Tag Archives: Henrik Ager

Sandvik reinforces rock tools offering with Tricon Drilling Solutions acquisition

Sandvik has signed an agreement to acquire Tricon Drilling Solutions Pty Ltd, a privately-owned supplier of rock tools for the mining industry, based in Perth, Australia.

Tricon will operate as an independent, standalone business unit within the Rock Tools division of Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions.

Tricon’s product offering includes rotary bits, DTH (Down-The-Hole) hammers and bits, as well as full rotary and DTH drill strings. The company has 24 employees.

“I am pleased that we continue to deliver on our active acquisition agenda, and I look forward to welcoming Tricon to Sandvik,” Henrik Ager, President of Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, said.

Tricon has design capabilities for rotary bits in-house but outsources manufacturing, with Sandvik being one of its rotary bit suppliers. Drill string products are produced in Tricon’s own facility.

The acquisition is expected to close in the September quarter of 2021, subject to relevant regulatory approvals.

Sandvik reinforces underground mining safety focus with DSI Underground buy

Sandvik has signed an agreement to acquire DSI Underground, a global leader in ground support and reinforcement products, systems and solutions for the underground mining and tunneling industries, from owner Triton.

The OEM has agreed a purchase price of approximately €943 million ($1.15 million) on a cash and debt free basis, it said, adding that the company will be reported in the Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions division.

Stefan Widing, President and CEO of Sandvik, said: “This acquisition is an important step in our growth ambition. DSI Underground’s track record of driving progress and safety in underground operations and its global reach will further strengthen our world-leading market position within mining and rock solutions.”

DSI Underground is present in 70 countries, with 22 production units situated close to end customers, according to Sandvik. The product offering includes bolting systems, injection chemicals and resin capsules.

Henrik Ager, President of Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, added: “With the world’s most extensive choice of ground support products and systems, DSI Underground’s offering is highly complementary and enables us to deliver greater value and safety to our customers. The deal gives DSI Underground access to Sandvik’s substantial R&D, global service and sales network, complements our growing aftermarket business and strengthens our leadership in underground mining and tunnelling.”

Michael Reich, CEO DSI Underground, said: “With our knowledge of ground support technologies, we can add a valuable and complementary offering to Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions. On the other hand, we will benefit from the knowledge of the new group and Sandvik’s global customer network.”

DSI Underground has around 2,000 employees, with revenue for 2020 expected to be about €518 million ($631 million, excluding the four joint ventures that are part of the acquisition). The purchase price is approximately €943 million on a cash and debt free basis.

The transaction is expected to close by mid-2021 and is subject to relevant regulatory approvals.

Tackling the big mine electrification questions

“There is consensus in the industry that once we start doing electrification, we will innovate much more in other areas of the mining space.”

If anyone in the mining sector thought electrification was not in their wheelhouse, Theo Yameogo’s words might make them think again.

Yameogo, Partner and National Mining & Metals Co-Leader at EY Canada, made such a statement during The Electric Mine Virtual Conference earlier this week. The event, organised by International Mining Events, brought leaders in the electrification space together to discuss the latest developments in the industry, of which there were many.

The stage was set for mine electrification reveals, and Henrik Ager, President of Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology (soon to be Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions), did not disappoint, acknowledging that the company is currently working on development of what would be its largest underground truck: a battery-powered 65 t vehicle.

This was all part of the company’s aim to have a “full range electrified offering by 2022”, he said.

Azizi Tucker, Co-Founder and CTO of XING Mobility, was next up, providing an overview of the Taiwan-based company’s offering in his presentation: ‘Electrification from prototype to mass production’.

With a remit to provide commercial, industrial and specialty vehicle makers with modular, high power and safe battery and powertrain technologies, XING is making an entrance into the mining space at just the right time.

Tucker talked attendees through the elements that make the company’s IMMERSIO™ battery solutions ideal for the mining sector: “With the modular size and shape of our batteries, we can really suit any vehicles. We find this very popular with the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) as they can utilise their existing chassis.”

