Tag Archives: LH621i

Sandvik delivers 100th automated loader in APAC region

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions says it has delivered its 100th loader connected to the AutoMine® platform in the Asia Pacific region.

A Sandvik LH621i loader was delivered to Byrnecut Australia in March, making it Sandvik’s 100th automated load and haul unit to be delivered in APAC.

Sandvik has 30 AutoMine systems installed across Australia, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines, with customers including Barminco, OceanaGold, Redpath, and Byrnecut, who now have 11 sites in Australia connected to AutoMine. The first AutoMine system in the region was delivered and commissioned in 2008 for Mount Isa Copper Operations, now owned by Glencore.

AutoMine is Sandvik’s automation system for autonomous and tele-remote operation for a wide range of Sandvik and non-Sandvik underground and surface equipment. It provides a safe and controlled process to increase mine productivity and profitability, as well as protect operators and other mine personnel in underground and surface operations.

AutoMine can be scaled from tele-remote or autonomous operation of a single machine to multi-machine control and full fleet automation with automatic mission and traffic control capability. Operators can simultaneously control or monitor multiple machines from the comfort and safety of a remote control room, Sandvik says.

Sandvik recently demonstrated this capability with the successful trial remote operation of a LH621i loader at OZ Minerals’ Prominent Hill mine in South Australia. The LH621i was successfully operated from the Remote Operating Centre in OZ Mineral’s Adelaide office, taking OZ Minerals a step closer to realising its goal of remote operations from home.

“The digitalisation field has developed significantly over the years and we have adapted to meet the industry needs along the way,” Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions Technical Support Manager – Mine Automation, Ty Osborne, said.

“We have seen our customers change their mindset from ‘this technology is nice but won’t work in our mine’, to, ‘what do have to do to make this work in our mine?’. Our customers are now seeing the value of including digitalisation in their mine planning and recognise the tangible benefits an automated fleet can bring to their operation.”

Sandvik to automate new LHD fleet at Codelco’s El Teniente copper mine

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions says it will deliver its AutoMine® Fleet system to automate a new fleet of Sandvik LHDs running at Codelco’s Pacifico Superior and Pilar Norte GTI operations, part of the El Teniente underground mine in Chile.

This partnership, Sandvik says, supports Codelco’s vision to create one of the most sophisticated mines in the world.

AutoMine Fleet is a highly advanced automation system for a fleet of Sandvik underground loaders and trucks sharing the same automated production area. It provides automatic mission control and automatic traffic management for the equipment fleet, while system operators remotely supervise the process.

The system will enable Codelco to operate its new fleet of Sandvik LH517i 17 t and Sandvik LH621i 21 t loaders autonomously at the El Teniente mine, one of the world’s largest underground copper mines. The project implementation started in December and is expected to be completed by mid-2021.

Codelco’s objective is to dramatically increase the productivity, safety and efficiency of its operations with AutoMine, and this project is a continuation of Codelco’s 10-year strategic program to prolong the life of its existing mines, Sandvik says.

The two companies started their automation journey together at El Teniente with the first-ever AutoMine Loading system installation in 2004. The AutoMine system is already in operation at Diablo Regimiento and Panel 2, the other two blocks of the El Teniente mine.

Juan Mariscal, Senior Business Manager, Codelco, said: “Being able to use mining automation technology that is well proven, as well as working with a supplier that understands our needs and is capable of adapting to our operating philosophy, are key drivers for Codelco’s operations. That is why we have chosen our long-term partner Sandvik to go on this journey with us. Above all, Sandvik’s enhanced local presence and expertise will ensure successful implementation of these projects and strong support.”

Codelco is the number one copper producer in the world and is owned by the state of Chile. It controls about 19% of the world’s copper reserves and is also the second-biggest producer of molybdenum worldwide.

Riku Pulli, President, Rock Drills and Technologies Division, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, said: “We are proud to continue supporting Codelco on its automation and digitalisation journey at El Teniente mine, making its operations smarter, safer, more productive and sustainable through digitalisation.”

De Beers taps Sandvik expertise for Venetia underground diamond mine transition

De Beers Group has ordered 19 units of high-tech equipment from Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology for its Venetia Underground Project (VUP), in South Africa.

