Tag Archives: Komatsu

Boliden’s trolley journey continues to evolve with Kevitsa line launch

In its latest move to become the most climate friendly and respected metal provider in the world, Boliden has opened the trolley line at its Kevitsa mine in Finland.

The line, which encompasses a 1.3-km-long track, now has three Komatsu 227 t 830E-5 trucks running on it, according to Stefan Romedahl, President Business Area Mines, Boliden. “The following 10 trucks will be converted in the spring of 2023 when the in-pit trolley line will be commissioned,” he told IM.

This project aims to cut the mine’s carbon dioxide emissions, with estimates the volume of CO2 emitted could reduce by 9% over mine’s lifetime using this electrical infrastructure.

Boliden is not new to trolley operations. It started testing trucks on the Kevitsa line late last year, while its Aitik copper mine in northern Sweden ran electric-drive trucks on trolley as far back as 2018.

Following a two-year trolley assist pilot project on a 700-m-long line at Aitik – which saw Eitech and ABB supply electrical infrastructure; Pon Equipment and Caterpillar carry out truck modifications; and Chalmers University provide supporting research on system aspects of the electrification – the company, in late-2019, decided to further invest in trolley operations at Aitik. This was announced at the same time as the Kevitsa trolley plans.

Romedahl confirmed there are now 14 Caterpillar 313 t 795F ACs trucks running on a 1.7-km-long trolley line at Aitik, which will be extended as the depth of the mine increases.

Stefan Romedahl, President Business Area Mines, Boliden

While all the trucks at these two operations use diesel-powered propulsion after they come off the trolley infrastructure, Romedahl said the plan was to convert them to ‘zero emission’ solutions in the future, with a battery-trolley setup under consideration.

“Yes, this is the long-term strategy,” he said. “Boliden is working closely with our suppliers to achieve this in the upcoming years.”

With the world requiring many more mines to electrify industry, Romedahl was hopeful more of these would move towards fossil-free operation.

“At Boliden we have the vision to be the most climate friendly and respected metal provider in the world,” he said. “That is not something you can have as a vision without doing quite a lot in the field of sustainable company development. The trolley lines are one of many activities we do to reach that vision.

“For Boliden, it is crucial to perform in the direction of fossil freeness as soon as possible. The green transition can’t happen in 10 years; it needs to happen now.”

Copper Mountain increases scope of trolley assist haulage project

Copper Mountain’s 2021 ESG Report has highlighted the progress the company has made on its “net-zero journey”, with its ongoing trolley assist project in British Columbia, Canada, one of the key drivers towards hitting its major 2035 goal.

The company operates its namesake mine in BC, which has recently increased throughput to 45,000 t/d as part of this net-zero journey.

Earlier this year, the company commissioned its trolley assist project with the help of Komatsu, SMS, ABB, BC Hydro and CleanBC. This project, the first of its kind in North America and a key plank of Copper Mountain’s goal of achieving net zero GHG emissions by 2035, was designed to support four full-sized, trolley-capable 830E-5 Komatsu trucks at a time with hauling ore up a 1-km section of ramp in the operation’s main pit to its primary crusher.

Since commissioning the project, the company has amended its plan to convert seven trucks to trolley assist operation, now saying a total of 11 trolley-capable Komatsu trucks will be available to use trolley assist in the pit.

Each truck is expected to reduce diesel use by approximately 400 litres per hour, the company says, which equates to approximately 1 t of CO2 emissions.

“The trolley assist system will reduce annual carbon emissions by 30% compared to 2019 levels,” Copper Mountain says. “This is based on calculated savings of 6,000 t CO2e/y for the initial seven trucks as calculated for the trial, which, when scaled to the full fleet of 28 trucks, would produce a savings of 24,000 t CO2e/y, or approximately 30% compared to 2019 levels.”

With additional trolley sections planned over the next five-to-seven years, Copper Mountain says it could see a reduction of carbon emissions of up to 50% compared with 2019 levels.