The elimination of corrosion, ability to operate consistently in high-temperature environments, a variety of sealing techniques and the use of nickel-manganese-cobalt lithium-ion chemistry has allowed the company to provide the safe and enclosed battery solution miners are looking for.

He concluded by saying XING was in conversation with a variety of mining companies, mining OEMs and mine site operators about deploying solutions in the space.

Attendees were then treated to a demonstration of Tembo 4×4 e-LV’s Electric Cruiser via video during the session: ‘Green conversions: the Tembo 4×4 e-LV electric light utility vehicle platform’ (pictured below). They got up close and personal with the battery-electric utility vehicle as it travelled on- and off-road close to the company’s Netherlands HQ.

After a 15-minute demo showing off the Electric Cruiser’s attributes, Paul Smeters, Tembo 4×4 e-LV’s Marketing Manager, and Alexander Haccou, Tembo 4×4 e-LV’s Technical Director, joined the event to answer audience questions.

The inevitable query came up early during the live Q&A: have you tested this vehicle in an underground mine?

Haccou was prepared for this, explaining that Boliden’s Tara underground zinc-lead mine in Ireland was the first recipient of the company’s Electric Cruiser, and a unit had been operating there for a few years now observing many of the maintenance benefits battery-electric machines are becoming renowned for.

The Electric Cruiser has also been tested in Australia and Canada with the help of Tembo 4×4 e-LV partners in those regions, he added.

“We don’t use fast charging or battery swapping,” Haccou said in response to another question. “What we have seen in several mines is the daily amount of usage is less than the battery’s full capacity.”

After several questions related to an active thermal management system for batteries had come up in previous sessions, Nicolas Champagne’s entrance to the virtual event proved timely.

His presentation, ‘Battery thermal management system using a highly advanced dielectric fluid’, homed in on the use of a dielectric fluid with specific features to allow direct cooling of the battery electrochemical cells.

Champagne, Formulation Team Manager of the R&D department for TOTAL Lubricants, revealed results from use of the fluid in bench tests and simulations at the battery pack level, extrapolating what these results could mean for battery-powered vehicles in the mining sector.

He said the company is in discussions with at least one mining customer about deploying its fluid on a battery-powered vehicle.

After previous sessions had discussed the potential for fast charging and battery swapping, Champagne made clear that TOTAL Lubricants’ solution would prove beneficial in all battery-powered applications throughout the mining sector.

 

Following a lunch break, it was the turn of Epiroc’s Anders Hedqvist (Vice President of R&D, underground) and Franck Boudreault (Electrification Transformation Lead, underground) to deliver a scoop (pun intended).

The pair, during their presentation, ‘From one generation to the next – learnings from zero emission mining’, took it in turns to provide updates.

Boudreault revealed the company’s plan to create battery-electric conversion kits for not only Epiroc diesel-powered equipment out in the field but other OEMs’ machines, before Hedqvist disclosed the company’s in-development battery-electric 18 t LHD would be trialled at LKAB’s Sustainable Underground Mining (SUM) project in Sweden. Epiroc has already delivered a diesel-powered Scooptram ST18 to be trialled in autonomous mode at the SUM project.

It was Yameogo, a mining engineer with much experience operating in underground mines in Canada, that provided the event’s big picture talk in his presentation, ‘Will electrification spark the next wave of mining innovation?’

He talked up the need for industry collaboration between miners, OEMs and service providers in not only electrifying equipment and operations, but also other types of technology.

“That type of collaboration and co-creation framework will actually help mining companies also think about innovation and other items part of electrification and equipment, in general,” he said.

The focus narrowed slightly to open-pit electrification during Dr Bappa Banerjee’s talk, ‘An electric future for mine haulage’. Dr Banerjee, General Manager of Mining Equipment for Wabtec, emphasised from the off that there was no one-size fits all solution to going electric in this sector.

“It’s becoming clear to us…that perhaps it will be a combination of technologies that really help us get to a solution that is feasible,” he said.

This solution, he said, depended on the mine application and haulage scenario, underlining the need for technology flexibility.

