.

Epiroc prepared for more order records after strong Q2

Record orders received, high revenue growth and improved profitability were all part of Epiroc’s June quarter financial results as the OEM also made significant headway on its diesel-to-battery-electric retrofit plan to help electrify the mining sector.

Orders received increased 37% to a record high of SEK11.07 billion ($1.27 billion). This corresponds to 45% organic growth compared with the June quarter of 2020, the company said, noting that the 2020 three-month period was significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Within this, equipment had the highest organic order growth of 76%, supported by a few large orders, such as an underground mining equipment order from Mexican contractor CoMinVi for use at several mines throughout the country.

The aftermarket also had a strong development, with organic growth of 26% for service and 42% for Tools & Attachments, Epiroc noted.

On the electrification front, Epiroc also highlighted that the June quarter had seen the company win several orders for battery-electric equipment, including one from Ivanplats for the Platreef project in South Africa, while receiving the first orders for its diesel-to-battery retrofit solution. The latter is starting with the conversion of diesel ST1030 loaders to battery-electric versions.

Revenues increased 15% to SEK9.733 billion in the June quarter, while operating profit and operating margin rose 54% and 22.4% to SEK2.182 billion and 22.4%, respectively.

The period was also characterised by several acquisitions, including the purchase of Australia-based Kinetic Logging Services, Canada-based 3D-P, and South Africa-based MineRP. Chile-based Mining TAG and Meglab, based in Canada, also came into the Epiroc fold in earlier July.

Speaking to IM just after the results came out, Helena Hedblom, Epiroc President and CEO, said the company had seen the automation, digitalisation and electrification trends observed across industry accelerate in these regions, among others, since the emergence of COVID-19.

“We see that different regions are ahead in terms of different capabilities,” she said. “We have seen a lot around digitalisation and automation in Australia, and, in Canada, when it comes to electrification, there are a lot of things happening. South Africa is strong when it comes to software and, on top of that, there are some regional players serving the sector like Mining TAG.

“We, as Epiroc, can come with our global footprint and help these regional players go abroad and roll out the technology on a global level.”

These acquisitions have seen the company’s staffing contingent swell in the last year. At the end of June, Epiroc said it had 14,569 employees across the globe, compared with 13,967 a year earlier, tied mainly to these acquisitions. Indeed, the three companies acquired during the June quarter came with 430 employees in total.

At the end of 2019, prior to the global onset of the pandemic, Epiroc had 14,268 employees on its books.

While Hedblom acknowledged much of the staffing increase was on the back of acquisitions, she did say the company was ramping-up additional workforce in “manufacturing, in supply chain and in service”.

And looking back to the rationalisation carried out across the company during the height of COVID-19 worries – which saw a notice of termination provided to 425 employees in Sweden and the consolidation of the manufacturing of exploration drilling tools in Canada – Hedblom said the company had since repositioned itself for the type of growth it was now experiencing.

“When we did the correction last year, we addressed a lot related to, mainly, admin and back office. With these acquisitions coming on board, of course, the majority of employees are technology-related people…software developers and service people to manage the technology out in the field.”

And, lastly, when it comes to the capacity to keeping up with record orders, Hedblom said: “We have a very flexible manufacturing setup where we do the final assembly, in house, and a lot of the pre-assembly is done by some external suppliers. That is how we are – and have always – managed swings in order volumes.

“We can also add more capacity if needed in our assembly lines. We are not regionally limited there; being able to use the different facilities we have in both the US and Sweden, in addition to China and India. We can balance that demand between the sites.”

Ivanplats to trial Epiroc battery-electric drills and LHDs at Platreef mine

Epiroc says it has won a significant order for battery-electric mining equipment from Ivanplats that will be used to develop its greenfield Platreef mine in South Africa in the “most sustainable and productive manner possible”.

Ivanplats, a subsidiary of Canada-based Ivanhoe Mines, has ordered several Boomer M2 Battery face drill rigs and Scooptram ST14 Battery LHDs (pictured).

These machines will be trialled during the Platreef underground mine’s initial development phase, Epiroc said, adding that Ivanplats has the ambition to use all battery-electric vehicles in its mining fleet at Platreef.

The order exceeds ZAR150 million ($10.2 million) in value and was booked in the June quarter of 2021.

Ivanhoe indirectly owns 64% of the Platreef project through its subsidiary, Ivanplats. The South Africa beneficiaries of the approved broad-based, black economic empowerment structure have a 26% stake in the project, with the remaining 10% owned by a Japanese consortium of ITOCHU Corporation, Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation, and Japan Gas Corporation.

The Platreef 2020 feasibility study builds on the results of the 2017 feasibility study and is based on an unchanged mineral reserve of 125 Mt at 4.4 g/t 3PGE+Au, project designs for mining, and plant and infrastructure as in the 2017 study; except with an increased production rate from 4 Mt/y to 4.4 Mt/y, in two modules of 2.2 Mt/y, for annual production of more than 500,000 oz of palladium, platinum, rhodium and gold; plus more than 35 MIb of nickel and copper.