The fact the Copper Mountain Mine is connected to the BC electricity grid, which has one of the lowest carbon intensities in the world due to being powered by clean and reliable hydroelectric power, makes the trolley assist project even more ‘sustainable’.

The company says it has been working with BC Hydro to upgrade the power supply infrastructure to the Copper Mountain Mine to provide more power for trolley assist and future power demands as it decarbonises and explores additional ways to electrify its operation.

Alongside the trolley assist project, Copper Mountain says it is working with partners to reduce emissions from diesel-powered haul trucks.

In 2021, it established a partnership with Cummins, Komatsu and SMS to test the use of a renewable diesel in haul trucks, and it continues to advance other partnerships to further reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

Outside of trucks, Copper Mountain said it has targets to electrify its shovels in 2023 and drills in 2024.

Also in 2021, Copper Mountain collaborated with the B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation and IBM to build a digital carbon emissions certification system called Mines Digital Trust. Using blockchain technology to attach ESG disclosures to metal production, this program enabled transparency along the supply chain and allowed third parties to track responsible producers through the Open Climate Network, led by the OpenEarth Foundation and the UN Global Innovation, the company said.

Anglo American’s longwall automation milestone recognised in awards ceremony

Anglo American’s innovation-led approach to sustainable mining, FutureSmart Mining™, and a willingness to collaborate with industry parties, has enabled it to achieve a major milestone in longwall operation: 100% machine automation.

This work was recently recognised at the Queensland Mining Awards where team members received the METS Ignited Collaboration Award.

Billed as delivering a significant step change in the safety and efficiency of underground mining, the ability to remove people from hazardous situations at the face and, instead, relocate them to a purpose-built Remote Operations Centre (ROC), has enabled the company to deliver a breakthrough in performance being recognised across the underground coal mining industry.

Anglo American says the development of industry-first systems and technology for this project were completed through working collaboratively with partners including Restech, Aurecon, Komatsu, Eickhoff, Marco and GTick systems.

The miner achieved its first longwall shear fully controlled from surface in late 2018 at its Grosvenor mine in Queensland, Australia, with this milestone achieved on its Komatsu Mining longwall equipment.

Yet, it was the Moranbah North mine that became the first of the company’s three operating longwalls to achieve the 100% automation mark (pictured above).

This mine uses SL 900 shearers from Eickhoff, with a team of operational and engineering experts monitoring the longwall mining process from start to finish. These operators, located in the ROC above-ground, are able to analyse the data and drive safer operations, better decisions and achieve mining excellence, the company says.

Head of Transformation for Anglo American’s Steelmaking Coal business in Australia, Dan Reynolds, said Moranbah North has now become Australia’s most capable remotely-operated underground steelmaking coal mine, with the company’s other mines – Grosvenor and the recently-commissioned Aquila – following close behind.

“All three underground mines are now fully remote-capable, allowing operators to work from state-of-the-art ROCs on the surface of the mine,” he said.

Aquila, Anglo American’s most recently commissioned mine, is also remote-capable, allowing workers to work from a Remote Operations Centre above ground

Step change

The key drivers behind automating longwall operations were to improve safety by reducing personnel exposure to underground hazards; reduce operational variability, to deliver more stable operations and improve efficiency; and improve sustainability of operations, through ensuring automation resilience in various operating conditions.

Much of the technology required to achieve these improvements did not yet exist when Anglo American was considering such a move, and previous industry attempts at achieving sustainable autonomous and remote operations had fallen down, Anglo American said, due to:

  • Enablers not being defined to the level required;
  • Key operational systems being unavailable;
  • OEM operating logic not providing the required operational solutions;
  • The technology enablers not being available; and/or
  • The workforce not being suitably prepared.

Anglo American saw collaboration as a key tool able to overcome these issues, recognising that significant leaps forward in technology were required, including the development of various automation-enabling applications.