In his presentation, Dr Banerjee pitted a diesel-powered haul truck with 2,500 horsepower (1,864 kW) as his baseline solution against a hybrid solution with a 2,500 hp diesel engine and 200 kWh battery as one alternative, and all-electric truck platforms equipped with trolley assist (with 800 kWh battery) and stationary charging (1,200 kWh battery).

The energy cost versus productivity outcome he showed proved his earlier point about different applications suiting different solutions, with varied results depending on if these trucks were deployed on downhill, uphill or flat hauls.

GE Transportation, since merged with Wabtec, has previously demonstrated a battery-diesel hybrid solution on a Komatsu 830E-1AC and Wabtec has plans to release trolley solutions for Komatsu 830E-5 and 930E-5 haul trucks in 2021, so this analysis includes hard industry data.

Dr Banerjee concluded on the decision-making aspect of going electric: “These are not just point in time decisions we have to make regarding the CAPEX and where we are in the lifecycle of the mine, but decisions across decades sometimes.

“Perhaps the best way to approach this would be to start with a technology that is more flexible up front or has more options.”

Brian Huff, Vice President of Technology for Artisan Vehicle Systems, a Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology business unit, used his presentation to reinforce that battery-powered solutions were the way forward in the underground environment.

‘Rethink the machine, not the mine’ was the title of his presentation and Huff stayed true to it from the off: “The basic message is that this is not as hard as you think it is. There is a real big change coming to the mining industry, but it may not be as difficult as you think to accomplish a conversion to battery-electric equipment.”

Similar to Hedqvist’s mention of the newfound freedom available to engineers when designing these next generation battery-electric machines, Huff explained that Artisan’s generation three BEV blueprint started with a battery-electric driveline and built from there.

“Major parts of the frame can be removed to facilitate swapping…[and you can have] double to triple the power density of the machine (compared with the diesel-powered equivalent) to improve performance,” he said.

He moved on to tackle the usual range anxiety question head on, displaying a video of a 13 km haul on a one-in-seven grade. Within this, he showed that the ability to swap batteries during the uphill haul meant there was no loss in haulage productivity when compared with the a similar payload diesel-powered machine.

The time losses related to battery swapping – around six minutes per swap with the Z50 – were more than offset by the increased haulage speed, according to Huff. “It is about 10% faster on the climb,” he said when comparing the BEV unit with a conventional diesel truck.

Productivity could be further boosted with the introduction of Artisan’s patented AutoConnect system. Fitted on the company and Sandvik’s newest 18 t payload LH518B LHD, this system allows the battery swap to be completed in well under five minutes, according to Huff. IM understands an AutoConnect retrofit option could allow the Z50 haul truck to match that swap time.

Add to this productivity benefit, decreases in operating cost and total cost of ownership, and it is hardly surprising Barrick recently signed off on a trial of four of these Z50s at its Turquoise Ridge joint venture gold mine in Nevada.

Safety, cost, maintenance, productivity and even battery life; you name it, The Electric Mine Virtual Conference discussed it.

The good news is a second dose of electrification talk is only four months away, with The Electric Mine 2021 conference taking place on March 15-16, 2021, in Stockholm, Sweden.

Sandvik and Barrick confirm Artisan Z50 trials at Turquoise Ridge gold mine

Sandvik and Barrick have confirmed the signing of a partnership agreement for trialing and enhancing battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) for underground hard-rock mining.

During a three-year production trial, Sandvik will deploy four Artisan Z50 BEV trucks at the Turquoise Ridge gold mine, part of the Nevada Gold Mines joint venture (JV), Sandvik said. Barrick is the operator of the JV, which is the single-largest gold-producing complex in the world, forecast to produce a total of 3.4-3.65 Moz of gold during 2020.

The announcement follows an acknowledgement of such a deal by President of Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, Henrik Ager, earlier this month.

The Z50 haul truck, with a 50 t payload capacity, is a ground-up design that seamlessly integrates the most capable and proven battery electric powertrain available in the mining industry with the latest and most coveted features of any haul truck on the market today, according to Sandvik.