The initial plan is to start at a mining rate of 700,000 t/y before scaling up. An updated feasibility study on the plan is expected to be published before the end of the year.

Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s President and CEO, said it was “encouraging” that Ivanplats is considering going all battery-electric at Platreef.

“Battery-electric equipment is increasingly embraced by mining companies as it provides a healthier work environment, lower total operating costs and higher productivity,” she said. “The technology is now well established, and Epiroc is driving this change toward emissions-free mining.”

Marna Cloete, Ivanhoe Mines’ President and CFO, said: “We want to be at the forefront of utilising battery electric, zero-emission equipment at all of our mining operations. This partnership with Epiroc for emissions-free mining equipment at the Platreef Mine is an important first step towards achieving our net-zero carbon emissions goals while mining metals required for a cleaner environment.”

Boomer M2 Battery face drill rigs and Scooptram ST14 Battery loaders are built in Sweden, and are automation-ready and equipped with Epiroc’s telematics solution Certiq.

The equipment will be delivered early to Platreef in 2022. Epiroc will also provide on-site operator and maintenance training to Ivanplats, it said.

Epiroc intends to offer its complete fleet of underground mining equipment as battery-electric versions by 2025, and its full fleet for surface operations as battery-powered versions by 2030.

Epiroc strengthens mine safety and productivity offering with Mining TAG buy

Epiroc has acquired Mining Tag SA, a Chile-based company that, the OEM says, provides sensor-based solutions to strengthen safety and productivity in mines by making operations smarter.

Mining Tag develops and implements sensor-based solutions that allow monitoring, automation and process improvement of mining operations, Epiroc explained. The solutions are mainly used in underground mining. Its solutions include MT OneMine for increased productivity and MT Guardian, a personnel and asset tracking system, for improved safety.

Mining Tag is active in several countries in Latin America. It has previously worked with Codelco on installing its MT OneMine fleet management system to manage the LHD fleet in the macroblocks 01, 02 and 03 North and South of the Production Level at Chuquicamata. It has about 120 employees and had revenues in 2020 of about $7 million, according to Epiroc.

Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s President and CEO, said: “Intelligent mining solutions are the future. Together with the innovative team at Mining Tag, we will strengthen our smart digitalisation offering to customers in Latin America and beyond.”

Epiroc to supply drill rigs, bolters, loaders and trucks to Mexico’s CoMinVi

Epiroc says it has won a large order for underground mining equipment from Mexican contractor CoMinVi for use at several mines throughout the country.

CoMinVi SA de CV, headquartered in Guanajuato, Mexico, has ordered a variety of Epiroc machines, including face drilling rigs, production drilling rigs, rock reinforcement rigs, loaders and mine trucks. The equipment will ensure the mines are operated with strengthened productivity, safety and cost efficiency, the OEM said.

The machines will be used at several mines in Mexico where CoMinVi serves as mining contractor. Aftermarket services such as on-site maintenance supervisor and spare parts consignment will be provided by Epiroc.

The total order value of the equipment exceeds $45 million, of which the majority was booked in the June quarter of 2021. The remaining part is expected to be booked in the second half of 2021.

“We are proud to partner with CoMinVi to enhance safety, productivity and sustainability in their operations,” Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s President and CEO, said. “The equipment and services will support CoMinVi to successfully execute on their mining projects.”

Rafael Villagómez Contreras, CoMinVi’s CEO, said: “The acquisition of this new equipment is a historical part of CoMinVi’s growth in recent years and represents a competitive advantage for us. It will ensure our ability to respond immediately to our potential customers by having the necessary resources that allow us to be one step ahead of our competition. We are very satisfied with the commercial partnership with Epiroc as this is a long-term relationship that will be supported with a high-level technical backup and a reliable supply.”

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

The equipment is to be delivered in 2021 and 2022.

Epiroc boosts mine network offering with 3D-P acquisition

Epiroc has announced its second acquisition in two weeks, adding 3D-P, a Canada-based company that provides wireless connectivity solutions for surface mining, to its expanding portfolio.

3D-P, based in Calgary, provides reliable wireless connectivity solutions for mining companies within surface mining.

As Epiroc explains, a robust wireless network is crucial to enable mining automation, including teleremote and autonomous operations. 3D-P is active in North America, Chile, Peru and Australia, offering a variety of networking solutions to miners including “hybrid LTE”. It has about 50 employees and had revenues in 2020 of about $12 million, according to Epiroc.

The 3D-P buy follows an announcement on May 28 that Epiroc had agreed to acquire Kinetic Logging Services Pty Ltd, an Australia-based company that provides mining companies with geophysical logging services.

Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s President and CEO, said having reliable, high-quality wireless connectivity is key for mining companies that invest in automation and digitalisation to strengthen safety and productivity.

“We are happy to welcome the excellent team at 3D-P to Epiroc,” she said. “Together we will ensure that our customers succeed on their automation and digitalisation journey.”