“Working with operational teams, the Underground Technology and Automation team developed a leading practice target operating model for integrated remote operations and automation and technology enablers after extensive workforce collaboration,” Reynolds said.

Anglo American says its Steelmaking Coal business has delivered a breakthrough performance in the development and implementation of autonomous longwall technology and remote operations for the underground coal mining industry

“It was identified early in the project that a step change in the supply of systems and technology would be required to achieve project goals. This was reached through working with the OEM and third-party technology providers, which ensured the technology and the software systems provided the solutions that met our mining requirements.”

This work required the team to work collaboratively across its underground operations and corporate partners to develop a series of industry-first safety and production systems that were required to “unlock” autonomous longwall operations, the company said.

The list of innovative, industry-leading processes and systems that the partners have developed, include:

  • A longwall remote operations framework
  • Autonomous shearer:
    • Auto duck – system solution
    • Auto gate road entry – system solution
    • Anglo Seam Steering – system/technology solution
  • Integrated remote powered roof support (PRS) control:
    • Integrated face controller – system/technology solution
    • Remote strata control – system solution
    • Enhanced logic solutions – system solutions
  • A Remote Operating Centre longwall system manager:
    • Integrated central interface solution for longwall remote management comprising:
      • Auto gate road entry
      • Anglo Seam Steering
      • Auto alerts
      • ROC reporting
      • Auto blockage detection
      • Longwall positional control
      • Creep management.

The high levels of collaboration between internal teams and third-party providers enabled these systems to be developed, according to Anglo American.

“The outcomes of this work are significant,” Reynolds said. “It is delivering a significant step change in the safety, stability and sustainability of underground mining.”

The company shed a bit more light on these innovations – many of which have been spoken of by suppliers and mining companies as the missing pieces of the fully-autonomous longwall mining puzzle – in its Queensland Mining Awards application.

“Auto duck”, for instance, allows the shearer to automatically cut under roof supports in challenging strata conditions.

“Auto gate road entry” involves the longwall shearer becoming more “intelligent”, using existing data from scanned files, PRS height data or manual measurements to determine the next cut height for the gate road.

“Seam steering” identifies whether the longwall is in or out of the coal seam by automatically detecting the tonstein band position. This, Anglo American says, is a valuable stratigraphic measure.

“Blockage detection” is conducted using eight cameras across the longwall face, which automatically detect if a face blockage is seen, alerting a ROC operator as necessary.

Similarly, “longwall alerting” sees a ROC operator alerted of potential events or issues. “Tailgate lag control” automatically identifies if the tailgate drive is lagging the face line, while “strata management logic” enables automation of shields.

The company says its Steelmaking Coal business has delivered a breakthrough performance in the development and implementation of autonomous longwall technology and remote operations for the underground coal mining industry.

RCT to automate Komatsu WX07s for WestAuz Mining at Norseman project

RCT says it has been selected as the preferred automation partner of Kalgoorlie-based contract mining company WestAuz Mining.

Westauz Mining is an underground mining specialist planning to equip two of its Komatsu WX07 7-t-payload LHDs with RCT’s Digital Automation solution.

These loaders will be deployed at the Norseman Project, a gold mine site located in the Goldfields – Esperance region of Western Australia.

Norseman is 50%-owned by ASX-listed Pantoro Ltd (Tulla Resources owns the remaining 50%), which said earlier this month at the Diggers and Dealers conference, in Kalgoorlie, that mining – both open-pit and underground – had commenced ahead of first gold this quarter.

Pantoro has focused initial project planning on six initial mining areas containing multiple deposits amenable to both open-pit and underground mining. A Phase One definitive feasibility study was completed in October 2020 detailing an initial seven-year mine plan with a centralised processing facility and combination of open-pit and underground mining producing approximately 108,000 oz/y.