It is equipped with AutoSwap, a patented self-swapping system for the Artisan battery pack. This makes battery swapping faster and easier with a minimum amount of manual handling: changing the battery only takes about six minutes, and it can be done in a passing bay or old re-muck bay with no overhead cranes or external infrastructure needed.

In phase 1 trials, the Z50 truck already achieved more than 1,400 hours of production with over 1,400 loads, according to Sandvik. It reached production operation of up to 18 hours per day, with speeds of over 10 km/h observed on the ramp to the tip.

Some of the key performance indicators in the new partnership will include the performance of the BEV technology in a production environment, mechanical availability, average lifecycle cost and overall production cost, Sandvik said.

“We are always looking at ways to improve our performance, both in terms of sustainability and operational efficiency,”  Mark Bristow, Barrick’s President and CEO, said. “This partnership with Sandvik is exciting and will give us first-hand experience in BEV technology in our own production environment. It is a significant step to furthering our BEV strategy across the group.”

Ager added: “I am very pleased that Barrick and Sandvik have teamed up to perform these extensive trials in a daily production environment. It gives us the possibility to prove the performance of our BEV technology.

“The purely battery-powered truck helps to reduce heat and emissions underground, helping mines reach their sustainability targets and reduce ventilation costs. This raises the bar for what is possible and enables an all-new level of production and cost reduction for underground hard rock mines.”

A dedicated site project team will be jointly working with the Barrick operations team during the trial period to ensure that all data is captured and the experience from both Sandvik and Barrick is used to ensure the uptime and productivity targets are met, Sandvik said.

Barrick to receive three more Artisan Z50 battery-electric trucks, Ager says

Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology has signed an agreement with Barrick Gold that could see four Artisan Z50 battery-electric trucks deployed at the miner’s majority-owned operations in Nevada, Henrik Ager confirmed this week.

Speaking at Sandvik’s Capital Markets Day on Tuesday, Ager, President of Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology (soon to be President of Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions), said the company had just signed “a cooperation partnership” with Barrick in relation to the delivery.

“We have one (truck) operating already and have three coming,” he said.

Back in May, a Barrick spokesperson confirmed to IM that an ongoing trial involving a 50-t payload Z50 was expected to be finalised in the June quarter of this year, “with the option to extend, should the KPIs not be met”. The machine was being tested at Turquoise Ridge, a gold mine operated under the Nevada Gold Mines company, owned 61.5% by Barrick and 38.5% by Newmont.

Based on this order, IM assumes the Turquoise Ridge trial was a success.

Alongside this reveal, Ager, talking up the company’s next-generation AutoMine® Concept vehicle recently revealed at the Innovation in Mining event, said the company currently had automation solutions at 59 sites across the mining industry. This compared favourably with solutions at 43 sites 18 months ago, and 19 sites back in 2016.

Sandvik to form new crushing and screening business area

Sandvik has decided to spin off its Crushing and Screening division into a new business area called Sandvik Rock Processing Solutions (SRP).

The reason for this structural change, which will happen as of January 1, 2021, is to further accelerate profitable growth within rock processing, based on Crushing and Screening addressing separate parts of the value chain and facing different competition to the other Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology divisions, the company said.

“Sandvik is market leading within rock processing and our Crushing and Screening division is a well-performing business with exciting growth opportunities,” Stefan Widing, President and CEO of Sandvik, said. “The business is today already operating quite independently from the rest of Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, with its own manufacturing, sourcing and aftermarket. By establishing Rock Processing Solutions as a business area we will improve transparency and strengthen our growth ambitions within the area.”

In line with this move, Sandvik has appointed Anders Svensson, President of the Crushing and Screening division since 2016, to President of the business area Sandvik Rock Processing Solutions and a new member of the Sandvik Group Executive Management, as of 1 January 2021. Svensson joined Sandvik in 2008 and has, prior to his current position, had several different management positions within Sandvik and in Metso Minerals.

The crushing and screening business had, as a division within Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, about SEK7.4 billion ($837 million) in sales and a 15.9% operating profit margin in 2019 with about 2,000 employees.

The Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology business area will continue to be led by Henrik Ager and will, as of 1 January 2021, change name to Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions (SMR), the company added.

Sandvik’s Parts and Services business helps miners achieve sustainability goals

Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology says its Rebuild and Upgrade programs are helping customers achieve their ‘circularity’ goals.

Designed to extend the equipment’s life cycle by refurbishing the entire unit at optimal intervals, the program lowers a customer’s total cost of ownership, according to Erik Lundén, President of Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology Parts and Services division.

Lundén’s division provides customers with products and solutions that drive their businesses towards a more sustainable model.

“One of Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology’s sustainability targets for 2030 is to become more than 90% circular, halving waste from its production,” the company says. “One way the company helps its customers accomplish similar results is through its Rebuild and Upgrade programs, which extend the equipment’s life cycle by refurbishing the entire unit at optimal intervals.”

Lundén said: “We want our customers to be able to get the highest rate of usage out of their assets. Our Rebuild and Upgrade programs do this by helping them avoid unnecessary capital expenditure investments through an optimised maintenance strategy, which lowers the total cost of ownership. This has the benefit of minimising material and scrap rates as well as downtime, extending operational life and reducing running cost.”

During the refurbishment, customers can also opt to upgrade components to help the equipment operate more sustainably, from the latest engine emission technologies to increased safety features. These changes can drive sustainability efforts, such as reducing fuel use, emissions and ventilation power requirements, the company says.

On loading and hauling equipment, for example, a major intervention at the optimum rebuild interval between 12,000 and 16,000 engine hours can extend the reliable life of the equipment to longer than 30,000 hours – at a fraction of the price of a new unit, Sandvik says.

Similar to the Rebuild program, another option available to customers looking to improve their sustainability profile are the Sandvik Component Repair, Replace and Exchange solutions.

“Our component offerings, which break down into Component Exchange, Component Repair and Return, and Fixed Price Repair and Return, minimise environmental impact by reusing components,” Lundén says. “This regenerates the life of the component and avoids the creation of scrap. Additionally, repairs don’t have to be carried out on site, which limits the interactions of workers with high-risk load equipment scheduled for repairs.”

For Component Repair and Return, a Sandvik engineer inspects and repairs the original components; with Component Exchange, the component is remanufactured according to stringent standards and equipped using the latest product improvements, the company explains.

Digitalisation has shown to be a vital tool for mining and construction companies seeking to modernise their operations while driving towards a more sustainable model, according to Sandvik.

My Sandvik Digital Service solutions transfer data into easy-to-use knowledge about fleet performance, maximising productivity, operational efficiency and safety, it says. Connected machines offer close to real-time data all year round and insights into how to get the most out of the equipment, the company added.

“From a sustainability standpoint, digital services provide clear insights into fuel consumption and excessive idling time, which can drastically reduce emissions underground,” Lundén says. “Equipment alerts on speeding, brake violations and freewheeling in neutral, for example, can also improve safety for operators and other staff in the mine.”

According to the company, up to a 5% emission reduction can be achieved by applying My Sandvik Productivity, while an up to 10% emission reduction can be had with long-term remote monitoring services, as well as a substantial component life increase.

Another aftermarket offering that is a crucial component to safety management and comes with sustainability in mind is the Eclipse Sustain fire suppression system. Eclipse Sustain is the world’s first 100% fluorine-free fire suppression for mobile equipment, Sandvik says. Fluorine-based foams can persist as a hazardous substance in the ground for thousands of years after use. “With Eclipse Sustain, it can be simply rinsed off with no detrimental effect to the surrounding environment,” the company says.

Finally, the way parts are shipped to customers can have a significant effect on a company’s carbon footprint. Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology considers logistics as an influential way to make its processes more sustainable.

“If you ship a drill bit on a boat, it will generate around 100 times less CO2 than if you fly it to the customer on an airplane,” Henrik Ager, President of Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, says. “That approach reduces our generated CO2 by 10,000 t, which in comparison with the total emissions for the division is significant.”

