Tag Archives: Helena Hedblom

Epiroc makes a play for low-profile underground equipment specialist AARD Mining

Epiroc has signed an agreement to acquire South Africa-based low-profile mining equipment manufacturing specialist, AARD Mining Equipment, in a deal that will see the Stockholm-based OEM further strengthen its growth ambitions in Africa and beyond, Helena Hedblom says.

AARD, based near Johannesburg, designs, manufactures, services and supports a wide range of mining equipment, specialising in low-profile underground machines for mines with low mining heights. Its product line includes drill rigs, bolters, loaders, scalers and more. The company’s customers are mainly in the southern Africa region, with the company having approximately 200 employees and revenues in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022, of about SEK650 million ($62 million).

“AARD has reputable and reliable products that complement our underground product portfolio well,” Hedblom, Epiroc’s President and CEO, said. “This acquisition will further strengthen our growth ambitions in Africa and beyond. We are looking forward to welcoming the great team at AARD to Epiroc.”

Mike Adendorff, AARD’s CEO, added: “We are excited about the prospect of continuing to grow the business within the Epiroc Group.”

The acquisition is expected to be completed in the next few months, with the transaction containing conditions normal for transactions of this nature, including regulatory approval from the competition authorities.

AARD was established in 1983 as part of the Boart group of companies. It is currently wholly owned by Matasis Mining Equipment Pty Ltd. The company’s corporate office and manufacturing facility are based in Chamdor on the West Rand, some 55 km from OR Tambo International Airport.

AARD’s product range of trackless mobile mining machinery (TM3) is used extensively on more than 30 base metal, precious metal, coal and diamond mines in sub-Sahara Africa. Its engineering and technical teams can custom design and build bespoke machines to suit customer’s needs, according to the company, with modifications and changes to existing equipment, as well as complete or partial rebuilds, able to be undertaken at the factory in Chamdor, Gauteng.

AARD says it continuously undertakes research and development, factoring this into the design and manufacture of equipment that meets customer requirements for improving safety and productivity.

The company carries a full range of spares and major components for its product range and, with satellite warehouses in Kuruman, Steelpoort, Rustenburg and at some mines, says it is able to make spares available on a 24/7 basis.

Alongside its facilities in South Africa, it also has subsidiaries in Zambia (AARD Zambia, based on the Copperbelt) and Zimbabwe (AARD Zimbabwe, based in Harare, Zimbabwe).

Epiroc records ‘best quarter ever for electrification’

In a quarter of record revenues and adjusted operating margin, Epiroc’s battery-electric equipment orders and market demand for electrified mining solutions again came to the fore.

The company posted revenues of SEK11.9 billion ($1.2 billion) in the June quarter, 22% up on the same three-month period of a year ago. Its adjusted operating margin came in at 23.6%, compared with 22.6% a year earlier.

Epiroc’s aftermarket division continued to dominate the balance sheet, accounting for 73% of revenues, which itself was up on the 69% registered in the June quarter of 2021.

Included within this revenue is the company’s growing mid-life battery retrofit solution, which it launched last year to provide a second electrified life for its diesel-powered machines. Able to convert existing machines to battery-electric versions, CEO Helena Hedblom said the offering continued to find favour with existing mining customers.

“With brownfield operations, there are great opportunities to bring battery-electric solutions into the fleet with our retrofit option when, for example, existing diesel-powered machines go in for their mid-life upgrades,” she said.

To this point, the company has devised readily available battery-electric retrofit options for its diesel-powered Scooptram ST1030, Scooptram ST14 and Minetruck MT436 machines, but Hedblom said the company was working on offering this option across its entire diesel-powered fleet, with the machine retrofit rollout plan determined by the size of the installed base in the marketplace.

The company also won several major equipment contracts in the June quarter that included battery-electric solutions.

Its electric machines are set to feature on major projects such as Odyssey and Onaping Depth in Canada. Closer to home in Sweden, the Epiroc battery-electric fleet will grow at LKAB’s underground iron ore operations and Boliden is set to use several of zero-emission truck and loaders at numerous mine sites.

Epiroc labelled Q2 as its “best quarter ever for electrification”, and Hedblom was equally effusive about the company’s offering, saying it was built for both greenfield and brownfield mines.

“We have a strong position in the electrification market; both for equipment sales, retrofit and electrical infrastructure,” she said.

The company’s infrastructure proposition was strengthened during the quarter with the acquisition of JTMEC, an Australia-based company specialising in providing mines with electrical infrastructure.

This comes on top of the company’s recent purchase of Meglab, a Canada-based company with expertise in providing electrification infrastructure solutions to mines, meaning it has electrification infrastructure expertise in two major mining hubs.