RCT said of the agreement: “RCT is thrilled to collaborate with Westauz Mining to maximise remote production with the deployment RCT’s latest innovative digital technology. Machine installations are currently in progress, and it won’t be long until they are operating on site.”

Komatsu to expand ‘mother plant’ in Longview, Texas

To upgrade and consolidate multiple functions into a single location, Komatsu is building a significantly expanded office and administration building on its manufacturing campus in Longview, Texas, USA.

Last month the company broke ground for the new 56,000-sq.ft (5,202 sq.m) building at 2400 S. MacArthur St. and is targeting a move-in date of December 2023.

With design and manufacturing responsibility for Komatsu’s electrical drive and SR (Switch Reluctance) hybrid drive systems for the company’s electric drive wheel loaders, the Longview campus also supports Komatsu’s global mining business through manufacturing assembly of other key parts and modules for electric rope shovels, rotary and track drills, trucks for surface mining, and underground hard-rock mining trucks and wheel loaders. Komatsu will also soon begin a project to expand the facility’s motor shop.

Designated a “mother plant” within the network of Komatsu’s global facilities, the Longview facility has research and development, design and manufacturing capability on one campus. Mother plants are tasked with strengthening the production competitive edge of their plants as well as those of their “child plants” that manufacture the same models, Komatsu explained.

“We value our partnership with the city of Longview and this investment is a reflection of Komatsu’s commitment to the southside of the city,” Jesse Dubberly, General Manager of Longview operations for Komatsu, said. “With new investments in this campus of close to $100 million, our goal is to continue to demonstrate that we are a solid community partner that offers good, family-sustaining jobs.

“By taking functions that were spread across six buildings and consolidating them into one new energy-efficient facility, we are constructing a building that is designed to not only better serve our existing workforce, but is also sized for our future growth.”

In addition to office facilities for up to 230 people, the new building will house an employee centre which includes a café, marketplace, indoor and outdoor seating, multipurpose room and Komatsu store; and a facility care centre maintained by the Environmental Health and Safety department that will provide an audiometric booth, first aid room, mother’s room and direct access for emergency vehicles in the event of an emergency. There will also be a Komatsu Customer Experience Center showcasing both Komatsu’s legacy and ingenuity.

Both the general contractor, Transet Co., and the engineering firm, Johnson & Pace, are local Longview firms. The architectural design team for the project is Arkansas-based Polk Stanley Wilcox.

Ritchie Bros to auction EMECO’s excess mining equipment

Ritchie Bros. has entered into an agreement to deliver excess mining equipment dispersal services to EMECO, collaborating with the mining services supplier to deliver what it says is competitive integrated sales and marketing solutions for the sale of heavy earthmoving equipment.

EMECO is one of Australia’s largest, independent mining equipment rental businesses, providing tailored earthmoving equipment solutions for mining companies – with operations in key mining regions of Australia.

With this joint agreement, EMECO has received a dedicated storefront on Ritchie Bros. IronPlanet, a custom branded seller page that includes EMECO listings for sale. Assets will either be sold via both Marketplace-E and IronPlanet auctions with the approach tailored to deliver the optimal result, Ritchie Bros. says.

Ritchie Bros. Sales Director, Finlay Massey, said: “We are pleased to be working in collaboration with EMECO to deliver innovative solutions to the dispersal of excess assets. With a shared focus on asset solutions, this agreement is the foundation for a strong partnership and complements our efforts to diversify our sales solutions.

“We are uniquely positioned to deliver EMECO with our substantial resources, industry expertise and extensive buyer database to maximise the return on sale of surplus EMECO assets.”

EMECO Steve Crofts, GM HME Disposals, said: “We have been in the mining business for 50 years providing heavy earthmoving equipment to mining companies and contractors across coal, gold, copper, bauxite and iron ore. We are pleased to start selling surplus assets through Ritchie Bros. to the global mining industry.

“Ritchie Bros.’ multichannel sales approach will allow us to sell equipment when, how, and where, we choose.”