This is an edited extract of a Solid Ground article by Sandvik

Steering the electric mine revolution

Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, last year, made a clear statement to the underground mining equipment sector with the acquisition of Artisan Vehicle Systems: the future is electric.

With this acquisition having bedded in and International Mining EventsThe Electric Mine 2020 conference, in Stockholm, Sweden, just around the corner, IM caught up with Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology President, Henrik Ager, to get his views on current industry demand for electric solutions and what other elements could come into the OEM’s electrification offering in the future.

IM: In your keynote presentation title for the upcoming conference you have highlighted two benefits to electrification, namely ‘productivity’ and ‘sustainability’. Would you say these are the two most important criteria for companies adopting, or thinking about adopting, electrification solutions?

HA: Productivity, or rather mining economics, is still the primary driver for any technology change. If applying new technology allows you to lower your cost or get more tonnes out of the operation, it tends to make sense. If it doesn’t, it rarely makes sense.

For electrification, we are getting to the point where, when you compare a diesel machine with an electric machine, the economics are starting to be on a par. The electric machines tend to be more expensive from a capital expenditure (capex) point of view, but this upfront capital is coming down; we haven’t yet made that many machines but when we scale up production the price will likely fall further.

Within this, the batteries are, of course, a big capex item. To get around this, we will most likely end up selling the battery as a service to customers, so they pay per kilowatt hour as opposed to investing outright in batteries.

Some of the benefits of using electric machines include the maintenance costs being significantly lower than with diesel-powered equipment. You are also seeing you can get more productivity out of the machines – with any electric motor, you get a lot of torque. This latter point is of use in many applications. For example, when you are running an underground loader and loading your bucket, torque control is very important. Being able to precisely control this and get as much traction from the tyres as possible allows you to more accurately load the bucket. We should, therefore, see better fill factors on the bucket with these electric drivetrains; if you end up getting 10% more in your bucket every time, it makes a difference.

From an economic point of view, you also have the potential ventilation benefits of having an electric drivetrain. The electric drivetrain will put out some heat, but it is about one eighth of what a diesel drivetrain puts out. Obviously, there are no diesel particulates either, so you need to ventilate a lot less. If you start inputting that into your mine plan, then you end up saving a lot of capex on ventilation shafts. That can bring an orebody into being economically viable where it wasn’t before. While that is not the case for all mines and orebodies, it is relevant for many of them.

IM: Does that total cost of operations argument overcome upfront capex concerns in countries that are known to be more price sensitive?

HA: There are some geographies where price is more prominent and others where it is less prominent. But, to put this into perspective, we predominantly make expensive and productive machines. We don’t make low cost or low productivity machines. So, we have been fighting with this same issue for a long time. Yes, it is more difficult to overcome capex issues in some places, but there are still customers in these areas that look at the full productivity dynamic and realise the cost of the machine is only one piece of the puzzle.

In general, the more you separate operations from procurement, the more the discussion shifts to price per machine. The closer the relationship is between operations and procurement, the more chance you have of entering a full productivity discussion.

IM: How widespread would you say interest is for mine electrification? You’re currently speaking to me from Cape Town, South Africa (at Mining Indaba), would you say it is penetrating that continent, as well as North America, Australia and Europe?

HA: Yes, is the short answer. This topic has pretty much been on the agenda in every discussion we have had this week.

One important thing often left out of this conversation is that, in southern Africa, electric loaders have been operating in mines for a long time, but they are cable electric. This is the case across the globe too. We delivered our first cable-electric machine in 1981 and have put out more of these loaders than anyone else. We have delivered 600 electric machines – most of which are tethered or cable loaders.

We have now developed a battery and cable combination machine so when you are underground in the section doing repetitive work – loading and dumping the bucket – you are on a cable, but then when you need to go to the workshop or need to move the machine to another section of the mine, you can unhook and operate on battery. The machine can also carry out a few cycles on battery-only, but this might not be as productive in certain operations.

IM: Out of those three – North America (Canada, more specifically), Australia and Europe – which region would you say is leading when it comes to adopting electrification solutions in mining? What do you put this down to?