According to Simon Andrews, Managing Director at Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology Southern Africa, the company will supply a range of intelligent equipment including LHDs, ADTs, twin-boom drill rigs, roof bolters and cable bolters. Amongst the advanced models are the 17 t LH517i and 21 t LH621i LHDs, 51 t TH551i ADTs, DD422i face drills, DS412i roof bolters and DS422i cable bolters.

Partnership will be the watchword in the technological collaboration between the global diamond leader and mining OEM.

South Africa’s largest diamond mine, Venetia has been mined as an open pit since 1992. De Beers Group is investing circa-$2 billion to start mining underground from 2022, extending the mine’s life beyond 2045. The VUP represents the biggest single investment in South Africa’s diamond industry in decades, according to the company.

Allan Rodel, Project Director of the VUP, says the use of new technology is critical in building the mine of the future and will ensure the safety of its people, as well as create unique employment opportunities.

He adds that the successful implementation of this technology holds the key to further improve the mine’s productivity and cost effectiveness, enabling the quality and accuracy required for precision mining. This will also provide real-time geospatially referenced data that supports digitalisation of processes and provide a wealth of data for analysis and continuous improvement.

The underground mine will use sublevel caving to extract material from its K01 and K02 orebodies. Initially the ore will be hauled to surface using a combination of underground and surface haul trucks. As the operation matures, the hauling systems will transition to an automated truck loop in combination with vertical shafts for steady state production.

Sandvik’s Andrews said: “As important as the equipment itself is, De Beers Group was looking to partner with a company who would support them through the VUP journey. Taking a mine from surface to underground has many challenges, including the change in operational philosophy.”

Andrews highlighted that change management processes are as crucial to success as the capacity and performance of the mining equipment. The implementation of the new technology is seldom a straightforward process, and always requires a collaborative effort.

“The expectation of the customer is for a strong relationship with a technology partner who will help them to apply, develop and fine-tune the systems they need, over a period of time,” he says. “This way, the technology is assured to deliver the safety, efficiency and other positive results that the new mine will demand.”

Andrews believes Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology leads the pack from a technology point of view, having introduced its intelligent i-Series machines to enhance remote operation capability. This advanced range combines automation with data management capacity, aligning with the philosophy that De Beers Group has applied to this world-class operation, which prioritises the safety of its people.

Also included in the package for VUP is the Sandvik OptiMine® control system which enables continuous process management and optimisation, focusing on key areas such as face utilisation and visualisation of the operation in near real time. Using data generated by the i Series machines, OptiMine helps mining operations to achieve the lowest operating costs and highest levels of productivity.

Andrews noted that Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology is not new to the Venetia site, having worked with Venetia’s surface operations for some years, providing tools for drilling as part of a performance contract.

“We’ve been following the VUP with great interest and were ideally placed to contribute as we have extensive South African experience with mining customers in transitioning from opencast to underground,” he said. “This has involved providing equipment, implementing the systems and getting a full operation running with the latest equipment.”

He added: “Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology has successfully completed numerous large and ambitious projects, and it reflects our experience in applying automation technologies from first principles. The learnings from these projects will be seen in the VUP as the mining systems are rolled out. We will take the very latest technology and assist the mine to implement it in an underground environment through a collaborative approach using local skills and supporting it from a local base of expertise.”

He emphasises that the automation will be applied through a phased approach, beginning with manual operation and closely monitoring performance through data analytics. Automation can be gradually introduced with the necessary training and experience, ensuring consistency of operation which is the key to success.

“This will allow costs to be driven steadily lower, using the data from the operation of the fleet to guide the transition to automation,” he says. “We will work with the mine to introduce automation and further data management as work progresses deeper into the mine, and as mine employees become more comfortable with this way of working.”

Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology (soon to be Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions) is geared to support the trackless systems implemented at the mine through the full lifecycle of the machines by supplying spare parts, tooling and components from an on-site Vendor Managed Inventory stockroom and its other South African based facilities.

LKAB leveraging Sandvik, Epiroc autonomous loading solutions at Kiruna

Autonomous operations are stepping up at LKAB’s Kiruna asset, in northern Sweden, with the underground iron ore mine adding another two autonomous loaders to its fleet this month.