EMECO carries out a comprehensive scope of work from its component and rebuilding company, Force Equipment, to its line boring company, Borex, and underground mining services company, Pit N Portal.

EMECO says its operations are supported by close to 1,300 employees equipped with proprietary asset management and fleet optimisation technology and more than 1,000 units of heavy equipment in various quality brands such as Caterpillar, Hitachi, Liebherr and Komatsu.

WH Auctioneers and Ritchie Bros to hold Majwe Mining JV equipment auction

In conjunction with WH Auctioneers, Ritchie Bros is supporting a mining equipment auction in Jwaneng, Botswana, this week, with assets coming from the end-of-mine contract of the Majwe Mining Joint Venture.

The Botswana Mining Machinery Live Auction will be held on July 8.

“The two companies bring unrivalled expertise and experience in their respective fields,” Finlay Massey, Sales Director APAC, Ritchie Bros, said. “This is a live auction in Botswana with online bidding, hosted by WH Auctioneers with the support of Ritchie Bros. expertise, marketing efforts and our global database of buyers, which is second-to-none.”

On offer are Caterpillar 777D 85,000-litre water trucks, Caterpillar 834H and 854K wheel dozers, Caterpillar D10T tracked dozers, Caterpillar 16M motor graders, a Caterpillar 336DL tracked excavator, Terex TA100 and TA60 rigid dump trucks, Hyster 25 tyre handler, a Komatsu D375-5 tracked dozer, a Caterpillar 966 wheel loader, a Komatsu WA600 loader, Bell B20 articulated dump trucks, Manitou MHT780 and MRT2540 telehandlers, Atlas Copco drill rigs, crushers and screens, Lincoln Electric Vantage 500 welder/generators, and trucks and light delivery vehicles.

The auction will be conducted live on-site in Jwaneng, Botswana, on July 8 at 10:30AM SAST with webcast bidding available for overseas buyers. Those interested in bidding are urged to register to bid before the auction.

Back in 2019, the Majwe Mining Joint Venture was awarded a A$1.7 billion contract at Debswana Diamond Co’s Jwaneng Mine Cut-9 project in Botswana.

Majwe, a JV between Thiess (70%) and long-term local partner Bothakga Burrow Botswana (30%), was to provide full scope mining services over nine years, including drill and on-bench services, mine planning, equipment maintenance, load and haul, and mining operations.

In 2021, the contract was terminated by Debswana, with the Cut 9 operation transitioning to an owner-mining operation.

Komatsu marks official opening of new surface mining-focused Milwaukee campus

Komatsu has marked the official opening of the company’s new Milwaukee campus with a tree planting ceremony attended by both Komatsu President and CEO, Hiroyuki Ogawa, and Wisconsin Governor, Tony Evers.

The new 58-acre (23.5 ha) campus located in Milwaukee’s Harbor District includes a 180,000-sq.ft (16,723-sq.m) office building and a 430,000-sq.ft manufacturing facility, which produces the major components of large mining machines, including electric rope shovels, hybrid shovels, draglines and blasthole drills. The location serves as the large gearing centre of excellence and the large fabrication and machining centre of excellence for Komatsu’s surface mining business, it said.

With the new campus, Komatsu aims to create a remarkable workplace for the future in Milwaukee, where the company has more than a century of history, it says. The new facility was designed and built to enhance Komatsu’s goal of “creating value together” by leveraging technology and open spaces, providing a globally connected meeting place for both company and community, and emphasising sustainability.

“Our South Harbor campus and its many sustainability features are part of our global commitment to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 and sustainable growth as a company,” Ogawa said. “This is an important goal for Komatsu along with society, as we all work to do our part to address global warming. Through this campus, we hope to contribute to the Milwaukee community by implementing our growth strategy.”

The new facility also reaffirms Komatsu’s commitment to support the workforce of southeast Wisconsin for future generations, by preserving existing jobs, laying the groundwork for new employment opportunities and helping attract talent to the area, the company added.

