MMC Norilsk Nickel says its Polar Division has received a new batch of equipment to improve the efficiency of operations as part of a group-wide program aimed at the modernisation and automation of its production facilities in Russia.
In addition to the new equipment deliveries at the Polar Division, autonomous vehicle devices have reached the second stage of testing at the Severny mine at Kola MMC, the company noted.
Under the equipment renovation program, the Polar Division received 25 units of mobile equipment for various purposes in 2020. The total value of the equipment delivered to the Polar Division amounts to around $8 million.
“This year, we received two Sandvik TH545 dump trucks, and they went into operation at the end of October,” Alexander Chistyakov, Deputy Director of the Severny Mine, said. “The third vehicle is under customs clearance and will soon be at the disposal of the miners.”
In addition, the company is also planning to purchase 20 55-t payload BELAZ 7555B mining trucks, plus seven Liebherr PR 764 dozers and two Caterpillar 990 Series II wheel loaders.
In all, Norilsk Nickel plans to spend about $20 million on the purchase of the equipment, with over 90% of the specified equipment to be transferred to the Taimyr region by the end of November.
Chistyakov added: “At the heart of the program for replacing self-propelled diesel equipment is an increase in the volume of cargo transportation, which is solved by increasing the volume of the cargo area. The new dump truck is distinguished by its structure and dimensions. The main advantage is the increased carrying capacity, which is 45 t.”
The fleet of self-propelled diesel equipment at the Severny mine is being replenished with various new types of machinery. Two Epiroc Boomer S2 face drilling rigs and an Epiroc Simba rotary drilling rig are expected to arrive by the beginning of 2021.
The total cost of the mining equipment expected to arrive by the end of 2020 at Severny is estimated at more than $6.5 million.
Meanwhile, the second stage of tests of autonomous vehicle devices has been launched at the Severny mine in the Kola region, Nornickel said.
The Nornickel Digital Laboratory is in the process of developing an advanced autonomous vehicle platform for deployment in the company’s mines. The project is being carried out within the framework of the company’s strategic goals, aimed at maximising automation and digitalisation of production processes, and ultimately achieving unstaffed mining operations.
Kola MMC has been closely cooperating with the Digital Laboratory since 2018. A joint pilot project – ‘Monitoring Compliance with Personal Protective Equipment’ – was launched as part of the cooperation effort. Further plans include the implementation of the ‘Remote control of self-propelled equipment at the mine’ project, Nornickel said.