The company says new technological solutions leveraging automation and digitalisation are needed as mining proceeds to ever greater depths at Kiruna.

“We are already operating three automated loaders, and, in December, we will scale up to five units,” Mikael Winsa, Production Manager at Kiruna, said.

LKAB is well acquainted with automated and remote loading, having started using this technology all the way back in 2000.

Magnus Lindgren, Production Manager for Remote Operations, says: “The infrastructure is much better today and there are better conditions for doing it really well. All of the components to make this work, for example, the network, are now more mature and stable.” Lindgren has been with LKAB since 1994 and worked with the first driverless loaders when they were introduced.

Today three 21 t Sandvik LH621i loaders are operated from a control room at level 1365 in the mine. Sandvik also provides the software that makes it possible to control the machines at some distance from the production area.

Winsa added: “The traffic system has revolutionised automated loading. It allows us to run several machines at the same time, in the same area, and back and forth to the same destination. This is a great leap forward in terms of technology and development.”

The automation system, Sandvik’s AutoMine® Multi-Lite, enables greater flexibility by creating better prerequisites for increasing production, LKAB says.

“We can boost production in one area from around 3,000 t to 5,000 t, since we can run more machines, even at night time,” Winsa says.

This mean significantly more buckets of ore can be hauled over a 24-hour period; something not possible after blasting with conventional loaders, since personnel cannot be exposed to blasting gases.

Lindgren says: “In some ways, this is a completely new approach to loading and production. It is very exciting to take part in this journey and contribute to a solution for mining at greater depth.”

Lindgren said the company is also in the initial phase of launching Epiroc’s remote loading system: “The system is now being fine-tuned and we plan to commission the traffic system early in the new year.”

The automated loaders navigate through the drifts safely and efficiently, according to LKAB. Cameras are installed at the front and back of the machine, which means the operator can follow the loading progression in real time. In addition, one operator can run several machines simultaneously.

“We are able to increase both availability and production by operating more automated loaders,” Lindgren said. “But this doesn’t mean that the manually-operated machines have outlived their usefulness. It just means that we have more tools in our toolbox.”

And the flexibility this enables is the key to mining the Kiruna orebody at greater depth, not least after the seismic event that occurred on May 18, which affected several of the production areas. This has meant fewer areas must produce more ore. In that context, automated loaders are a necessity.

Winsa concluded: “We are always taking small steps forward. It feels like we’ve crossed a threshold and can see many new possibilities leading into the future.”

Sandvik goes back to Toro legacy for underground load and haul line

Sandvik is reintroducing the Toro™ family name to its underground hard-rock loaders and trucks, with some of its i-series models set for the treatment later this year.

The Toro family name has been recognised by Sandvik underground mining customers for decades and now Sandvik is bringing back the bull, firstly with the large intelligent loaders Toro LH517i and Toro LH621i, it said.

“Toro, ‘the bull’, has traditionally symbolised the strength of Sandvik underground hard-rock loaders and trucks since the first model was introduced in the early 1970s,” Sandvik said. “Even though the family name has not been used for 15 years, it has never disappeared from the thoughts of the company and many of its customers.”

For the new generation of Sandvik loaders and trucks, the Toro stands for safer, stronger and smarter, according to Sandvik.

Wayne Scrivens, VP Product Line, Load and Haul, explained: “Safety is at the forefront of our product design and crucial for those who work in or around our loaders and trucks. We also believe that environmentally-sound solutions and sustainability principles firmly belong with safety.

“Being strong and powerful is at the very heart of the old Toro. To be robust, reliable and productive in the most demanding of conditions is part of our heritage, and we will keep that with us going forward. Being smart involves seamless integration with Sandvik’s AutoMine® and OptiMine® offering, but it is also about innovation and smart design: eg how we arrange maintenance access, improve efficiency and reduce waste. Developing intelligence on all frontiers is, and will be, one of the key elements of the Toro going forward.”

The large intelligent loaders Toro LH517i and Toro LH621i now come with several design upgrades aimed to further boost productivity, reduce total cost of ownership and improve operator experience, Sandvik said.

Both loaders can now be equipped with a Stage V engine, meeting the most stringent current emission regulations. Operator speed assist, a new feature that will be available with the Stage V engine option, specifically supports downhill tramming and preserves the equipment brakes as the Sandvik Intelligent Control System can be set to limit maximum speed, the company said.
A new traction control system, available as an option, reduces wheel spin and slippage when penetrating the muck pile, extending tyre lifetime.