One of the battery-electric orders received during the most recent three-month period was from Boliden for the Rävliden, Kristineberg and Renström mine sites in northern Sweden. Included within this order was an Scooptram ST18 Battery that, the company previously confirmed, will include the incorporation of Scooptram Automation, representing one of the first times these battery-backed machines will receive an automation upgrade.

While a solution for automating the battery charging or swapping process remains some way off, Hedblom sees the convergence of the two – electrification and automation – getting closer in the future.

“Electrification and automation go hand in hand, with companies that are high on electrification also typically being high on automation,” she said.

Epiroc to deliver underground drills, bolters, LHDs and trucks to Fresnillo

Epiroc says it has won a large, $17 million order for a variety of underground mining equipment and automation solutions from Fresnillo plc in Mexico.

Fresnillo, the world’s leading silver producer and Mexico’s largest gold producer, has ordered multiple Epiroc underground mining machines for use at five of its mines.

“Epiroc and Fresnillo go back many years as productive partners, and we look forward to continue supporting their work to optimise productivity and sustainability in their operations,” Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s President and CEO, says.

The equipment ordered, manufactured in Örebro, Sweden, includes Boomer face drilling rigs, Boltec and Cabletec rock reinforcement rigs, Simba production drilling rigs, Scooptram loaders, and Minetruck haulers.

Automation features include teleremote operations, Epiroc’s Rig Control System and ABC (Advanced Boom Control) Total, which enables drilling a sequence of holes (full round) automatically. The units will also be equipped with Epiroc’s telematics system, which allows for intelligent monitoring of machine performance and productivity in real-time.

Rio Tinto orders more Epiroc Pit Viper 271s, SmartROC D65s for Pilbara iron ore mines

Epiroc says it has won a large order for mining equipment from Rio Tinto in Australia that will see it deliver several Epiroc Pit Viper 271 drill rigs to be retrofitted by Rio Tinto with autonomous capabilities.

On top of the Pit Viper 271s, Epiroc is set to provide SmartROC D65 drill rigs loaded with intelligent features, it said. The units will be used at the miner’s iron ore operations in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

The order exceeds SEK150 million ($14.7 million) in value and was booked in the June quarter of 2022. It follows a large order by Rio Tinto in the March quarter of 2022, also for Pit Viper 271s, and a large order in 2021 for Pit Viper 271 and SmartROC D65 rigs, also for its iron ore mines in Pilbara.

Epiroc President and CEO, Helena Hedblom, said: “Epiroc and Rio Tinto have a long-standing partnership focused on optimising safety and productivity through cutting-edge innovation.”

The Pit Viper 271 and SmartROC D65 drill rigs, manufactured in Texas, USA, and Örebro, Sweden, respectively, are built to face the toughest conditions and will come installed with Epiroc’s Rig Control System, RCS, making them ready for automation and remote control, Epiroc noted.

Epiroc to supply Boliden’s Kristineberg and Renström mines with battery-electric, autonomous solutions

Epiroc says it has won a large order from Boliden for mining equipment, including battery-electric and automation solutions, for use at some of the company’s underground mines in Sweden.

Boliden, one of Europe’s largest mining companies, has ordered battery-electric versions of the Boomer face drilling rig, Boltec rock bolting rig and Epiroc’s largest automated Scooptram loader, the ST18, with Batteries as a Service. The ordered equipment also includes, among other machines, the Easer raiseboring rig and Epiroc’s newest production and face drilling rigs, Simba and Boomer, in the E-series.

The machines will be used at the Rävliden Kristineberg and Renström mine sites in northern Sweden. Boliden is mining zinc, copper, lead, gold, silver and tellurium at the mines.

On the Scooptram ST18 Battery, specifically, Mattias Pettersson, Global Portfolio Manager Underground Loaders, confirmed that the battery-electric machine heading to Boliden’s operations would be upgraded to Scooptram Automation. This will coincide with several other BEV customers receiving automation upgrades around the same timeframe, according to Pettersson, adding that the battery charging process will not be automated in this instance.

At Rävliden Kristineberg, Boliden and Epiroc are also involved in a project to develop and demonstrate an electric trolley truck system on a test track, with ABB being the third project partner.

The order is valued at more than SEK100 million ($9.8 million) and was booked in the June quarter of 2022.

“Boliden is focused on making its operations as safe, sustainable, and productive as possible and to produce metals with a low carbon footprint, and we are proud to support them on this journey,” Epiroc’s President and CEO, Helena Hedblom, said.

The Simba production drilling rig and the battery-electric loader Scooptram ST18 will be equipped with the 6th Sense solutions Simba Automation and Scooptram Automation. This will enable operators to control the machines remotely from the comfort of a control room, according to Epiroc. All units will be equipped with Epiroc’s telematics system, which allows for intelligent monitoring of machine performance and productivity in real time.

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.”