Komatsu thanked project partners Hunzinger Construction, EUA and GRAEF for their work to make the new campus possible.

Komatsu laid out plans to build a new, state-of-the-art headquarters and manufacturing campus near the location of the company’s original machine shop off South First Street back in 2018.

Komatsu, Becker-Warkop team up for Warrior Met Coal longwall PRS solution

Komatsu says it has partnered with Poland-based Becker-Warkop Sp. z o.o. to produce a set of Joy custom-designed longwall powered roof supports (PRS), manufactured by Becker-Warkop, for Warrior Met Coal’s operations in the US.

These supports will also include Joy’s Faceboss RS20s roof support controls, which can help provide full face automation, Komatsu said.

Last year, Komatsu announced plans to provide Joy-engineered PRS solutions through partnerships with PRS manufacturers to, it said, best meet customer needs to reduce costs and maximise performance.

Warrior Met Coal, meanwhile, recently announced plans to relaunch the development of its Blue Creek reserves into a new, world-class longwall mine located in Alabama, USA, near its existing mines.

Mark Brocklehurst, Global Product Director – PRS Engineering at Komatsu, said he was delighted that Warrior Met Coal had selected Komatsu and Becker-Warkop for its next set of longwall PRS.

“Our Joy-engineered PRS solutions are designed to help our customers to mine efficiently and safely with the added flexibility of enabling access to lower cost manufacturing sources to reduce up-front investment, and we are pleased that we can offer a solution which meets their needs.”

Komatsu to acquire underground mining visualisation and tracking company MST Global

Komatsu Ltd, through its wholly owned subsidiary in Australia, has agreed to acquire Mine Site Technologies Pty Ltd, a provider of operational optimisation platforms for underground mining that leverage communication devices and position tracking systems.

The deal, set to close on July 1 on the condition all necessary procedures for closing are completed, will see the two companies help customers build digital ecosystems with real-time insights and alerts, voice and communication technologies, software solutions, robust network infrastructure and wireless and geospatial technologies.

Together, the companies will work to increase availability of high-speed, low latency digital communication, which is necessary to: provide mission-critical communication, integrate IoT sensors, increase the volume of information communicated and enable real-time tracking, monitoring and automation of mine operations.

For 30 years, Sydney-based MST Global has delivered innovative solutions to address the needs of customers today and for the future. The company specialises in developing and delivering ruggedised, fit-for-purpose solutions and services partnering with mining and tunnelling customers on their digital strategy to unearth safety and productivity improvements.

Komatsu said: “MST Global solutions enable communication between operators and mining equipment, as well as position tracking for operators and equipment, leveraging optical fibre broadband communication systems, which create a real-time geospatial digital twin of underground operations: an important and fundamental building block for digitalisation.”

The company’s solutions offer a platform to visualise and monitor the underground mining environment and enable control from a remote operations centre, thus optimising mine operations to increase safety and productivity while safeguarding the environment, the company added. The solutions contribute to the digitisation and automation of underground mining operations.

One of the more recent additions to MST’s portfolio is HELIX, a next-generation software platform that brings underground miners’ “software, hardware and third-party integrations into one platform”, MST says. This builds on MST’s 2D Visualisation and Tracking software, ICA and Minedash, while having all the luxuries of a modern interface and platform and building “your digital ecosystem”, it says.

By adding MST Global’s experience and expertise in the introduction of communication devices and optimisation platforms, Komatsu says it aims to enhance the speed at which it offers advanced technology solutions, including the automation and teleoperation of mining equipment underground.

Komatsu, in line with its ongoing mid-term management plan “DANTOTSU Value – Together, to ‘The Next’ for sustainable growth”, is working to expand offerings for underground hard-rock mining, creating new value for customers with the development of new equipment, processes and technologies that will help operations step forward to the next stage for the workplace of the future and provide a more sustainable environment for the next generation, it says.