HA: It’s Canada for two reasons.

One is the data around diesel particulates is that much more advanced in Canada. There are strict regulations for how much ventilation you need in underground mines to dilute diesel particulates and exhaust gases.

The second – which is also linked to the first one – is that many mines in Canada are going deeper or further away from existing ventilation and cooling infrastructure. As well as the obvious health benefits, the cost of new ventilation shafts and refrigeration can be offset by using electric machines, since they produce zero exhaust emissions and much lower heat.

IM: In terms of your mine electrification offering, Sandvik recently completed the acquisition of battery-electric vehicle leader Artisan, adding to the company’s long history of delivering cabled machines powered by electricity. Do you currently see any other technologies on the market that you might acquire/build to further your status as a leader in mine electrification solutions?

HA: We are looking at a diesel-battery hybrid as an option. We need to, again, see that the economics stack up as these will be more expensive machines to manufacture. We need to answer the questions: Will that machine be more productive? Will it be faster up the ramp? And will it be more practical than using battery-electric only?

We need to see what the case is here and work with our customers.

A couple of the mining contractors are really pushing for the development of these machines. It’s good to work with the contractors on such projects as they are so heavily focused on economics and productivity. They may bid on, for example, developing a 2 km decline into the mine. The cheaper they can do that from a complete project cost point of view, the more competitive they will be and the more projects they will win. So, they really know their numbers and can clearly factor in new technology to these calculations.

As previously mentioned though, if the economics on that machine don’t make sense, it is hard to make things work.

IM: Do you think this speaks to the fact there will be a variety of solutions that help miners ‘go electric’ in the future?

HA: Absolutely. It is not going to be one-size fits all. Some mines are going to go with battery-electric haulage and loading, some will go for hybrid solutions, others cable and some are just going to go with the cleanest diesel machine they can find and, in turn, ventilate as that is the only thing that practically works with them.

IM: Anything else to add on this subject?

HA: For me, it is important to balance the view of how fast the pickup of this technology will be.

It will take some time like it has with every other new technology in mining – it will be different solutions in different places – but I think there is a very bright future for electrification in mining. We simply have to move in that direction.

Henrik Ager will present ‘Productivity and sustainability through electrification’ in the keynote slot at The Electric Mine 2020 conference, in Stockholm, Sweden, on March 19. His presentation will also be streamed on Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology’s LinkedIn page. For more information on the event, click here.

Sandvik showcases digital mining developments in Brisbane

Last week, close to 300 leaders from the mining, construction and quarrying industries from Australia, Japan and Indonesia met in Brisbane, Australia, for a two-day summit, hosted by Sandvik, to showcase best practice examples of digitalisation.

The Digitalization in Mining event, on December 3-4, allowed Sandvik to demonstrate its latest digital offering and introduce participants to the latest innovations across its product portfolio, including process optimisation with OptiMine®, information management through My Sandvik digital services and autonomous operation with AutoMine ̶ together with the latest equipment in underground and surface drilling, loading and hauling, crushing and screening and the rock tools management system.

During the event Sandvik also announced two product launches: AutoMine Access API, which gives mines the power to connect non-Sandvik equipment to AutoMine, and its first Stage V compliant underground loaders for hard-rock mining applications.

Jim Tolley, Vice President, Sales Area Australia Pacific, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, said digitalisation is helping companies to grow and optimise their operations. “Our partners were keen to join us at this event because they know that digitalisation has a critical part to play in making their mines sustainable for the future.”

Day one of the event featured speakers from mining companies across Australia, as well as leaders in mining technology, process optimisation and automation. They explained the benefits their organisations have gained by implementing automation and process optimisation solutions, as well as the accompanying change in mindset, according to Sandvik.