Finally, a Digital Trainer training simulator has been added to the load and haul equipment range, offering a compact and flexible solution for the safe training of operators, with authentic controls and real loader control system, Sandvik said.

As matching pairs for the large loaders, the 51 t Toro TH551i and 63 t Toro TH663i trucks will be among the first equipment models to acquire the Toro family name.

Both trucks have recently benefitted from several significant design upgrades including, for example, a new transmission, heavy-duty cooler, AutoMine for Trucks with on-surface navigation possibility and an ongoing Stage V engine trial.

Scrivens said: “Customer feedback on the i-series trucks indicates that overall maintenance costs have decreased compared to their predecessors, the Sandvik TH551 and Sandvik TH663: we have also received the same customer feedback on LH517i and LH621i loaders. Reducing costs in addition to the already-reported positive operator feedback clearly shows we are on the right track, which befits the Toro family.”

The fifth model acquiring the Toro family name is the world’s largest payload capacity underground loader, Toro LH625iE. This features a 25,000 kg payload capacity and is electrically powered by a trailing cable.

The Toro LH625iE loader builds on well-proven technology, but also features the i-series intelligence needed for connectivity and digital solutions, Sandvik said.

MMG, Barminco trialling Sandvik autonomous LHD at Dugald River

MMG and Barminco are trialling an automated LHD at the Dugald River mine, in Queensland, Australia, as both miner and contractor look to further boost production at the zinc-lead operation.

While still early days, Barminco (part of the Perenti Group) has a fully autonomous Sandvik LH621i LHD running at the mine, having introduced the loader to increase output.

Sandvik says the AutoMine®-ready LH621i is an intelligent 21 t loader designed for rapid mine development and large scale underground mine production.

“With superior hydraulic power for fast bucket filling and drivetrain power for high ramp speed, the Sandvik LH621i is designed to quickly clear tunnel headings for rapid advance rates,” the OEM added.

MMG’s Dugald River produced 35,505 t of zinc concentrate and 4,277 t of lead concentrate during the March quarter of 2020. While both numbers were lower than the same period of 2019 and the December quarter that preceded it due to lower grades, mining and milling volumes of 462,570 t and 443,378 t, respectively, were both in line with plan.

In this same results release, MMG said of the Dugald River operations: “After an aggressive and successful ramp up during 2019, work in 2020 will continue to focus on opening up new operating areas, to ensure a steady feed of ore to the mill.

“The optimisation of recoveries will be a major area of focus in the processing plant. This work will be key in ensuring Dugald River remains on track to deliver annual mine capacity of 2 Mt and targeted zinc-equivalent production in excess of 200,000 t per annum, by 2022.”

The mine, which achieved commercial production in May 2018, is expected to produce 170,000-180,000 t/y of zinc concentrate in 2020.

RCT’s Kalgoorlie branch makes quick work of automating Sandvik LH621i LHD

RCT says it has successfully installed its autonomous technology on the recently released Sandvik LH621i underground loader for one of its clients in Western Australia’s Goldfields.

Earlier this month, RCT’s Kalgoorlie branch received the loader and commissioned the ControlMaster® Guidance automation technology package only weeks after the machine was first released to the Western Australia market.

The ‘i’ series represents Sandvik’s latest iteration of its underground loader range and, according to Sandvik, is the LHD of choice for rapid mine development and large-scale underground production. It is a matching pair with the previously introduced 63-t payload Sandvik TH663i truck.

ControlMaster Guidance Automation means machines can automatically tram between production level locations at higher speeds while also providing real time, graphical machine information to operators situated in remote automation centres, RCT said.

RCT Kalgoorlie Branch Manager, Rick Radcliffe, said the company could install and commission the Sandvik LH621i loader and deliver it to site within a relatively short lead time.

“Now that we have documented the new LH621i, all future ‘i’ series loaders can be commissioned in exactly the same amount of time as traditional Sandvik 621 loaders,” he said.

“This work follows on from a previous project where we commissioned two Sandvik LH517i loaders in the Kalgoorlie workshop for clients in the region.”