The following presentations set the program for the day, followed by a panel discussion:

  • Shaping the Industry Digital Ecosystem (Sandvik);
  • Holistic Perspective, Focusing on Productivity, Safety and Optimised Machine Performance (Byrnecut);
  • Developing the Mine of Tomorrow (Barminco Ltd);
  • Machine Learning  ̶  Keeping it Real with Case Studies from across the Mine Value Chain (PETRA Data Science);
  • Capturing Opportunities for Digital and other Product Technology Solutions (Rio Tinto);
  • Automation Technology to Improve Efficiency and Consistency in Longwall Development Operations (Glencore);
  • Direction of Technology and Automation (Newcrest); and
  • Data Privacy, Rights and Control (Sandvik).

Pat Boniwell, Managing Director, Byrnecut Australia, said the industry will improve productivity, safety and optimise machine performance through a more “fundamental understanding” of the individual processes that make up our operations.

“New technology, automation, data transfer and analysis will all assist us in increasing the utilisation of our resources,” he said. “Data is essential, but if it is not being looked at then we are just gathering data for the sake of it. We need to continue to increase the levels of engagement between all stakeholders.”

He concluded: “We are doomed to failure unless we take our people with us and are prepared to question and be challenged.”

PETRA CEO, Penny Stewart, meanwhile, homed in on machine learning, which, she said, powers “digital twin prediction, simulation and optimisation to increase mine productivity, efficiency and yield, by showing engineers and supervisors how to reproduce their ‘best performance’ 24 hours a day, seven days a week”.

She added: “PETRA’s MAXTA™ Suite digital twin applications provide platform agnostic software-as-service operational decision support across the mine value chain ̶ from resource engineering through to processing plant set point optimisation.”

Day two of the event began with a presentation on sustainability by Henrik Ager (pictured), President, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, explaining how critical it is for long-term performance.

“Driving productivity and greenhouse gas efficiency together is going to be key for us at Sandvik, improving productivity and greenhouse gas efficiency will be the best way for us to add value for our customers,” he said. “My view is that the more we link our sustainability targets to normal business targets and find ways to combine them to achieve a common good, the better chance we have to deliver on them.”

Also, during the second day, delegates had the opportunity of a virtual visit to several Sandvik customers, including: Northparkes Mine (Australia), Resolute Mining Syama mine (West Africa), RedBull Powder Company (New Zealand) and Aeris Resources Tritton mine (Australia).

Harry Hardy, General Manager Customer Accounts, Applications Engineering and Marketing, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, Sales Area APAC, said the company often gets asked for reference cases and data to illustrate the value and payback of digital solutions. “Over the two days of the conference, our customers were able to share their own experiences and quantitatively demonstrate how our solutions have helped increase their productivity, reduce their production costs and increase their safety.”

Sandvik bolsters underground automation and digitalisation capabilities with Newtrax buy

Newtrax Technologies says it has now officially been acquired by Sandvik to be run as an independent business unit within the Rock Drills and Technologies division of the Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology business area.

Newtrax, headquartered in Montreal, Canada, generated revenues of approximately C$26 million ($19 million) in 2018. The deal was previously announced in April, with Henrik Ager, President of Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, saying, at the time, the inclusion of Newtrax into the Sandvik family helped “further strengthen our leading position in areas related to automation and digitalisation”.

The combined expertise of Sandvik and Newtrax will, according to Newtrax, create the “most powerful, streamlined digital solution to improve safety and efficiency for underground hard rock mines” with Newtrax’s leading technology in wireless IoT connectivity, and Sandvik’s leading suite of digital tools for analysing and optimising mining production and processes, including OptiMine® and My Sandvik.

Founded in 2009, Newtrax started as a university project led by Alexandre Cervinka, Founder and CEO, with Co-Founder Vincent Kassis. In 2014, Newtrax received a major investment from Jolimont Global Mining System, an Australian private equity investor in high growth mining equipment, technology and services.

Since acquiring the mining division of ISAAC Instruments in the December quarter of 2016, Newtrax says it has reinforced its position as the world leader in vehicle telemetry systems for underground hard rock mines.

“Newtrax will operate as an independent business unit committed to having an open architecture and will continue to interface with other vendors in the mining digital ecosystem,” the company said.

Cervinka, President of Newtrax, said: “By joining Sandvik Group, we can now confidently say that we have the world’s leading digitalisation solution for underground mining customers.”